Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. Col. 2:20-23
Religion is man’s attempt to appease God. The practice and mindset is typically built around the premise that you are separate from God. If you want God’s favor, you have to do something to manipulate God your way. Contrast to real Christianity, where you are already reconciled to God. Not because of what you do, but what the Triune God has already done.
Real Christianity is an abiding relationship with the living God. A relationship built upon the finish work of Jesus Christ. Whereas religion typically is man’s idea of how one must perform to merit God’s blessings.
Throughout history, in the name of religion, mankind has done harmful acts one-to-another in the name of their idol god. From sacrificing babies at the altar to performing immoral sexual acts, all in the name of their god. In current times, we may have become more civilized, yet we still have the tenancy to practice religion rather than build an intimate relationship with the ONE.
We may burn candles, flog ourselves, sacrifice money, refrain from marriage, establish higher-than-God-standards of righteousness, ordain certain days more holier than others, deny modern conveniences, cloth ourselves in special outfits, refrain from eating certain foods, practice special or secret rituals, refrain from listening to certain music, place higher importance on “spiritual” occupations, vote for specific political parties, and the list goes on and on and on.
When the act becomes more important than the heart of a matter, and when the task has greater priority than the relationship, be careful. You may be emphasizing the religion rather than enjoying a relationship with the living Lord.
Many times the mechanics of faith are the same. The difficult part to identify is the heart of relationship with our heavenly Father. Only He knows for sure. So why not ask your Father-Son-Spirit how you can improve your relationship with Him? And yes, for those who value religion, don’t worry – God also works through religion. You will also find Him in business, government, education, entertainment, sports, medicine, and every other institutional field. For wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Cor.3:17).
Rooting For You in Christ!
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