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In Luke 22:63-71, Jesus was mocked and beaten for our sake. It was the teachers of religious law and leading priests at that time who accused Him. Those known as highly religious, intellectual, and well-versed in reciting the Scriptures. They outwardly appeared Godly, though their overly pious behaviors often made others dislike them.  

While it might come across as shocking, those who should’ve known Jesus the most, actually knew Him the least. And today, we shouldn’t strive to be like them, but Jesus. 

The fact of the matter was that although these religious men held knowledgethey never allowed it to touch or penetrate their hearts. 2 Timothy 3:5 of the Amplified Bible writes these words: “Holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them” (2 Timothy 3:5, Amplified Bible).

Relationship or Religion?

For the last few years, I’ve struggled not to allow my relationship with God to become a religion. I’ve clung too tightly to my schedule and agenda, and I’ve often left no room for the Holy Spirit to speak or intercede. Even worse, I’ve prioritized checking off my Bible plan or listening to Scripture readings without focus just because I know I should or to be a good person. But rarely because I desperately long to hear from God and His Word. Because the truth is, if I did, I’d forsake all means of tradition and religion if it meant I’d hear from Him. 

In my heart, I know I love God and long to know Him deeply. I firmly believe that though our hearts can deceive us, God knows our hearts (Jeremiah 17:9;1 John 3:19-20). Somewhere between years of suffering and discouragement, trauma and struggles, pain and unanswered questions, however, I’ve clung tighter to religion than to Jesus.