It's All About Relationship

Beyond Rules to a Vibrant Faith

Joyce Meyer
When you think of religion, what comes to your mind? A set of rules, regulations and obligations...or a deep, intimate relationship with God?

I like to consider myself someone who has a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. I believe He died so we could have a living, vital relationship with Him, not just a bunch of rules and regulations we're forced to follow.

Yes, there are certain guidelines God wants us to follow, but His purpose in giving them is to protect us from the consequences of sin.

When we have a real relationship with God through Christ, life gets exciting because He stirs up a passion inside us to love people. And we don't have to struggle to do the things He calls us to do—it just happens naturally.


God is not mad at you!

If there's one thing people need to hear over and over again, it's this: God loves you. 

That's all there is to it. He may not like everything you do, but He's never going to stop loving you!

It’s easy to think we can “earn” God’s love with our good behavior. Similarly, many people believe God loves them less when they make mistakes.

That’s why I always say we need to know the difference between our “who” and our “do”...

Our worth and value are found in who we are in Christ, not in what we do. Because of Jesus, we have been made right with God and He views us as perfect even as we continue to grow and mature.   

When we’re not secure in God’s love for us, it affects every area, including our prayers.

Many of us don't pray and ask God for what we need because we don't think we have a right to ask. But the Bible says God wants us to learn how to receive His mercy.

Hebrews 4:15 says we have a High Priest, a perfect Savior, who understands our weaknesses. He's been tempted just like we are, yet He never sinned.

Verse 16 says we can come fearlessly and confidently before God in prayer to receive His mercy and be forgiven.


It’s not about the rules...

You become a Christian when you make a decision to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior. After you receive Him, God begins to change you into a brand-new creation.

It’s at this point when so many people self-impose religious rules to live by. Yes, reading God’s Word is vital to our growth and maturity. However, if we’re not careful, we can make a “law” out of it. We can reach a point where we feel guilty if we don’t read our three chapters a day.  

Christianity is about living a vibrant, exciting life in Christ. It’s not all about rules—it’s about developing a personal relationship with Him. Jesus wants us to be in love with Him!

It helps to think of it in human terms. I love my husband, Dave, and he desires for me to spend time with Him out of love and affection—not because I have to. If I spent exactly one hour with him each day just to check it off my list, I don’t think he would be too excited! 


Keep your eyes on the big picture...

I was thinking one day about how judgmental I used to be about the way some people dressed. 

For instance, not long ago, I might have thought that I couldn't wear jeans while I was teaching God’s Word. My youngest son actually said to me:

"Do you really think that God anoints polyester more than denim?"

It took some things like that to shock me into the realization that I was just holding on to a religious attitude. In fact, when I was able to get a new mindset, I updated my wardrobe a little bit, dressed a little younger, and began to reach even more people.

Sure, it's good to dress nicely when we go to church. But the bottom line is, we shouldn't be so focused on our outward appearance that we lose sight of our main goal: developing a close, personal relationship with God.


The beginning of a beautiful friendship...

Whether you received Christ last week or 40 years ago, I encourage you to take a fresh perspective on your relationship with God.

Take inventory and ask yourself why you do what you do. Is it out of obligation? Or is it because you love the Lord and desire an intimate friendship?

God loves you, and desires to have a vibrant, enjoyable relationship with you. The greatest thing you can do is get up every single day and love Him in return.