I have a confession to make. To some it may sound shocking, especially considering I write faith based blog posts, but … I hate religion. Now, before you think I have gone off the deep end and I’m renouncing my faith—please understand what I mean by “religion.”
When I say religion, I’m not talking about a denomination, a doctrine or even a box you might check off on some paper work. No, when I say religion, what I am talking about is a belief that that says your performance, your devotion, your practices or your morals makes you right with God. The idea that righteousness is achieved, rather than received.
That kind of belief—that kind of religion—will suck the life out of you. I know from firsthand experience. Thankfully, I now know the truth that God wants us to live in relationship, not religion. Losing your religion may sound like a strange idea, so here are five reasons that I hope will convince you that you should …
Religion causes you to condemn yourself
For years I lived a life believing that God loved me because of what I did for Him. I looked at my church attendance, my Bible reading, my prayer time and my service as things that kept me on “God’s good side” and what “saved” me. The problem with this kind of belief though is that it will enslave you to performing religious duties. The moment you begin to read the Bible less or pray less you will start to feel guilty.
The truth is—you will never be able to pray enough, serve enough or read your Bible enough to earn anything from God. God doesn’t love you because of what you’ve done; God loves you because of what Jesus has done for you. He desires devotion that is inspired by relationship, not obligation.
Religion causes you to judge others and live a life of comparison
As I’ve mentioned, if you live a life of religious duty you will eventually condemn yourself because of your inability to be perfect. Along the way though religion will cause you play the comparison game with those around you. You will look down at someone struggling with a drug addiction and at the same time you will look enviously at someone with a more powerful prayer life.
When you start comparing your spiritual life to others, if you don’t feel like you are doing enough then you will condemn yourself; and if you feel like you are doing more then you will start to condemn others. The only one whom we should compare ourselves to is Christ. And in that comparison, there is no comparison. Our only option is to accept His grace and allow Him to bridge the gap where we don’t measure up.
Religion makes you to feel like God owes you something
If you buy into the idea that righteousness is something you can achieve then you will ultimately believe that God owes you. Sure, you may not come right out and say it—but you will believe it. This mentality will cause you to question God—because why would God allow something bad to happen to someone who follows His rules?
Bad things happen because we live in world cursed by sin, and the idea that God owes us anything is in complete opposition of the Gospel. The Bible plainly says that no one does good before God and that our salvation is only made possible by grace through faith so that no one may boast. God doesn’t owe us anything, because He has already given us everything when He died on the cross for our sins.