There are many things you can be wrong about and not have significant consequences. But with religion, your eternal soul is at stake, and the consequences will matter for all of eternity.
There are many false religions that will promise you much but give you nothing. The one true religion is the Christian faith. The Christian faith is founded on the One true God, on the infallible Word of God, and the only source of salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Religion does not save you, Jesus does. “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9).
Just because you found religion doesn’t mean you found Jesus. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven [besides Jesus] given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).
It doesn’t matter how organized your religion is if Christ is not in it. “And He [Father God] put all things under His [Jesus] feet, and gave Him [Jesus] to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-23).
In the Christian faith, there are many ways that people and churches will practice their religion. Some see their religious practices higher than they should. Some will let their rituals become more important than the Lord to whom these rituals are supposed to be pointed. As Christians, we are often better at following rituals than we are at following Jesus.
The proof that you have made your religion more important than God is in how complicated you have made it. God is never impressed by the ritual or the sacrifice, but the heart that beats inside you. “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6).
You don’t need religion between yourself and Jesus, but a relationship.
Don’t let the rituals of religion be only the things you do to cover up the faith you do not have. “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:19-20).
The test of a ritual gone wrong is your unwillingness to change it.
We have a God who cannot be contained by the religions of man. “But who is able to build Him a temple, since heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him?…” (2 Chronicles 2:6).
The problem we have in the Christian faith is that we spend more time focusing on where others are wrong instead of where we need to get things right. Our vision is at its best when we are not looking in a mirror. We spend too much time criticizing others instead of loving others. Christians are usually better at complicating the gospel instead of living the simple truth.
The hardest ones to save are those who sit in the life raft of religion. The riptide of sin pulls them out to sea with a false sense of security along the way.
Religion is only complicated when you try to make it more than simply, “Jesus died for you.” “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).
We spend more time trying to look good instead of trying to be good. We worry more about how others see us more than how God sees us. We think being religious has more to do with how we look more than how we treat others. Yet, how we treat others is the measure of our faith in the religion that we practice.
You never have to fake true religion. “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).
If you want your religion to be worth something, then value the worth of others when you speak to them. “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.” (James 1:26).
In however you try to appear religious before men, you are an offense to God. Jesus said, “Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:28).
Don’t let religion hinder your faith.
Blessings to you,
The Bible translation used is the New King James Version unless otherwise denoted.