It’s Not About Religion, But It’s Not Just About a Relationship Either

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You’ve probably heard it.

You’ve probably read it.

I know I’ve said it.

“It’s not about religion. It’s about a relationship.”

Although I said it in It’s Not About Going to Heaven, I also mentioned that Jesus’ dying on the cross was about reconciliation and getting to spend an eternity with God.

But there’s more.

Yesterday at church, our co-pastor, Josh, preached the morning sermon, and I wrote something down because of something he had said. I wish I could remember what he said, but all I wrote was “relationship & fellowship”, and as I pondered the two, although it was not exactly what his sermon was about, I realized that having a relationship with people… or God, does not automatically lead to having fellowship with them.

Fellowship is not about Christian socializing, like church potlucks and picnics, although that is what we generally think of when we use the word fellowship.

Although the term fellowship is used mostly among Christians, it is also used by groups of learned or skilled people in pursuit of mutual knowledge or talent. I know a married couple, who are professional photographers, master photographers, and were the first married couple to become Fellows as well. To become a Fellow within a group of academia is generally a great honor and something that is not bestowed lightly. Within Christianity, the term comes from the Greek koinonia, meaning “communion, joint participation, or partnership”. I have heard our pastor and other preachers define it like this:

“Fellowship is two fellows in a ship, rowing in the same direction.”

In life, there are relationships that occur naturally, like within families. We have a relationship that is created either by birth or marriage, but we don’t necessarily get along, get together or pursue the same goals as a family group. We may have a relationship, but we don’t always have fellowship.

We all have a relationship with God whether we believe in Him or not, because He is our Creator, but we do not all have fellowship with Him. We might have even said “the prayer” and call ourselves Christians and not have fellowship with Him.

But, if we are trying to seek Him, (even if we get distracted), and if we are trying to do what He said, (even if we fail), and if we are trying to discern His will and participate in His purposes and goals, (even if we sometimes think our way is His way), then we have fellowship with Him. He is so patient and gracious, that even when we break fellowship with Him, He still pursues us.

It’s not just about a relationship.


If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: Teamwork

About Rene Yoshi

Just a transplanted Okinawan-French Southern girl with a wee bit o' Irish, sharing photography and what I'm learning about spiritual things, including putting off legalism and religious traditions, and embracing God's matchless love, tender mercy, and amazing grace! View all posts by Rene Yoshi

13 responses to “It’s Not About Religion, But It’s Not Just About a Relationship Either

  • Randell Bell

    I am reminded that in the garden it was God calling out to Adam and not Adam to God. It was God in the form of a burning bush that enticed Moses to come to Him on the Mt. It was God who called Samuel in the middle of the night and it was God through the Son who called the Apostles, and even Paul. God seeks us to have a relationship with Him, but also to fellowship with us. It is a hard concept that God wants to spend time with us, we think of Him as being too busy, but that is limiting a limitless Creator. Yes God will make time to fellowship with us if we will make time to fellowship with Him. A true and useful reminder Rene, thanks.

  • Scott

    Very astute post, Rene!! We toss words around in the Evangelical community forgetting words have MEANING! In the instance of ‘relationships, how often is the Gospel presented with the words, “Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?” Huh? Let us remember, SATAN has a relationship with the Lord Jesus and it IS personal. It’s not good at ALL! But by definition he sure has one! So let us try hard to be concise in our discussions? Thanks again for an insightful posting.

  • Susan Irene Fox

    Excellent distinction, Rene. We can be in a relationship and still have it be all about us. When we’re in fellowship, it’s all about Him. We make time to meet with Him daily because it’s important to Him. We check in to ensure we’re following His agenda, not the other way around. Terrific post.

  • Nate

    Good post. You are right it is not about ‘just a relationship’ but a ‘saving relationship’, which means having fellowship, and loving, and caring. I guess this is why God’s relationship with people / Israel is mostly in family terms – husband, father, wife. We all have family, but some families actually work and people gain benefit from them.

  • Janelle Miller

    I am so grateful for a God who desires an intimate relationship with us! He invites us to fellowship with Him. Thank you for this beautiful reminder!

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