All religions are the same. They are man-centered and results oriented.
What about Christianity? Authentic Christianity is not a religion. It’s a relationship. It’s a lifestyle fueled by the life of Christ in His Community, the Church. We live by His life. His life is revealed in us by our oneness with Him and each other. In my flesh dwells no good thing, but the life I now live “in” this flesh is lived not by my faith (belief) but by the faith of the Son of God Who loved me and gave his life for me. The death of Jesus was to get the life of Jesus in us.
As a young father and pastor I led my family in morning devotionals. I would go early to my study for personal quiet time and return home in time for our family breakfast before returning to the office. Dee and I believed it was our responsibility to raise godly, right-living citizens/church members. We believed we knew what that looked like and sought to manage those results. When we saw the results we wanted, we felt vindicated in our beliefs. When we did not see those results, we redoubled our efforts, expressed our disappointment and used other forms of manipulation or force to gain the “right living” we sought. Religion.
That’s the way religion works. Religion is man’s efforts to please God and earn His favor. In much the same way, it is our effort to manipulate God and encourage (or even force in the minds of some) Him to do what we want Him to do. If we do what we think He wants and we don’t get what we want, we may give up on religion and/or God.
What I’ve just described has nothing to do with Jesus or what He wants in our lives.
As my understanding changed, I met with my children in about 1995 and apologized. I shared with them how the Lord had helped me understand the difference between teaching them “about Jesus”, about what He said and expected of us and taking them with me into a relationship with Jesus. It’s about a relationship, not a religion.
Personally and corporately Christianity is about relationship. We don’t need to focus on the “desired results”. When we know and live by the life of Jesus, He will accomplish His intent. He will do it. Think about it. If others submit to our ideas of what we think Christians are and what they’re supposed to do, that is not the same thing as Jesus living His life through them. Let us know Him together. Let us follow Him together.