Relationship is joyful.
Religion is painful.

The pain is increasing. People all over the planet are crying out: “There’s got to be more than this!” The more that people are looking for is found in relationship with God. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of people are looking for more in religion. Religion cannot satisfy the desire for more. Religion only adds to the pain. The cure for the pain of religion is relationship with God.
Having a religion about God is the cause of many problems. Having a relationship with God is the solution to problems. The proof that people have a religion and not a relationship with God is the very cry of their hearts.

As long as you have a religion about God instead of a relationship with God, your cry will always be: “There’s got to be more than this!”

In contrast, the cry of a person who is in relationship with God is: “Thank You! I love You!” It is a cry of praise and worship. It is a shout of JOY!

In Scriptures it says: “In His presence is fullness of Joy . . . The joy of the Lord is our strength . . . Joy unspeakable and full of Glory . . . That My joy may be in you and that your Joy may be full . . . The kingdom of God is Righteousness, Peace and Joy . . .”

The Bible is full of examples of Joy being the result of relationship with God. If you are not experiencing joy on a consistent basis then chances are you have a religion and not a relationship with God.

The joy that comes from relationship is similar to the joy I experience when I look at a sunset or watch a wave break on the beach or feel a cool breeze on a hot day. I sense it when I hear my children laughing. I feel it when I laugh. Joy is the secret of an overcoming life. Sure, we all go through trials, but with joy we have power to overcome. Without joy we are weak and defeated.

Joy that comes from relationship with God is deeper and more powerful than temporary happiness. Joy is internal and only depends on God’s presence. Happiness is external and depends on circumstances being positive.

People in relationship with God can go through negative circumstances and still experience the Joy of salvation. For example, when the house is dirty, the kids are whining, and you are exhausted, there is still a deep peace and joy that flows from being in relationship with God. Or, when sales are down, the bills are mounting, and creditors are calling, there is still an inner assurance that God will provide. That inner assurance is the joy and strength I am speaking of. In a relationship with God there is a peace and joy that surpasses understanding. Without a relationship with God there is stress, anger, and frustration.

People in religion only feel good when things are going their way, which is not very often if you haven’t noticed. Very seldom do things go the way you think they should. God’s ways are higher than yours and if you really want God to do exceedingly abundantly above what you can ask or think then you must let go of your religious ideas of who God is and how He works.

Religion claims that it knows God and His ways but if that were true then joy would be the proof. Instead there is this deep, painful crying out for more. Religion demands that things go according to its understanding. Relationship demands that you don’t lean on your understanding but instead trust God with all of your heart.

People in religion are always trying to figure everything out. The problem with this is that it is impossible to figure everything out. And, trying to figure everything out will keep you from experiencing the joy of relationship.

The joy of relationship comes from trust. In fact, there can be no relationship without trust. Of course, God is constantly working on your understanding so that you can know His will, but when things happen that you didn’t foresee, it is time to let go and trust that God is in control.

I am so thankful that I don’t have to figure everything out. Boy, would I be in trouble if I did. I believe that is why so many people are in trouble, because they believe they have to figure everything out for themselves. God reveals to me what I need to know when I need to know it.

The goal of this life is not to know everything but rather to be in relationship with God. And when you are, you will trust that God is guiding your life and teaching you what you need to know when you need to know it. Being in relationship means to come to a place of trusting your Creator to guide you into the purposes for which you were created. Relationship teaches with love and patience.

Aren’t you thankful for God’s patience? Since God is patient with you, how about being patient with yourself and trust that God is working his good pleasure in your life? When you trust, the joy starts to flow. Doubting that God is guiding you leads to depression and fear. Trusting leads to joy and freedom.

Relationship is joyful.
Religion is painful.