Rules vs. Relationship

Recently, a Georgia State student told me he wasn't interested in church because in his Catholic background, he saw the church as a set of rules to be followed. This statement caused me to think about many conversations I've had with unchurched friends or co-workers. The common denominator of these conversations is usually the misunderstanding that following Jesus means following a set of rules. I can see how looking at Christianity from the outside could easily lead to this misunderstanding; unfortunately, we Christians are often the ones to blame.

This past summer, Clay Scroggins, the lead pastor at Browns Bridge Church, spoke about bad church experiences. Clay presented a question to everyone that has stuck with me ever since, "Are you enduring your relationship with God?"

At times it seems we Christians just go through the motions, doing things simply because it's what God told us to do. From an outsider’s perspective, that may be what being a Christian looks like—forced, painstaking, and reluctant. If I were someone looking to start a new path, I wouldn’t want to be part of something like that.

What Clay presented in his message is exactly what we need to reflect to everyone. “God is a relationship to be enjoyed, not a religion to be endured.” If instead of enduring God's rules, we simply enjoyed all the things that come with a relationship with God, the image of Christianity would look far different from the outside.

Making the decision to follow God is a huge one, especially for someone who's never seen a good example of it. So with that being said, are you enduring or enjoying?