I grew up religious, I went to Sunday school, or CCD as we called it. I experienced everything religion had to offer; from baptism to confirmation-- I did it all. Still, I felt very empty.
Empty is exactly how religion will leave you feeling. I was a hopeless teenager who had just enough of religion to think I knew God, yet my heart still felt empty. One morning, as we were leaving church, I remember thinking there's got to be more. If there really is a God, there's got to be more.
There is much more! Even though I knew about God, I had never encountered Him in a real way. I had never acknowledged Jesus as my Savior; I had never told him how sorry I was for sinning or that I needed Him to forgive me. I had prayed many formal prayers, but I had never had a real heart to heart with God. The Bible says to believe in your heart that Jesus died on the cross and rose again, confess with your mouth, and you will be saved (Romans 10:9). It's that easy, yet I had missed the simplicity of knowing God in the process of religious formality.
Religion is not what God had in mind for your Christian walk. God wants to have a real presence in your life. He wants to fill you with abundant life! He wants to guide, to direct, and to have relationship with you. If religion has left you feeling empty, no matter what denomination you're from, we can all fall into the religious cycle.
Decide today to move from religion to having a relationship with Jesus! He's created you for so much more!