Morning Thoughts: Jesus Is About Relationship, Not Religion

It has been my habit for quite a few years now to have a “morning quiet time” alone in my home office with the Lord that includes studying scripture, reading daily passages from a couple of devotionals I’ve come to love, and prayer time.

I’ve never done this before here on HillFaith, but a passage from one of the two devotionals I use — D.A. Carson’s “For The Love of God” — leaped off the page this morning, prompting me to share them with readers, especially those who work on Capitol Hill for a senator or representative or congressional committee.

Here’s the passage from Carson, which is part of his meditation on Jacob’s encounter with God in a dream that led to the former building an altar known as “Bethel,” the House of God:

“One of the great themes of Scripture is how God meets us where we are: In our insecurities, in our conditional obedience, in our mixture of faith and doubt, in our fusion of awe and self-interest, in our understanding and foolishness.

“God does not disclose Himself only to the greatest and most stalwart but to us, at our Bethel, the house of God.”

Similarly this morning, a passage from the other devotional on which I depend — “And He Walks With Me,” a compilation of 365 passages by various authors from Our Daily Bread — struck me as especially wise. (This devotional, by the way, was a gift from Brittany, my sweet goddaughter, who the Lord has thus used to bless me every day).

The passage is from a letter written by an elderly couple who had been together in marriage for 66 years and who shared in that letter to their kids, grandkids and great-grandkids some of the lessons they’d learned over the years:

“If you find that Christianity exhausts you, draining you of your energy, then you are practicing religion rather than enjoying a relationship with Jesus Christ.

“Your walk with the Lord will not make you weary; it will invigorate you, restore your strength, and energize your life. (See Matthew 11:28-29)”

So why share these passages with you, especially if you work on the Hill? There are two vital, but simple truths here, one of which involves the crucial importance of relationships and the other the constant nearness and genuine character of God.

First, relationships are especially important on the Hill where who you know is often as or even more important than what you know. So it is with Jesus. “Knowing Jesus as your Lord and Savior” is not about religion — how man seeks to make himself acceptable to God — but about your relationship with God, who became a man like us, was unjustly and illegally murdered because He spoke truth to power, was buried dead for three days, and then was resurrected

Jesus is alive today, He is not some dead figure from the historical past, and when you ask Him to be your Lord and Savior, that is the beginning of a forever relationship that sooner or later changes everything about your life.

The point made by the elderly couple is exactly right: If you find yourself tired of your Christianity, then you are practicing religion, not living in your relationship with our Lord. The former will indeed exhaust you, but the latter pours grace and purpose and refreshment into you. I know this to be true from my own experience.

Second, if you are familiar with Genesis 28, you know Jacob wasn’t exactly the most sterling guy. He and his mother contrived to fool his father Isaac about his identity and in the process to steal from his older brother, Esau, his father’s blessing. That blessing in those ancient times was a very big deal.

But God met Jacob where he was and revealed Himself to him. There was no point in Jacob trying to hide anything from God because He already knew all about it.

Same with you and me — He wants us to come to Him just as we are, warts and all, lay our fears and flaws, as well as our dreams and hopes, before Him and serve Him as Lord, Savior and Friend.

To put it in Hill terms, He wants us to be genuine with Him, just as we want our friends in politics and government to be genuine with us. Unlike our Hill friends, however, He already knows exactly who we are, what we’ve done and where we’re headed. (See Psalm 139:15-16)

If you’d like to know more about all this, drop me an email at: Don’t worry, I don’t preach, I just share what I’ve learned and how He has changed and blessed me. And the coffee is on me.





Author: Mark Tapscott

Follower of Christ, devoted husband of Claudia, doting father and grandfather, conservative lover of liberty, journalist and First Amendment fanatic, former Hill and Reagan aide, vintage Formula Ford racer, Okie by birth/Texan by blood/proud of both, resident of Maryland. Go here:

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