Religious or Relationship?

By Patrick Hawthorne


We meet them in every church building.  Some we love with a heavenly loathe, while others we simply tolerate.  To these individuals I salute you with a Southern inspired, “Bless your heart.”  Translated, this means that I love you but if you don’t leave me alone, I will take your Bible and literally thump you over the head with it just as you have figuratively done it to me.  Yes…I’m writing of the law abiding, Pharisee adoring, religious fanatic within each church building.

Before you cast stones, let me explain.  There are some in the Church (The Body of Christ) who I have no doubt love the Lord, but have not passed from religious to relationship.  In other words, they serve the Christ of the Bible but have no relationship with the Master of the Word.    To them God is God and no more.  Sadly, God the Father is not known to them, nor is Jesus the Son.  As for the Holy Spirit…the Holy Who?

“Ahhh,” they think. “He is just a part of the Trinity who really doesn’t do much anymore.”

Why do I write on this issue?  That’s easy.  “Hi, my name is Patrick and I am a recovering Religious-ist.”  Once all I knew how to do was bash people over the head with the Bible.  I thought I knew God in a personal way but had only deceived myself. I could spout off the very religious do’s and don’ts but could not tell anyone, in a sincere and personal way, why Jesus would love them so much that He would die for them.  Oh sure, I could quote John 3:16 with no problem but it had not become personal to me.

And then, one day it happened… I met the Father.  His Holy Spirit fell on me so dramatically that I was toast.  I was so drunk by His presence that the thought of wanting to go back to my old religious ways was out of the question.  I won’t say the religious to relationship transition was instantaneous.  For that matter, the religious to relationship transition is still a work in progress.  However, without a doubt, the transition has been one of amazement.  And you want to know the funny part?  My actions and the way I live are more in line with His Word now than when I was trying to do it through my old religious acting ways…which interestingly enough was in my own strength and power.

So…Whose with me?  Today I invite you to cast off the bitter herb of religion in lieu of a tastier bowl of relationship.  Be blessed.

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Posted in Christian, teaching, writing
35 comments on “Religious or Relationship?
  1. Wally Fry says:

    Well said my friend. Odd, as we speak the A team is getting all in a froth on one of their blogs because a believer dared to say he was not religious but in a relationship

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Katelyn says:

    This topic is urgent for believers to understand. I also posted about it on my blog a while back. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Excellent. Something I’ve been contemplating blogging about for a time. But I didn’t have the words from God. Now I do. Look for this on FHG soon. God bless. And thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. marijo1245 says:

    Amen! A relationship with the creator of all the universe is an unmistakable feeling! It changes everything! You begin to crave Jesus, His love, His mercy, His grace.

    May His all consuming fire fuel your passion until you burst at the seams and His grace overflows. May you be contagious each and every day!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. SLIMJIM says:

    Beautiful…true walk and communion with Jesus is sweeter than any substitute…the closest thing isn’t close enough. I pray God would use this to reach the Pharisees among us and also minister to those who know Him to keep ever a watch of our own heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Amen – impossible to actually follow the “rules” without the relationship.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. dawnlizjones says:

    PS I LOVE the meme.


  8. KIA says:

    When I was in street outreach, a Christian businessman we were asking for support from had a plaque on his wall that read “don’t come in my office speaking in tongues if you can’t stop lying in english” lol. Stuck with me all these years

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Hi I am interested in writing about the same topic so watch out for my blog posts on this. I have been writing about relationships in my blog check it out xoxo DD


  10. Love…love…love your honesty!
    I think a lot of the churched are like that – including myself at one time! I’m still a working progress like yourself but I do feel very strongly on this issue because there are many believers- in the body of Christ – who struggle with this very subject. Knowing the risen Lord and being introduced to Him from the beginning of one’s conversion is imperative. Bible study is paramount (I’m a Bible teacher) but the heart side is another. The word tells says: “we are translated out of nature’s darkness into His marvellous light” but how does this happen practically so to speak? How does it get off the pages of the Bible and live out in our hearts without having to pass through the religion door first instead of straight into relationship? We need so much more teachings in this area! Anyways take care and welcome home to relationship!


  11. Sorry…silly spell checker changed her name. It should have said Katelyn. She previous responded to one of your previous posts on religion v relationships


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