By Patrick Hawthorne
Several years ago, when I was going through the School of Ministry, based out of my home town in Shreveport Louisiana, I was laser focused on the things of God. I walked with Him and talked with Him for several hours throughout the span of the day. I loved the time we spent together. He had become more than the Almighty God of this universe. He had become my friend.
During that time, I was constantly receiving new revelations from His Word. I was having God dreams on a consistent basis where He would talk to me during my sleep hours. Most times, the God dreams were little faith boosters or course changes. I loved them and would write them down in my journal.
Most mornings I would wake with a heavenly song on my mind. I can remember hopping out of bed and immediately be in a place of joy. The first words out of my mouth were usually, “Good morning Father, good morning Jesus, good morning Holy Spirit. Each day, I walked in the expectation of what I could do for God. I loved when the Lord would bring someone across my path so that I could talk to them about Jesus.
Eventually, I started doing more and more for the Lord. I became busy for Him. Before I knew it, I had gone from a relationship with my Lord to being religious. Religion is based on works; a relationship is based on spending time together.
“But, Lord. I can’t talk long with you now because I have to go here or there. After all Lord, I am doing this for you. And, you know Lord, promotion might come from this or that.”
At first, I didn’t realize I had become religious. How could I? I taught against the spirit of religion. “You can’t work your way into heaven,” I admonished others. “It is by your faith through God’s grace…”
Soon depression entered into the picture. I was never really prone to crippling bouts of depression until I became a religious person. “Why, Lord? Why is this happening to me?” Eventually, all that I had worked for was removed from me.
At first, I blamed man. Anger and bitterness were now my friends. On the outside I painted on a holy face, but there were a couple of people who saw through the mask. I avoided them at all cost.
One day, I guess out of sheer tiredness of religion, I didn’t pray; I talked to God. “Lord, I sure miss You! You know, we used to just talk. I haven’t done that in a while. Can I just sit here a little while and chat. Do you remember when…”
Suddenly, joy rushed back in. Tears began to fill my eyes. My friend entered the room and we began to chat. Our talk wasn’t anything earth shattering or weighty. It was just walking down memory lane. It was at that moment I went from religious back to relationship.
What happened the next morning? I hopped out of bed and said “Good morning Father, good morning Jesus, good morning Holy Spirit. O’ and I had a heavenly song running through my mind. Be blessed.