Religion is about trying to make God happy with us
All too often when people think in terms of the spiritual
realm, they resort to humanistic or worldly thinking simply because it makes sense to them. For example every religion of the world relies on our doing or abstaining from something to earn their reward or place in eternity. These mandates and prohibitions usually make a lot of sense to humanity, but are strictly contradictory to the message of the Bible. To claim that the Word of God must always agree with human logic is not correct. For example, God does not necessarily help those who help themselves. Sometimes He lets those who depend upon “self help” to reach the end of their rope before he sends help their way. Why? Because God wants people to depend upon Him in all aspects of their lives, not their own ability to pull themselves up by their bootstraps; i.e. Cain and Able. Cain brought what he felt was acceptable (the best of his garden) regardless of what God demands – Blood of a firstborn sheep or goat. You can say that Cain made his own religion in trying to come to God in his own wisdom.
Use this link for the NIV Gal 3:1-14 Highlight verses 2-5 and 10,11.
As we ponder God’s character from the above passage, I wonder if God would answer our signature question below in the following way…
Who are you Lord?
Everything about the Christian life is generated by Me and My Word. What you know and understand of Me is what generates trust within you of My person and character because you realize that I AM able to do what I say and promise. All of the stories of the Old Testament prove that I AM trustworthy. And consequently you can act with confidence in this life because of those facts. In regard to both Abraham and Moses, faith in God to work on their behalf was the key to their holiness. Their obedience to what God told them to do stemmed from a faith that I would do what I promised. By their obedience, they showed that they knew that I would work on their behalf. Your faith must be demonstrated by your following My Spirit and allowing My Spirit to work through you. The question remains, do you trust My character as revealed in My Word to the point that you will do what it says contrary to what your human instincts tell you to do?
Christianity is best evidenced in unexpected responses to hardships.
God’s Word is full of apparent humanistic contradictions. “Bless those who curse you”, “turn the other cheek,” “humble yourself and He will lift you up.” “Deny yourself.” “Put to death the desires of the flesh.” Often times we as believers think that if we just do these things then we can feel that we are OK. But it is the same as putting the cart before the horse. Jesus is not giving us a list of things to do to be Spirit filled. NO! We do these things only because we are allowing the Holy Spirit to control us, then and only then is he able to change these basic reactions in us to reflect his person in our lives. Religion is just the opposite, people trying to act out the “fruit of the Spirit” in their own strength, and as long as things are going their way, seems to be working. However when someone crosses them, if the Holy Spirit is not really in control, you will notice right off what kind of spirit really has control. Christianity is best evidenced in the unexpected responses toward hardships.
Religion is having a form of Godliness but denying its power
The true Christian life is a reflection of God’s characteristics pouring out of the life of a human. Religion is blindly following and enforcing on others rules and regulations because they have no power within to supernaturally be like God. Forcing others to outwardly conform to rules so that I am not tempted to dishonor God might sound pious, but is indicative that there is no power within the follower to produce true righteousness. 2 Tim 3:5 says “…having the form of righteousness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.”
Religion ensnares, Faith in Christ empowers.
More to come,