Are we religious or do we walk in the grace of God? What is the difference, and is there a difference? Thinking on this has brought some awesome insight to where the difference should be in our lives.
Religious - A personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices. A specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects. A ritual observance of faith.
Grace - Divine love and protection bestowed freely on people. The state of being protected or sanctified by the favor of God. An excellence or power granted by God. The influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them. God's love, mercy, favor, privilege, and pardon.
When we think of God, a lot of times we think of Him in the sense of our cultures, our upbringing, and in a religious sense. There may have been practices that we were taught at a young age. We were taught attitudes of what was right and wrong. Beliefs of who God is and what He should be in our lives. To some, church and God was a ritualistic service they sat through for an hour. We may have been raised to think our system and practice of church was the right way and the only way. As we grew up our faith may not have changed from then and it may not have grown in God as we grew and aged. So, God is the same as when we were seven years old and our parents sat next to us telling us to behave in church. If that is you, you may be stuck in religion. You may be religious and not enjoying the benefits of walking in the grace of God.
Walking in the grace of God is having the divine love and peace with us at all times. Everything won't be perfect because we are alive and being alive is having life happening all the time but in the middle of the trials we have the protection from God that He is working everything towards our good. Walking in grace and not religion is having God's voice and influence in our daily life. His strength, His mercy, His favor, and most of all - knowing that He is working it out, not us, but Him.
Religious thinking people tend to be judgemental, unforgiving, weighing a person by their works, not seeing the grace of God in situations, having a ruler for their rules, no compassion or charity. That thinking will make them look down their noses at everyone who does not do what they do. With religious thinking people I wonder what they think of the thief on the cross? Religious thinking has to be unlearned. Religious thinking is getting to God by their ways for their glory. It is all about them.
Walking in the grace of God is knowing God does it for you by His power for His glory! Walking in grace puts everything in perspective... it is all about the Lord, it is all about His way, and His glory. It is not about us. It is about Him. But the best part is when we walk in His grace, He does it for us, it takes care of us because He loves us.
I can't earn it, I didn't deserve it, but I've got it! = Grace! I love having the grace of God in my life!