The world’s view of Christianity has become so distorted. Institutions and denominations have added so much ritual. Individuals often try and push what God is working on in their own hearts on the general public. The rules have taken over mercy and love. The truth is a relationship with God isn’t about a church, a denomination, a pastor or a set of rules. There is only one thing that matter’s in Christianity, that is accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and entering into a personal relationship with Him. Being a Christian is about being in an intimate loving relationship with Jesus.
When you become a Christian you make a decision to believe in and trust Jesus Christ as the Messiah, you accept His sacrifice for you, admitting you need His love, guidance and forgiveness and then He gives all that and so much more to you. The relationship you are entering into is the ultimate relationship, a loving relationship with the Holy Father, no other relationship can compare. The decision, to follow Christ, takes a leap of faith, putting your love and trust in an unseen God. It is scary to put trust in anything other than yourself, those of us who trusted other humans have been let down, disappointed over and over but God is not man and will never disappoint you. Unlike an earthly relationship, God will never leave or forsake you. The moment you give Him your love and trust, it’s no longer just about faith but you can see and feel Him everywhere, you know He is there and wonder how you were blind for so long. As you enter into a relationship with God, He takes your hand and guides you, changing you making you whole in ways you didn’t even know were lacking.
The song “I Like It, I Love It” by Tim McGraw is a great description of how a great relationship causes you to want to change become a better person. Tim McGraw sings with joy that “My Mama and Daddy tried to teach me courtesy, But it never sank in ’til that girl got a hold of me, Now I’m holding umbrellas and openin’ up doors, I’m taking out the trash and I’m sweepin’ my floors” and because of the loving relationship he is doing these by his own free will, in fact he is “Crossin’ my fingers, and countin’ every kiss
Prayin’ that it keeps goin’ on like this.” In a loving relationship it is natural to want to do things to make the other happy, to better yourself and the space around you. The human desire, to do things that make those we are in a relationship with happy is often called peer pressure, and doesn’t always create the best choices. If your relationship is with God, and you allow Him to influence your behavior, if you are looking up instead of out then you too will act with grace, love, forgiveness while striving to live a life that honors God. You will start reflecting His desire for you in your everyday life, not because you have to but because you long too.
It’s a personal journey with God and as you grow in your relationship the Holy Spirit will guide you on what is right and wrong. Yes, it takes repenting of sins as God convicts you of sins, it’s not something you have to do but something you desire so you can be closer to God. Tim McGraw didn’t have to change his behavior for that relationship, he wanted to, it made him happy to become a better man. The Bible is a great guideline for how to live a wonderful Christian life, but the reason you change your lifestyle is out of love and desire for God, not because you are required.
Christianity is a relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost. When you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, God adopts you and becomes a Heavenly Father, then the Holy Spirit lives in you and helps to guide you. God is a perfect infallible father, full of love, who is always there for you. The relationship you enter, when you accept Jesus into your life, is indescribable, it pales in comparison to any earthly relationship. A relationship with Jesus is more intimate and more personal than any earthly experience can come emulate . The most amazing part of this is God longs for this relationship with you. David sang if this in his last song recorded in 2nd Samuel 23:5 “Truly my house is with God. For He has made an everlasting covenant with me, Ordered in all things, and secured; For all my salvation and all my desire, Will He not indeed make it grow?”
As with any relationship, the relationship with God is a two way street. A relationship requires work, time and energy. At times a good relationship requires sacrifice, Tim McGraw gave up seeing the “Braves play all year.” Paul highlights this part of the relationship with God, when he says “faith without works is dead.” If you are not putting anything into a relationship it will die. This is how relationships work. If a friend only calls you when they want something, then you start to avoid his calls, and eventually there is no relationship at all. If two people are married and stop spending time together, stop doing for each other, stop talking and getting to know each other, eventually they fall out of love. You might have had a true best friend in high school who could finish your sentences, then you went to two separate colleges and only see each other once in a blue moon; you might still genuinely like that person but the special bond is gone. In any relationship, you get out of it what you put in, relationships take work and the same is true with the relationship with your Heavenly Father. The really cool thing about a relationship with Christ is even if you drop the ball, God is ready and waiting when you decide to return to Him.
Your relationship with God and what you do after that is between you and God. God gave us His Word divinely inspired to read and get to know Him, He might provide you with mentors and a church body to help you along the way but what really matters to God is your heart. If you desire the deep intimate loving relationship with God, you talk to Him constantly, use the Bible to get to know Him better and let the holy Spirit speak to you personally about sin. This is a truly intimate and personal journey, between an individual and God. There is nothing like a real relationship with Jesus, no earthly relationship even comes close.
The moment you accept Jesus as your Lord and savior you are saved, have eternal life and are a child of God. There is nothing else you have to do to have eternal life, but as you truly come to know God in a personal way, you will crave for more. David says this best in Psalm 42:1 “As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God.” The more you put into your relationship with God the more you get out of it. God longs for you, seeks you out knocks, begs you to love you and will never forsake you if you are pursuing a relationship with Him. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t like every correction God makes to your life. God is not a slot machine, doesn’t give out prizes willy-nilly. Like a loving father, God gives what you need, which is not always what you want. No matter what, God is always on your side.
John 10:11-18 NASB
 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.  He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.  He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.  I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,  even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.  I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.  For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.  No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”
John 13:31-32,34-35 NASB
 Therefore when he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him;  if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately.  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”