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When we forget that Christianity is all about a relationship with Christ and we start to settle for the kind of Christianity where we check off our to-do lists for God, then we inevitably experience the emptiness of religion. Religion is all about humankind trying to work its way into God’s approval, and that always leaves an emptiness and ache in the soul.

Empty religion shows up when someone tries to follow rules and rituals to earn salvation, but it also shows up when a Christ follower starts trying to be a “good Christian” so God will love him or her more.
Most of us can’t keep that up for very long.

Two things are certain when you turn faith into religion and try to do all the right things to get God’s approval. Number one: you feel empty inside. Number two: you always fail! That’s because religion isn’t the same thing as a real relationship and because there is no way in the world that on our own we could work our way up to God’s approval.

Excerpted from Firsthand by Ryan and Josh Shook

Daily Reflection: What lies have you been believing about yourself and about God?

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