A relationship with Jesus changes our hearts first of all! This produces an organic transformation from the inside out dealing with the whole person spirit,soul, and body. Whereas religious transformation starts and end with the outside dealing only with the body. It is merely a show. Our actions and attitudes show which of these we are choosing.
When it comes to growing a relationship with Jesus, one is constantly learning all they can and try to mimic the ideals and the ways of Jesus. In the aspect of religious practice one is trying to build themselves around the rules and limitations of one other than Christ in hopes of building themselves towards salvation.
A relationship with Jesus causes us to change from the inside outward. As Jesus touches our lives and his spirit works in us it helps to change our worldly lived and makes us holy
A relationship with Christ never stops growing. You are always developing your relationship with Him and seeking to be better. The general practice of religion has a set of do’s and don’t’s which can be achieved and then move on. It is like a checklist that you do because it says you have to do it. There is no growth in it and you becoming stagnate.
In a relationship with Jesus Christ, you are learning to be more like Jesus Himself. As you grow in the relationship you will want to mimic his teachings in your own life and encourage others to have that same kind of relationship. I always think about the words of Jesus when he said, “Ye shall know them by their fruits”. Others will “know” me, as a follower of Christ by my actions. If they see me practicing love , kindness, forgiveness, and motivating them to the source of my ways ( which is Jesus) then they too can come to know Jesus through me by the “good fruit” I’m producing. However, if I am only interested in myself… If I am judging others harshly and rude and boastful and practicing no self-control in my words/actions- others will see that I’m a bad apple. Jesus is the vine, we are the branches. We must be the eyes, hands, feet heart and mind of Christ. When others follow our lead, we can be sure that we are producing good fruit. We have to keep producing, and not grow stagnate and bitter. In a relationship with Christ, we are more concerned with the needs / concerns of others, than we are on ourselves. That is being “Christ like”. Disciples.
A growing relationship with Christ is one you continue to cultivate. It is learning Who he was in different situations. That is the position a disciple takes, to learn all they can about their mentor. Growing means to continue in a relationship. It doesn’t have an end. The general practice of religion us bit a relationship, it is works. It should be motivated by your heart for Jesus. A person’s self-interests, motives, attitudes, and concerns factor into what you do and why. If you are a student of Jesus, you will act out of your love and heart for Him in all things. If you are wrapped up in self or love of anything other than Jesus, you will practice general religion that will be selfish and meaningless.