Some think of religion as a system of regulations, do’s and don’ts, traditions that make no sense, requirements to be good and perfect, or unattainable “laws of behavior.” Religion can be toxic, filling our minds and hearts with judgment of others. But religion is more than religion and faith is more than faith. Actually, I prefer to lean on faith, rather than religion.
Religion is transactional while faith is relational. Faith depends upon a connection to something or someone. We put or faith “in” something or someone. During this dark and trying time, the question is, what or Who are you putting your faith in?
Some people say, “faith is a crutch.” But faith is more than a crutch it’s a lifeline. Faith doesn’t just prop you up, it fills you up, strengths you, gives you hope, provides grace, forgiveness, answers to troubling questions, and courage to go on.
Hebrews 1:1 says, “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” Not seeing in this context does not mean blindness, it means understanding and trusting, believing and realizing, knowing in a more intimate way than some intellectual assent. It is “seeing” what we cannot see. You could say, “believing is seeing.”
When we “put our faith” in God, it is not faith in some mystic, cosmic and impersonal creator. It’s not about religion; rules, and things. It is a relational connection to a God who created us, cares for us, sees us, knows us, and loves us.
As a Christian, I put my faith in Jesus Christ, God and man amongst us, to do what we could never do and be what we could never be. Jesus, who’s love was so great He sacrificed Himself for us.
Religion is rules, faith in Jesus is accepting the love of God that forgives, showers us with grace, and gives us what we could never achieve on our own. Religions says, “you must do this (put in list of rules) to be good, accepted, and to be ok.” Faith in Christ says, “My grace covers you, so you are ok”
During this trying time, faith in Christ has sustained me, nourished me, calmed me, helped me, provided for me, and given me hope. As the song says, “We can face uncertain days because he lives.” (Bill Gaither, Because He Lives)
Religion is more than religion and faith is more than faith…. So much more!