Lose the Religion and Find True Faith
Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:21-24 NKJV
Living through a viral pandemic this past year, we’ve had to cope with stay-at-home orders, forsaking the assembly of ourselves in corporate worship, wearing face masks and social distancing; dealing with runs on food and supplies at stores; managing isolation and loneliness, fear and uncertainty, anxiety and stress; and, for some, grief and bereavement after death of a love one or friend. These global and personal challenges have left some weak and shaken, but others are strengthened in their faith. How could this be?
Well, being a believer is having a relationship with God, not with a religion. Consider, John 3:16, where Jesus says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”—the word, “whoever” is a pronoun that connotes a personal relationship. A relationship with God is a spiritual connection that is personal and relational.
Religion is man’s search for god and “his belief in that god or group of gods” (Merriam-Webster). Religion steals, but faith builds (John 10.10). The pandemic brought multiple stressful challenges and stressful conditions, e.g., tests, trials and temptations. Religion just isn’t reliable. Religion is like shifting and sinking sand that provide no solid foundation (Matt. 7:24-27).
Religion requires external trappings like symbols, rituals, ceremonies, works and formalities, a building to worship in, etc. But with true worship, born out of a true relationship with God, the place is always secondary to the Person (Isa. 66:1; Acts 7:48). It’s not where you worship, it’s how you worship that counts.
True worship of the true God requires a true relationship with Him—a relationship that is personal and relational (See Matt. 4:19; John 10:27; 2 Tim. 1:12). Again, true faith in God is a spiritual connection, and without faith in Him and the relationship, it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). So, lose the religion and find true faith!