The difference between religion and relationship with God

By Eren Mckay  
Filed under Relationship With God

Religion doesn’t solve anything but relationship does.

Religion is about rituals and man’s idea on how to achieve a certain “spirituality”.
Scripture tells us that God is a person who thinks and feels. He wants to have a deep connection to all of us. He’s not interested in establishing man’s idea of religion. Rather God wants to have a deep intimate relationship with each person that He created in His own image.

When Jesus was here on Earth, He basically said that many religious people will not be on His side on the final judgment day. He told us to beware of religiosity.

Being “religious” is keeping God at a distance.

There are many religious people who do not have a relationship with God and they’re completely missing the mark. They keep God neatly tucked away in a drawer only thinking about Him when it’s “church time”. Restricting God to only one area of our lives is wrong and will bring a lot of heartache. Spending time in prayer and truly waiting for God’s confirmation would prevent lots of mistakes from being made and many wrong turns from being taken. Life is already difficult even if you are connected to God, but without Him the consequences can be terrifying.

Allow God to direct you.

heart with God Having a true relationship with the Lord means that you are inviting Him into every part of your heart and life. We can’t ignore the Creator when we do things. We need to let Him influence everything: our businesses, our homes, our families and relationships. He can transform every aspect of our being and help us when setting goals. He can make our lives whole.
Remember that whatever the question… God has the answer. Only He can give us the true and lasting peace that we need to live abundantly →

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

In fact we can’t even know what we are supposed to do in this life if we don’t go to Him and find out.

We need God.

The world tells us that we should be independent. The truth is that there really is no such thing. We are not independent. We are not able to solve all of our problems on our own. We can’t carry the weight of the world on our shoulders; in fact we can’t even carry our own selves.
And you know something: God tells us that we weren’t created to do so. He created us to be dependent on Him. The moment that we begin to rely on our own rationale, our own strength, and on our own capacity we are stepping out from His perfect plan to hold us in His hands and guide us. Some people even have spiritual pride and trust their religious rituals to save them. We must depend on God to direct us and to tell us what we are supposed to do next.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5

Many people rely on self help books… the biggest problem is that self help is just that: relying on your own limited self to solve your problems. It’s much better to admit that we are human beings limited in understanding, limited in resources. At the same time we should recognize that we have a God that is all knowing, all powerful and willing to provide the answers to us if only we will seek Him. If we are trusting God, then we can be sure to do great things because He is behind it all.

We discover great peace when we rest in Him.

The sooner you start to rely on the Lord to lead your life, the sooner you will be able to rest in Him. Resting in Him doesn’t mean that you will be lazy, slothful, stop working or even stop using the brain that God gave you to solve things. It means that you don’t trust in those things as the main solution. You don’t base your safety on temporary circumstances or on anything in this world. Trusting on things that can fall also leads to problems with anxiety. If you suffer from that, this article on how to get rid of anxiety through God will help you.
If you do many things but God isn’t in them, they can all be destroyed in a heartbeat. This is the essence of the message of the following verse:

Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman remains awake but in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he gives his beloved sleep.
Psalm 127:1-2

You need to be seeking the Creator, the Provider, the Source of all things for guidance. When He tells you what to do, then your role is to simply obey. As Charles Stanley always says: Obey God and leave the consequences up to Him. There is tremendous rest for your soul when you do that.

Do you ever feel like your life is a bit empty or meaningless?

Do you ever feel like there is a deep hole in your soul? Well the reason it’s there is because your spirit is not aligned to your Creator. When you are in agreement with God and living for Him at all moments, then His Spirit will flow in you and fill that hole.

His Holy Spirit will also flow through you to influence other peoples’ lives. He needs to be the main reason for your life. He needs to be number one and the center of all of your being. Put Him first. Seek the Lord. Center your life on God and everything else will fall into place.

How do you center your life on God?

By spending time in developing your relationship with Him.The best way to approach God is with an open heart to establish this deep bond. Every relationship requires that you spend time with the person.


There’s a difference between saying we know God and actually knowing Him deeply. How much time do you spend praying each day? Do you talk to the Lord throughout your day? There are ways in which to get closer to God like meditating on His attributes and spending time in prayer. Listen and get to know Him. One of the things that might help you is knowing how to make a prayer journal to keep track of answered prayers and see the Lord working in your life.

The Word

Do you ever ask God to just speak to your heart through His Word? He renews our minds and strengthens our spirits when we read His Word. Here is a post that will help you learn how to understand the Bible better.

Praise and Worship

Spend time simply praising and telling Him that He is your everything. Praise and worship is a sure way for you to experience the practice of the presence of God in your daily life.

