<<form, requirement>>

Religion is following a set of rules while Christianity is based on a love relationship with Christ. However, it can revert to a ritual – worshipping God only with our lips, in an outward show yet with our hearts far from God – if there is not an ongoing walk of obedience and vial connection with Him

Christianity is to be a vibrant relationship, not a lifeless ritual 

(Mt 15:8). This then can be termed a performance – just going through the motions, a mundane existence, not expecting God to intervene in our life – by “Having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim 3:5). God would say to us, ‘You have lost your zeal, your first love. Repent and turn back to me, loving me like you did when you were a new Christian’ (Rev 2:4,5). When we lose sight of the seriousness of sin, we begin to lose the thrill of forgiveness, settling for a mediocre relationship with the Lord that lacks joy, enthusiasm and vitality. We lose the perspective of the necessity of Bible reading and prayer for our spiritual wellbeing, instead experiencing dryness or leanness in our spirit.

Whatever we do on a regular basis can become a life-less routine or formality. While consistent routines are good, that we can often perform without thinking and affection, we must ensure our spiritual disciplines do not become mindless 'clockwork' exercises of familiarity, and therefore loose the awe of God's grace, His mercy, His love, and so our spiritual vitality. Spiritual formality is operating out of duty and 'have to' rather than being motivated by the love for the Lord, the joy of the Lord, and the pleasure of obeying Him. When prayer, time in the Word, and going to church are things we don't anticipate with gladness, lack an eagerness to do with a spirit of expectation of meeting the Lord, and we long for them to be over quick, our spiritual lives have become formal, dull executions of known duties. This is so different to the Spirit enriching abundant life that Jesus offers (Jn 10:10). Considering what Jesus died to save us from, the spiritual blessings we have, the glorious future we will have and the relationship He desires to have with us now (none of these things we can fully comprehend) we should worship God with great passion, "...let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe" (Heb 12:28).

The remedy is to stir up our hearts and return to Him (Jer 29:13; Mal 3:7). Make your spiritual experience an ongoing reality. Personalise “The Lord is MY shepherd”; reflect on His guidance and the blessings you have received, pray and believe for His continuing

Pay the price for the ‘real deal’

involvement in your affairs, and fresh revelations from His Word (Ps 23:1-6). Deal with sin in your life so the Holy Spirit can communicate to you, enabling you to have a living, vibrant, sparkling, attractive relationship with the Lord. Why settle for an unattractive, lifeless ritual that follows symbolic traditional rules? Embrace a lifestyle of listening to God, and living in a vibrant relationship with Jesus through the Spirit (Gal 5:16,25).

See also: formulas, reality, religion, ritual, routine.