Nothing irks me more than being labeled religious. I say that because I consider myself as having a deep relationship with God. It is far from religious. Religion is not necessarily a good thing. It is like looking though a clear glass of water. From your perspective, your vision of what is on the other side of the glass is clear but how your face is seen from the other side is warped. Many turn away from God often because of religion. Many a war and bloodshed has occurred in the name of religion. In my honest opinion, religion is man-made. Someone long ago structured their own perception of God and created an organization from the faithful and imposed their own ideals into them. The God of the Bible wished that His followers fellowship to praise Him but often, religious people are more concerned about how they look to each other rather than how they look to God, and God goes out of focus. The danger that lurks around the corner is idolatry. When something else comes in focus other than God, it becomes a sin against one of His ten.
The heart must be pure to please God. Your gifts are nothing to Him, He cannot be bought by doing "good works." He calls on us to be loving, merciful and fair in our dealings with each other. Just because you call Him Lord, it doesn't mean you are saved. Righteousness, not to be confused with self-righteousness, in one's life are worthy to be called His chosen one. Micah 6:8 "No, O people , the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God."
Knowing God deeply is having a pure heart. A pure heart is filled with God. There is no room for anything else. As you grow your relationship with God, all else will be pushed out of it. Only then can God take over, only then can Jesus take the wheel. Pure and unadulterated surrender!
Until my next rant... LOVE ONE ANOTHER!