Let everything be guided by the right motivation.

If your number one goal in life is to please the Lord, then whatever you do will honor Him. All things in your life, even the difficult parts, will work together for His glory. Our role is to simply make sure that our hearts are in the right place.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

We need to work each day for His glory and for the furthering of His Kingdom in our own lives and towards the people that we touch. When we yearn for Him, He tells us His goals for our lives. His Presence flows and gives us joy. He inspires us to fulfill His will.

What about you? What has been your experience with the Lord?
Please share with us in the comment section below:

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26 Comments on "The difference between religion and relationship with God"

  1. Timi  

    Thank you, Eren! Reading this has blessed me tremendously! I am a Christian and what you’ve expressed is exactly how I feel, but it saddens me that so many people fall into the whole “Religious Thing” and miss out on what God has for them.

    I intend to share this site with others. Thank you again for what you do and may God continue to bless you and your efforts!

    yours in Christ,

  2. Eren Mckay  

    Hi Timi,
    I’m so glad this article blessed you. So many people confuse religion with relationship and waste their lives with rituals and obligations instead of being led by the Spirit and growing in Him.
    Thanks for your encouraging comment.
    Blessings ♥,

  3. Lynn Stromwall  

    Beautiful message and blog. You are using your gift of writing for the glory of the kingdom and God is smiling on you. I am blessed to have stumbled upon your accident I am sure:)
    God bless,

  4. Gary @ GanderCo  

    Hi Eren.

    This blog describes exactly how I feel about the difference between religion, and having a relationship with God. There is NO way I could have said this better myself even though I’ve tried. Thanks! Great job!

    Gary Anderson II
    aka- @GanderCo

  5. Eren Mckay  

    Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad this article touched you.

    I know that so may miss out on the opportunity to develop a wonderful relationship with their Creator- basically missing out on the real meaning of life. I’m happy you like it.

    Blessings in Christ ♥,

  6. Delma  

    hello eren,,thank you so much this is what im looking for and all the question and answer that ive been looking is all here..Im glad and be blessed to find this and be a wondeful and god and godbless will blessed u more and youre family,ur message inspired me,i know god will continue to bless u and what god gives you..thank you so much God bless!!:):)

  7. Eren Mckay  

    Hi Delma,
    May God bless you too and fill your life with joy as you are guided by the Holy Spirit. Don’t forget to spend time with Jesus every day so that you can get near Him.
    Blessings always ♥,

  8. Robert Nelson  

    I too couldn’t have said it better.Thanks again Eren

  9. Sire  

    I’ve read the Bible countless time Eren and I am always amazed at how people had turned away from God. Even though they grew up witnessing all the miracles that were performed for their sakes just so they believed, when things got tough they reverted to old habits.

    In the times of Jesus there were many again who saw the miracles and believed and others who saw but believing meant they had to put their trust in God and forsake what they had and it was all too hard and so they fell away.

    How much harder is it today for us who have never witnessed a miracle? All we have is our faith. Is it no wonder that many fall by the way side.

    I believe with all my heart that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for us so that all our sins could be forgiven and that He rose from the dead and now waits besides our Father for us. I believe that only those who believe in Jesus can be saved and yet I wonder at how little faith I have. Does that make sense?

  10. Eren Mckay  

    @Robert – I’m glad you liked it 🙂 .

    @Sire – The Lord took the people of Israel to the desert primarily to show them what was in their hearts. God, being Almighty already knows exactly what is in our hearts. He already knew that they would fall away from Him. But He wanted to show them what was in their hearts in order for them to repent from their sin and restore their relationship with Him.

    “Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.”
    Deuteronomy 8:2

    The tests, trials, and suffering that we go through on this Earth are necessary for us to see what really is inside of our hearts. Many times we believe we love the Lord, but when the going gets rough we start to get mad at Him and do our “own thing”. The biggest problem that humanity has is that they can’t see their true spiritual condition. They think that they are “good”. Pride blinds us from what our true spiritual condition is. That is why trials and tribulations come upon us- as a mirror. For us to see things that we had never seen before.
    Of course when we do see ourselves we can do one of two things:
    1 – get mad and justify our sin
    2 -repent (greek metanoia) which means to turn completely away from sin.

    If we repent, we come to the Lord and by faith we are united in Him – through His Holy Spirit. If we don’t repent, we continue to be far away from God by our own free will choice.

