Within any religion, there is a set of beliefs, doctrines and rules that appeal to certain individuals. You have to weigh the good with the bad as no perfect church exists. Thus, denominations offer a wide range of options for families to select from before joining a church. However, if your connection with God is based upon a religion rather than a relationship, some have come to the conclusion that religion is too much work.
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless, James 1:26.
As someone who was brought up in the Roman Catholic Church, I understand the amount of energy a religion based faith requires. I memorized the Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary, partook in my first communion, spent six years taking religion classes in CCD and completed my confirmation by taking ownership of my faith. Fortunately, I was introduced to a Methodist youth group during my sophomore year in high school. While the church services were similar in some ways, there was a climate of genuine love that was passed on to everyone, even strangers like me.
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ, Galatians 1:10.
In the passage above, the apostle Paul writes about his struggle between letting go of his zeal for Judaism and his new relationship with Christ. When you follow a rigid set of rules, there is a tendency to seek the approval of others. Yet, when anyone makes a decision to devote their life to Jesus, the religious may resent you. Meanwhile, others reject you from deviating from the defined path within your church doctrine. If you want to be free from this rigid course, a line from the Shack provides the answer. During a conversation the main character Mack is talking with Jesus about stereotypes. Jesus replies, “religion is too much work. God doesn’t want slaves; He wants you to be part of his family.”
by Jay Mankus