‘when you’ve tried religion and found it doesn’t work’



While sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with a guy at work some years back, he responded to my invitation to receive Christ that “I have tried religion and it did not work”. For years he had attended church with some regularity but in light of the fact that he was a relatively good person, he had deemed this spiritual exercise one of futility.

For years I have given thought to those who have tried religion and found that excuse wanting. What is a person to do? In the epistle of James, written to the 12 tribes that were scattered abroad, the Spirit give these word of admonishment…

“Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh unto you. Cleanse your hands ye sinners and purify your hearts ye double minded.” James 4:8

These words are given to the believer to exhort us to overcome the worldliness that we find ourselves living in and the lust of the flesh that leads one in that worldly direction.

Now the only man that I have found that feels he has attained such position is  a ‘religious man’, and that through the multitude of his church attendance. This same man feels that if God will just let him know what he must do to get ‘close to God’ that he can something that will enable him to attain that position.

The problem with this thought process, though religiously admirable, it leads one to the very dangerous reality of “drawing near to God with our lips but our heart remaining far from Him.” Consider Isaiah 29:9-13

For one to think that the God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of both heaven and earth dwelleth not in temples made with mans hand, neither is worshipped with men’s hands as though He needed anything seeing He giveth to all life and breath and all things, that God would meet with us in a religious service is the furthest thing from the truth.

So if one can not draw nigh to God by going to church and or being a good person, how does it happen? If one considers the text from the epistle of James, the spirit is contrasting a wisdom that is earthly, sensual and devilish that knows nothing more than envy, confusion and evil works with a wisdom that is first pure, then peaceable, gentle and east to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits without partiality and without hypocrisy. This wisdom is not natural but is from above.

When one contrast these two wisdom’s, we find that this ‘earthly wisdom’ caters to the flesh and wars within us and against the things of God. It is evil fleshly desires that push a man in the direction of the world so that we find ourselves at enmity with God. Many in the church would find themselves in this position with God, if they are honest with themselves. Consider the fruit of that early wisdom, it it characteristic of your life? Rest assured, we are not fooling God.

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. Revelations 3:14-18

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Hebrews 4:12-13

When the word of God is quickened (made alive) by the Spirit of God, there is not a heart that can hide behind the lust of the flesh. It is naked and opened unto His eyes my friend.

The wisdom that is from above is quite different and draws one to the place of ones sin and speaks very clearly “you are the man”. It is only then that we submit ourselves to God and His word and resit the devil that we draw nigh unto God. A man that has not been born again, cannot heed the word of God and that by the conviction of God’s Spirit. He can attend church and that on a regular basis, but it is nothing more than religious duty. His lips may sing His praise, but the heart is still in darkness and enmity with God.

It is only when God shines into our dark heart the Light of the glorious gospel that we take on a relationship with the true and living God and that through His Christ. He is not the source of our religious duty, He is our very life, living in us and quickening His mighty word that we will be the salt and light He has called us to be. One that looks into the mirror of God’s word and beholding the glory of the Lord, and thereby are changed into that same glory by that life giving Spirit. It is then my friend that we find, we have not drawn nigh unto Him but in fact that He has drawn nigh unto us.

If you have tried religion my friend and  found it did not work for you, try a relationship with the Living God through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Yeshua ha Mashiach

I would love to sit down with that friend that I share at the outset of the post and tell him what I have learned about ‘trying religion’ but I can no longer talk to him as he has crossed from time to eternity.



  1. Good afternoon. I fear that a lot of churches; perhaps even many evangelical ones, are filled with folks who are “trying religion” without ever being truly converted. The danger of this is that it fuels the fire of self-deception.

    This post should challenge all of us to search our hearts continually. Blessings always in Jesus name,


    • The thing that is alarming timbob, is that this spirit of deception is not only prevalent across denominational lines but it is powerful. I liken it to the day in which the religious leaders stood in the face of God and argued their spiritual condition.

      It is such that when the heart rejects God and His word the ‘strong delusion’ that he sends shall be sufficient to bind the soul in fetters of ignorance. Sad, but true.

      Thanks for stopping by brother and God’s rich blessing as you stand upon His word.

      brother malachi

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