Good news isn't good news unless there's bad news to which to apply it. The Good News we speak of applies to the human condition, which is hopelessly bent towards destructive selfishness—self-centeredness, self-absorption, self-promotion, self-preservation, self-sufficiency—the list goes on. We want what we want, we want it now, and we want it on our terms. But why?

We are born with a resistant and rebellious nature—a sinful nature—towards God, and if we’re honest, we know it and feel it. But God created us and desires to have relationship with us; to protect and provide, love and enjoy, and give us purpose and meaning that He already determined for us to live a fulfilling life. However, because of our sinful nature, we reject God and have broken relationship with Him, and willfully rely and trust only on ourselves to get our wants and needs met, and to find some meaning and purpose apart from Him.

So, what's the bad news? We are separated from God and believe we can live without Him, but really we are on a path to destruction. As our efforts and ideas fail to fulfill, we end up in damaged or abusive relationships, unhealthy dependencies or addictions, physical, mental, or emotional pain and dysfunction, or even just simply feeling alone, empty, and unhappy. That's a bad situation to be in.

So how can we fix this? 



"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." That's what we do—we still turn to ourselves and try even harder to make life worth living. And we may see short-term successes, but eventually every road taken apart from God leads to a frustrating and miserable dead end. So, when we reach a point of desperation, we decide maybe it's time to give God a try.

But in our broken, hurt, and sinful states we are hopelessly prone to pursue God—and find a fix to our problems—by following what we believe to be the best spiritual practices and religious works that will earn God's favor and forgiveness, reconcile the relationship, and get Him to move in our lives. We have learned to work hard and follow the rules to get ahead in life and to be loved, so we believe we can and must do something to earn God's love and acceptance. Furthermore, we also believe our best efforts and practices will bring us salvation—the healing, restoration, and wholeness of being we all long for in our desperate and broken lives.


But what we've believed isn't true.


All this hard work pursuing God gets one thing in return: religion.

Religion compels you to obey the letter of God's Law and Word so you will be accepted and loved. Religion compels you to good works to prove you are worthy of blessing. Religion compels you to right behavior to be in right relationship with God. Religion compels you carry these burdens alone.

With that, religion reinforces trusting and relying only on yourself, because everything depends on you. Religion reinforces selfishness through entitlement, because you are good enough and you've done enough, therefore you deserve God's love, forgiveness, and blessings in return. 

But this is when religion leaves you disillusioned and wanting because despite all your efforts and rule-following your life is still a mess, your relationships are still strained, you still feel alone and miserable, and God seems silent and absent. 

This is where religion fails you.


You did your best to follow the rules to the letter of the law; you cleaned up your act, did as you were told, and even served your family and neighbors dutifully. But you also inevitably made mistakes and fell short of expectations. Shame and guilt-ridden—because God is surely angry with you—you redoubled your efforts (again), but in the end, you just didn't measure up to God's standards that would grant you His favor and fix your life.

For all you've done, you're right back where you started, and maybe even worse off. At this point you've tried everything and nothing has worked. You are still hurting; you are still broken. But now you're also confused and spent, likely feeling hopeless and ready to give up—on God, on love, on relationships, maybe even on life itself. This is religion killing you.

But there's Good News!