A prison minister who volunteered to counsel high-risk violent offenders was visiting an inmate for the first time. The inmate interrupted the minister asking: "Are you one of those religious types here to preach to us?" He said that he was there to talk about spirituality, not religion. The inmate grumbled, "Religion, spirituality -- what's the difference?" Before he could answer another inmate nearby spoke up, "I'll tell you the difference," he said. "Religion is for people who are afraid of going to hell. Spirituality is for those of us who've already had a taste of it and now desire to be close to God." I don’t know what you think about that statement, but it is worth thinking about.
When Jesus was on the earth He frequently confronted the difference between religion and spirituality. He emphasized the spiritual life isn't simply saying the right words and following certain traditions, it's about a personal relationship with a loving God. We should want God to transform our minds and hearts and for this to happen, we need to be saturated in Jesus. The inmate was on to something. He knew that Christianity is more than just taking out fire insurance. Jesus offers what religion cannot: restoration, peace, and fulfillment in Him (John 6:35).