“The romance of religion isn’t nearly as beautiful as the reality of Christ.”
— Darlene Zschech
There are many religions and religious affiliations within those religions over every corner of the globe.
So many of us have traipsed these religions; these structures for ‘faith’ and spirituality. But inevitably with religion—taking the terse definition—we find the binding of rules, of traditions, of humanistic legalism. That, or there is a complete lack of any sort of truth from which the religion is based—they don’t get past superstition.
We are easily romanced into religion. Our parents convince us or we follow their lead, and we are won to what sounds good at the time—because we are searching.
As human beings we are purposed to continually search for meaning, if we seek truth. If we have nothing to believe in, we find something to believe in. If we have nothing to worship, we find something to worship (though worldly people wouldn’t call it “worship”).
We tend to search until we find something; something with which we can latch upon; something that transforms us and makes us happier and more at peace with ourselves and our world. Sometimes we find, later on, we have believed in a delusion.
But when we meet Jesus—when Jesus truly finds us—we encounter something completely different. We encounter a relationship with the living God. Yes, this Jesus is living through the Holy Spirit and comes to live in us in apportionment to our acceptance.
But religion promises us a romance, but like all romances the romance soon wears off.
Christianity is different in this way. Finding Christ and becoming discipled helps us understand not only the meaning of life, but it helps us put our suffering and lack of meaning into proper context.
Finding Christ is about finding truth; the answers to all our questions, even if the answers are encapsulated in mysteries beyond us and are unfathomable. At least we can admit we don’t know.
This is part of accepting Christ; that many realities are often beyond us, but we have the living Presence of God in us, and, by that, we can experience peace that transcends our understanding.
Becoming a Christian is just as much about rejecting the fluffy romance talk of religion and shallow spirituality and digging into the truth. It’s about nurturing a real relationship with God. True worshippers of God worship in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
With all this talk about religion and Christ opposing, I haven’t even mentioned grace! The reality of Jesus is alluring to this fact: Jesus died so we might be connected with the Father, and, in so doing, have a relationship with God. Jesus is different in that, through him, our sins—our guilt and shame—are forgiven.
Sweeping away the vain promises of religion—these unfulfilling romances—we suddenly come face-to-face with the Christ. Jesus, the living God, relates with us, and such a relationship, born of the grace to forgive and to reconnect us with the Father, is life transforming.
Christ is more than religion; Jesus is a complete lifestyle makeover.
God has something better in mind for us who would be romanced by religion. His name is Jesus, and Jesus transforms lives, building completely upon a promise—to save us from our sins. The romance of religion wears off—it’s a temporary satisfaction. Jesus is permanent fulfilment.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.