    The Lord still works miracles and supernatural signs today when we believe. But with all of those miracles, if we don’t repent from our sin and put God in first place in our lives we will still not be restored in a relationship with our Creator (therefore not saved )
    When the disciples were joyful that the demons were subject to them Jesus said

    (Luke 10:20)
    “However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

    The Creator has no problem doing supernatural things after all He is God- however the biggest work that He has is working in our hearts to truly be united in Him.
    I hear you about the faith. Grow your faith by listening to His Word.

    Romans 10:17 says:
    “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

    The Word is like a seed in your heart that will grow and transform your spiritual life. The more we get into the Word, the stronger we will be.

  11. Sire  

    Yeah, but it would be so much easier if I could actually hear God just as those of old heard Him speak to them. I’m probably not worth enough, but that’s OK, that’s more my doing and something that I have to work on.

    Thanks Eren for your wonderful explanation.

  12. Eren Mckay  

    Hey Sire,
    God actually does speak supernaturally to people when they yearn for Him nowadays.
    He can give you dreams and visions if you desire to hear from Him that way.
    If we have faith, we can experience the supernatural of God. I know I have experienced many supernatural things. However, as I said , the most important thing is that our hearts be aligned to Him: that we have Him in first place because even if we see angels, and have visions, if we don’t love God above all other things the devil can deceive us.
    The question I ask myself every day is:
    “Is God number one in your heart today Eren?”
    If I can honestly say yes, then I know my heart is aligned to Him. If the answer to that question is no then I need to find out why. What thoughts are hindering me from putting Him in first place in my life? So I journal and pray until I find the lie(s) and replace those lie(s) with God’s truth. This is a devotional practice that I do every day. I do this to protect my spirit from the attacks of our enemy (the devil).

    1 Peter 5:8
    Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

    Satan is constantly trying to deceive us and the battlefield is in our minds. Jesus referred to him as the prince of this world:

    John 14:30
    “The prince Of this world cometh: and he hath nothing in Me.”

    The devil has many fallen angels subject to him. We only have power over them if we abide in Christ.(Because it is Christ’s power that can resist them.)
    Anyways, my point is that you can hear the Lord even today. I’ll be writing a post about how to hear God’s voice and will let you know when I publish it.
    Hope this helped,

  13. Sire  

    Therein lies my problem Eren, I’m not sure that I can say that God is the first and only thing in my heart. I know I love and believe in Him, and I know that a lot of the time I make decisions based on whether or not I think He will approve, but I don’t think I can safely say that He resides there first and above all else.

  14. Eren Mckay  

    @Sire – I understand and am glad that you are being honest about your spiritual reality. This is much better than many people who deceive themselves into believing that God is number one in their lives when the reality is that He is not a priority to them. Seeing our spiritual condition is the first step to actually being able to do something about it and change.

    I’m not going to tell you that I have always put God as number one in my life because that would be a straight out lie. Even after I became a Christian many years ago I thought I loved God above all things but later on realized that I had deceived myself into thinking I did.

    In my spiritual journey I have discovered many “idols” in my heart. The Lord has shown each and every one of them to me. For a while I put a certain church above my relationship with God. Then I put my “career” above God. Then I put God’s work above Him. And the last idol I had, was placing certain people in my life above God. As you can tell it’s been a long road of being foolish and God being patient with me and my deceptive heart.

    As Jeremiah 17:9 says:
    The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

    Every single time that I have put anything above the Lord, He would just throw certain difficult circumstances and experiences my way so that I could see that I was “off course”. Now that I have felt the spiritual pain of not putting Him first and foremost, I gladly run to Him each day and make Him number one.

    Of course we can suffer even if we are on track. But when we suffer and we are not fully aligned to Him, we begin to see things come out of us that we didn’t know were there.

    It took that much suffering for me to finally “get it”. Some spiritual things are not understood to the deep dimension by just studying Scripture. It takes life experiences and praying for His wisdom to have the right perspective.

    We need to develop an intimate relationship with God and always be aware that our hearts can go the wrong way. The world tells us to listen to our hearts and if our hearts are aligned to God’s will then that’s a good thing. But what if our hearts are being influenced by our sinful nature and even evil spirits? We need to be very careful of where our heart leads us. If the heart is hidden in the Lord then we are safe. But if the heart is not close to the Lord… it can lead us astray. The truth is that most will be lost and go astray.
    As Jesus said:

    “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”
    Matthew 7:13

    One thing I realized when I was suffering is that being well with the Lord gave me a peace that no one and nothing in this world could give me. This truly helped me to make Him number one. I can honestly say that He is number one right now for me in my life.
    But every day I stop and ask myself if he continues to be so that I don’t allow my heart to sway.
    Hope this helped.
    Blessings always,

  15. Sire  

    You are truly blessed Eren and I pray that it is always that way between you and our Lord. As for me, well I’m sure that there will be a time when I’ll come to realize exactly what I have to do to give Him my all, and when that time comes I pray that I will have the strength to follow through.

