Why do we choose religion over a relationship with God? My reason—I had no idea who God was or what I was missing! I perceived God as harsh, cold and waiting to crush me. There was no way I could ever please Him. I never believed that He could be the best friend I’d ever have. I lived the “Christian” life to appease my guilt to a God I didn’t know, and to attain the approval of others who were doing the same thing. I drank this muddy water of deception and all the while God stood beside me offering me the pure, refreshing water of His friendship!

After the mud had nearly choked me, God reached out in compassion and gave me a sip of His love. My gasping heart crumbled before Him. For the first time, I desperately wanted to know Him. I realized that God, who had given His only Son for a wretch like me, must have more to offer than empty religiosity. For the first time in my Christian life, I began to bare my heart to Him because I wanted to know Him no matter what I had to change. I didn’t care what anyone else thought because as far as I could see, many of the Christians I knew had a lot of the same problems I did. My honest search for Him was the beginning of our amazing friendship.

His Word became my own personal love letters.

Verses like this one became my reality: “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:8b http://dld.bz/gUqWc) Yes—He is that friend! He always anticipates our needs and satisfies our desires. However, like any great friendship—God does not force the goodness of His extraordinary friendship upon us. We must want Him enough to make time for Him and to change any behavior that violates the principles of His love which forms the basis of the friendship. When He becomes our best friend, it transforms us. Good works, which we used to do out of guilt or obligation are now a natural extension of our grateful love for Him. When He becomes our best friend, He becomes our most important reason for living!

From the book, “Essential Faith” Volume 2 available on Amazon by clicking HERE .

[Featured image for this devotional is from the Religion to Relationship mission that FaithStrong helps support. Visit https://www.gofaithstrong.com/missions/ to learn more information about this mission!]

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