I’ve been asked the question, “Are You Religious” by several people. My usual answer is that I have a strong faith, but I am not “Religious”. Sometimes I follow that response with, it’s more important to have a personal walk with the Lord.
Many of the same people then ask, “What church do you attend”? They are often confused when I tell them “NONE”. Most don’t understand that it’s not the building, but how we are listening to the Lord for ourselves. It’s not about how often we sit in a pew, attend church socials, teach Sunday School or preach — If we don’t have a personal walk with the Lord, none of that matters!
Most don’t understand, that it doesn’t matter how others view us — the Lord knows our hearts. We can do all of the “religious” activities, and still don’t know him. I’ve noticed that many of these same people are wrapped up in their “stuff”, and often try to impress others with their “stuff” (houses, cars, clothes, decorations, titles, group affiliations, etc.). The Lord truly does not care about are “Earthly Stuff”, he only cares about our eternal souls.
The word “religious” to me, means something different. That term invokes images of pharisees who were more interested in Laws. Those were people who followed Old Testament Law and created many of their own laws. Many times these people viewed themselves as superior to others.
A good question that we can ask ourselves when we encounter someone who professes to be a Christian. Is the fruit of the spirit there?
Some scripture that deals with pharisees, earthly treasures , loving others, remaining humble, forgiving one another, and a personal walk with the Lord. We must forgive everyone; otherwise, we should expect to find eternity in the Lake of Fire:
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 “Commandment Of Love”
If I speak human or angelic languages
but do not have love,
I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 If I have the gift of prophecy
and understand all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains
but do not have love, I am nothing.
3 And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor,
and if I give my body in order to boast
but do not have love, I gain nothing
Religious Hypocrites Denounced
Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples:
2 “The scribes and the Pharisees are seated in the chair of Moses.
3 Therefore do whatever they tell you, and observe it. But don’t do what they do, because they don’t practice what they teach.
4 They tie up heavy loads that are hard to carry and put them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves aren’t willing to lift a finger to move them.
5 They do everything to be observed by others: They enlarge their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
6 They love the place of honor at banquets, the front seats in the synagogues,
7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by people.
8 “But as for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi,’ because you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.
9 Do not call anyone on earth your father, because you have one Father, who is in heaven.
10 And do not be called masters either, because you have one Master, the Messiah.
11 The greatest among you will be your servant.
12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You lock up the kingdom of heaven from people. For you don’t go in, and you don’t allow those entering to go in.
14 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You devour widows’ houses and make long prayers just for show. This is why you will receive a harsher punishment.
15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to make one proselyte, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as fit for hell as you are!
16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever takes an oath by the sanctuary, it means nothing. But whoever takes an oath by the gold of the sanctuary is bound by his oath.’
17 Blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the sanctuary that sanctified the gold?
18 Also, ‘Whoever takes an oath by the altar, it means nothing. But whoever takes an oath by the gift that is on it is bound by his oath.’
19 Blind people! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift?
20 Therefore, the one who takes an oath by the altar takes an oath by it and by everything on it.
21 The one who takes an oath by the sanctuary takes an oath by it and by Him who dwells in it.
22 And the one who takes an oath by heaven takes an oath by God’s throne and by Him who sits on it.
23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. These things should have been done without neglecting the others.
24 Blind guides! You strain out a gnat, yet gulp down a camel!
25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence!
26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so the outside of it may also become clean.
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every impurity.
28 In the same way, on the outside you seem righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous,
30 and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we wouldn’t have taken part with them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’
31 You, therefore, testify against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.
32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ sins!
33 “Snakes! Brood of vipers! How can you escape being condemned to hell?
34 This is why I am sending you prophets, sages, and scribes. Some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will flog in your synagogues and hound from town to town.
35 So all the righteous blood shed on the earth will be charged to you, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar.
36 I assure you: All these things will come on this generation!
Matthew 6:19-21 “God & Possessions”
19 “Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.
20 But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal.
21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 7:22-23 “Depart From Me, I Never Knew You”
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.
14 “For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well.
15 But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.
21 For from within, out of people’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders, 22 adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, promiscuity, stinginess, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a person.”
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith,
23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Prior post: https://jcsouthwest.wordpress.com/2016/01/03/the-religious-spirit/
“Softly And Tenderly”