As followers of Christ, we need to show discernment when we begin getting too routine in our faith, or risk becoming religious hypocrites.
And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.
Because of this, I will once again astound these hypocrites with amazing wonders. The wisdom of the wise will pass away, and the intelligence of the intelligent will disappear.” (Isaiah 29:13-14)
It can be something that happens so subtly we don’t even notice it.
Have you ever had an alarm clock that has a backup battery? If the clock becomes unplugged, it can continue to run on battery power for a while, making it impossible to detect a problem. Unfortunately, the first time you have any indication if something is wrong is when the alarm doesn’t go off – and on the morning of your big business meeting!
It’s the same way with our faith. If we’re not careful, we will get so comfortable in following Christ that we get more focused on the action than on abiding with Christ.
Maybe we think we don’t need to bother God because we already know what He’s going to say, so we let our prayer life get lazy. Or we can make such easy sense of something on our own that in our spirit we say “that’s ok, God, I’ve got this.” We skim through our daily Bible reading because “we already know this chapter”.
However, there is a danger of us getting too routine in our faith, where everything seems ok, but on examination, our faith is drying up. Christianity is not about routines, but about our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Routines are Helpful – to a Point
So what makes it possible for us to be getting too routine in our faith in the first place?
First, let’s make a distinction between routines of logistics and routines in relationship.
The truth is, human beings tend to rely on routines. They make life manageable. They provide an avenue for discipline. And one thing that a disciple is, is a disciplined person.
There is nothing wrong with having a routine.
Having a set time prioritized for prayer every day is a routine. Spending 15 minutes a day on your lunch hour memorizing scripture is a routine. Serving at the local mission every Saturday morning is a routine. Having a set time and place to spend in the disciplines of our faith is a good thing.
But these are routines of logistics. Routines that speak to discipline are helpful; routines in our relationship with Christ are not. That may make us religious, but we are seeking more than that.
Saying the same prayer over and over again, with little variance over several months is an example of getting too routine in our faith. Jesus teaches us to avoid praying in repetitive, formulaic prayers.
Our faith in Christ is not a routine. It is a relationship. Having a consistent time to practice a discipline is helpful. But if our routine is no longer refreshing our spirit, then it’s a sign we are getting too routine in our faith.
Having the Boldness to Break a Routine
The reason we find ourselves getting too routine in our faith is because it is hard to give up a good routine. Especially one that has benefitted our faith for a time.
We cannot be afraid to change our routine if our routine isn’t working. God does not connect to us through an agenda or program, He connects to us in our hearts (Romans 5:5).
Think about a bodybuilder. If all they did were the same reps at the same weights every day, they would soon arrive at a point where they cannot progress further in their development. A bodybuilder being intentional on training their physique knows they have to change it up every once in a while, in order to be effective.
In much the same way, disciples of Jesus Christ will benefit from intentionally changing up their routine from time to time.
If we want to test whether we are utilizing or depending on routines will be to change our routines regularly and trust that Christ will continue to commune with us through the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ wants us to be dependent on Him, not on our routine (Proverbs 3:5-6).
The Consequences of Keeping Our Routine
If we ignore the signs and stubbornly continue in our faith routines, then we risk becoming like the people God describes in today’s passage; having a form of worship that becomes man-made.
Let that one sink in for a minute. If our relationship with Christ is one of our own invention, does it even qualify as authentic faith in Him? This is the danger of getting too routine in our faith and refusing to change; it will become a faith where we are in charge.
In this passage, God has a word for that – hypocrite. Ultimately, the price of getting too routine in our faith is to become a hypocrite, whose wisdom and intelligence moves us into self-deception. Then we may fall into making God in our own image.
So please, follower of Christ – let’s take care that we don’t find ourselves getting too routine in our faith. Let’s keep our relationship with Christ fresh in our hearts.
More Bible verses getting too routine in our faith (and avoiding it):