There is a difference in a personal relationship with God and a religious way of life.

Religion
Most people believe in God and are born into a particular religion. We inherit our religious beliefs from our ancestors and then pass that down to our children. In some instances many people practice their religion to keep up appearances. They follow rituals without questioning the relevance of their religious practices. We can become dogmatic about our beliefs and how we follow religious instructions. Religion provides the set of rules for healthy spiritual and social living. If we follow the guidelines, they bring us to a higher form of spiritual enlightenment. We sense the spiritual need within us and that is why we seek for answers in religion. Religion separates us from another person, it provides us with a sense of belonging. We belong to the same group of believers who follow the same set of religious rules and regulations.
The common denominator in Christianity is the belief in Jesus Christ and the bible as the guide. People sometimes use religion against others in the name of “God”. As a tool to start a movement or when harming innocent people. Religions in the world offer worship to many gods. In Christianity, Jesus Christ is the one who connects us to the living God.

Relationship

Why believe in God or in a higher being? The need to connect spiritually is encoded in our DNA. We know that we are not body and mind but spiritual beings, who can think, create and determine our own destiny. We learn to connect and form relationships with one another to advance. An intimate relationship is with two people. It needs constant attention and nurturing. Connecting with each other emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically. Forming a bond with someone takes time, effort and work. This bond of love is a daily effort practice and communication takes place all the time. The principle of communication with God is the same.
We have the word (Bible) as a guideline on how we should live and apply the instructions to our daily lives. By faith, that we can communicate direct with God in prayer and that our fellowship with Him is personal. We “hear” God’s voice in the scriptures of the bible. We “feel” His presence when we worship and glorify him in all our circumstances. God’s Holy Spirit moves us and moves within us to bring glory to Him. A loving friendship between two people means they are accountable to each other. A bond of love exists between the two. They show each other love and respect through their actions and words. A spiritual “relationship” with God is an active, growing, living experience that is far beyond any other friendship you will ever have.

A relationship with God starts with faith. You have to believe that He exists and that when you call out to Him that He will answer and commune with you. Exodus 33: 11 “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face as a man speaks with his friend”.

A relationship with the Lord is an act of worship.