Religion is Dangerous Business
Religion is Dangerous Business
Religion is man-made. It is a set of rules we follow and actions we take if we are to call ourselves religious. Practicing religion causes us to look around to see how other Christians behave. Then we simply copy their actions and believe we are religious, too. If they raise their hand in praise, we raise our hands. If they kneel to pray, we kneel. We copy and do what we believe is expected.
Practicing religion can fool us into believing we have a relationship with Jesus and can give us the illusion we are growing. We may be growing more religious, but that is not the goal, is it? Theologian Karl Rahner said, “The number one cause of atheism is Christians. Those who proclaim God with their mouths and deny Him with their lifestyles is what an unbelieving world finds simply unbelievable.”
Religion is dangerous business because it stifles the Holy Spirit and makes God more an enigma than a beloved Heavenly Father. It leaves no room for questions and causes us to believe that listening to a sermon is enough and there is no need to study the Bible on our own. It encourages us to put our pastors, elders, and the great men of the Bible on a pedestal, believing God could not use us the way He uses them. It encourages us to place our faith in our works instead of God’s grace. It causes us to lie to ourselves and distracts us from the truth. Satan loves religion.
Religion focuses on our appearance. Not our physical appearance, but how we appear to be. We may appear to be religious, but God is concerned with the condition of our heart. In Matthew 23:25-28, Jesus is speaking to legalistic rule followers who valued their own guidelines and regulations more than they did the Word of God. He called them hypocrites and went on to say,
“For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also… For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but in side you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
God is not calling us to clean up our outward appearance, pretend to be something we are not, or to act like we love Him. He is not asking us to legalistic and think we are better than others. No, God is inviting us to have a personal relationship with Him through His son Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We are not grandfathered in because our mom or grandparents lived for Him or because we have attend the same church since we were born. He is calling us to transform from the inside out, and that can only take place as we grow to know Jesus more and more personally.
(The above is an excerpt from Saved By Grace, Now What?)
It is not about religion or how religious you are. It is all about having a relationship with the One who came to die for you. Do you know Him? Are you ready to know Him more? None of us know Him the way He longs for us to know Him. We can all take a step closer to Him. Where are you today in your relationship with Jesus? Is He an acquaintance, a casual friend or can you say the two of you are close? If you are not sure, just talk to Him about it. He will help you figure out your next step.
A Note from Pam...
I spent many years practicing religion and not truly understanding how to have a relationship with Jesus. He just wants our time, our trust and our devotion. It requires humbling ourselves and surrendering our way, our thoughts, our feelings, our everything to Him. It is such a sweet place to be. I am praying for you as you take a step closer to Jesus today.
Want to read more from, Saved by Grace, Now What? You can find it here or on Amazon.