  16. Eren Mckay  

    Amen Sire – draw close to Him and He will give you the necessary strength that you need to follow through with His will in your life.

  17. Robin Sampson  

    Super post Eren! Faith develops in the context of our ongoing relationship with God. We easily relate to being a child of God or a servant of God, but find it hard to grasp being a friend of God. God desires to establish a connection, an association, an affiliation, a very special link and bond between Himself and His children.

  18. Eren Mckay  

    Hi Robin,
    This is so true. I see so many religious people that are missing the mark. They have a lot of religious activities in their lives and very little time actually spent with God. Their prayer life is non existent and it’s just sad because they go through life on their own strength with their own ideas and miss out on the most important relationship they could ever develop. Every problem that comes my way now is an opportunity for me to hear God’s voice and direction. And by taking everything to Him through prayer I can bond in a deeper level with our Lord. He is truly awesome but so few people get to really know him on this level because they’re too busy filling their lives with empty “stuff”. I’m so glad you commented sister. I have been a long time reader of your blog and books.

  19. Ching Ya  

    I think by reading your responses to Sire and other commenters, I have more to learn from you besides an inspiring post above. 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

    Frankly speaking, I have much to give thanks to our Heavenly Father. There were down moments in life and time to rejoice, and truthfully, when I looked back it was clear that everything happened for a reason. This year I’m pretty sure it will be another challenging year where our family will experience/witness His great work at hand. I’ll be yearning more of his guidance and wisdom in handling both family and business matters. May we all pray for one another, strengthen our faith and hopefully, we can all learn to glorify His name at all times.

    Social/Blogging Tracker

  20. Eren Mckay  

    Aaaaw – thank you Ching Ya. Yes may we all get closer and closer to our Father and simply hear what He has to tell us to guide us through our lives.
    He is the only true safety we have in this uncertain world.
    Blessings sister ♥,

  21. Robert Grimm  

    Hello Eren:

    I am so glad I found your blog. What inspiration. Anytime I need an uplifting I will come and visit. Also I hope to be an inspiration to others as well. May God Bless you. I have been wanting to start an online Bible study.


  22. Steve  

    Thanks for this inspirational post! With all of the garbage and negativity online these days, we definitely need more sites and posts like this one.

  23. Pat  

    Hi Eren, wow what you have wrote is mind exploding, and a real help to me. ive been saved 30 odd years and i find remembering what ive read so hard or if ive been to a meeting i cant remember what ive learnt, whats wrong with me? I get frustrated by it all. Ive had 2 Strokes in 4 years and lost 6 family members in 7 years including my husband and 1 of my daughters, and i know deep down in my heart i will see them all again. Is there anyway you can help me with my memory, or is there something i am not doing that you could pinpoint that would help. Thankyou Pat

  24. Janet  

    I really enjoyed this article God has never left me or forsaken me…I have not always done what is right, but He was ever present to forgive me and love me…God has answered so many prayers…I love Him and want to draw even closer to Him…my desire is to live with Him in heaven throughout all eternity!!

  25. Rick Neal  

    I fear I do not understand. I have a very hard time getting by all the death and hate that goes with religion. I find it hared to herd to get past all the pain inflicted on children through out the world. I always hear that God has a divine plan for us all, but to think that the plan includes making children suffer and die is far beyond my comprehension. And when I hear people say, “do not question God, well that rubs me wrong.” Of course I will question God. I would ask him why his plan includes monumental suffering. I would ask him why most religions depend so much on money, the very thing that has corrupted man kind. I would say why do we have to spill blood of any kind in his name? These are things that confound me.

  26. Phil  

    Hello Rick… You have very good questions and I am sorry you were told not to bring them to God. He is a gracious and very loving God and welcomes all who come to Him especially with hard questions. The problem of suffering is dealt with all through the Bible… Basically God decided that love is worth it. Love is a free Will choice without free Will the would be no love we would all be robots. In giving us the gift of free will God knew we would all abuse it but chose to set a limited time while He allowed people to disobey His laws of love so that they could freely choose to be in relationship with and Love Him and others.
    A all suffering in the world is the result of people abusing their freewill… We live in the fall out from it. Blaming God for it is like putting a parent in jail for their rebellious child killing someone while drinking and driving.

    Rick keep seeking a personal relationship with God and taking your tough questions to Him… He will lead you to the Truth for He is Truth
    Blessings Phil

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