Religion: (a) The service and worship of God or the supernatural; commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance. (b) Commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance. (c) A personal set or institutionalized system of beliefs, and practices.
Habit: (a) The prevailing disposition or character of a person's thoughts and feelings: mental makeup. (b) A behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or psychological exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance. (c) Addiction
Spiritual: (a) Related or joined in spirit. (b) Of or relating to the spirit. (c) Ecclesiastical rather than lay or temporal.
Relationship: (a) The state of being related or interrelated. (b) A specific instance or type of kinship. (c) A romantic or passionate attachment.
Religion cradles habits. They push us away from not only each other, but most of all, God. Our habits of lying, adultery, murder, lust, etc. cause us to be distanced from loved ones and family, whether we are the sinner or the victim of sin.Our sinful habits push us from God, not because He changed, but because we have. We have habitual church goers, patting themselves on the back, but never turning from their ways. Religion is why the pharisees were told that prostitutes and tax collectors would surely make it into heaven before they would. To apologize, you weren't aware of your offense, saying 'sorry' is admittance of your decision to purposely sin. Repentance steps outside of pride and selfishness to boldly turn from our wrongs. Anyone can go to church, and anyone can believe in God, but at what point do we acknowledge His desire for our lives?
In steps a spiritual relationship with God....if you desire it. This alone separates Christianity from any other belief. Every belief outside of Christianity performs fleshly efforts to appease a holy God... believing in God, but not his son, Christ. We'd rather believe in creation than the creator. Only through Christ, can you be in relationship with God. How can religions who strongly claim their love for God, ignore Christ if the God they cherish says, that's His son. Earthly sons are held in high honors, why wouldn't Gods son be? Sons on earth carry on the family name, leading their families from generation to generation, enriching family trees with strong roots. What comforts the hearts of men who think a holy God's son wouldn't be holy? A spiritual relationship requires us to thirst after knowing God. Going to church and being a good person does not validate our habits. God gave us His only son, the least we could do is acknowledge His son and personalize our love for God, not because of what He can give us, but because of who He is. God moves through time to prune us for destinies and blessings we have yet to even think of. We question His existence because we desire to put stipulations on a God not defined by time, a God who shields us in new mercies and graces everyday. He is a God who is not intimidated by other gods, a God who allows us free will and hasn't drowned us in His wrath because of our ignorance, pride, anger, and shallow perception of Him.
My voice on such a sensitive subject comes with a tone of understanding and love, not condemnation or judgement, I fall short as well. We, as a society, are adamant about fulfilling our fleshly desires. We go hard for the latest gear and technology, shall we be soft about an issue involving elements that determine not just the resting place of our souls, but the ability to live a life of true freedom here on earth, allowing God to accomplish His will through us? I encourage you to read and understand the differences of the definitions above for your own clarification of where you stand with God. Ultimately, when will we get back to placing God first in our thoughts and actions, building a relationship with the one who created our being? We search desperately for answers, when all we really need is to humble our ego's, unlock our knees to bow before true holiness, and open our ears to heed His whispers. Shalom Peace.
(All definitions obtained from Merriam-Webster dictionary)