Skip to comments.The Problem with Religion-Steve’s Devotional(Protestant/Evangelical/Non-Denom Caucus)
Posted on 10/03/2015 6:49:27 PM PDT by metmom
Do you sometimes grow tired of religious people? Do you ever want to just grunt, scream and spit? I know I do.
Sometimes I just want to say something shocking. And once thats done, Ill think, There, I did it and Im glad! I try to stifle those feelings because, of course, no real Christian would even think such things. That is what I thought until I read Christs words in Matthew 6:1-8 and 16-18.
Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
The fact is, you can always tell when someone is religious but you cant always tell when someone is a Christian. One of the most dangerous things we do in the church is to confuse sanctimony with saintliness. That is the problem Jesus addresses in Matthew 6.
So we need to be careful.
Watch out for religious exhibitionism.
Someone has said that true religion is what you do when no one sees.
Jesus makes the point that if you dont do it privately, for Gods sake, dont do it publicly. If you dont believe it in your heart, for Gods sake, dont do it in your life. If it isnt real to you when youre by yourself, for Gods sake, dont say it is real when youre with others. Sometimes the more the outward piety, the less the inward reality. That is why you have to watch those who say and do religious things.
Are you sometimes intimated by the religious folks who do so much religious stuff? They are always faithful, they memorize Scripture all the time, they talk only about God and they know the creeds backwards.
Watch out for religious words.
There is a direct correlation between the reality you know and the number of words you have to use to communicate that reality to others. The more words, the less the reality.
You should have heard all the religious clichés that surrounded my father on his deathbed. In contrast, the doctor who led him to Christ was very brief and very clear. He said, Mr. Brown, you have cancer and three months to live. Were going to have a prayer and then Im going to tell you something more important than what I just told you. They prayed and then in a very simple way that doctor led my father to Christ.
It takes many words to keep a sinking religious ship afloat. Most of us have a problem with keeping quiet I know I do.
Are you sometimes intimidated by those who know so much and make it sound so complex?
Watch out for religious condemnation.
You can tell how guilty a person is by asking how guilty you feel in that persons presence.
How surprising of God to sanctify the tears of the thief and judge the silent condemnation of the religious judge. How surprising of God, in the midst of proper worship, correct theology and strict Sabbath keeping, to simply leave the building.
Do you sometimes wonder if youre the real thing because you get so much wrong and they point it out?
Watch out for religious solemnity.
Sometimes I get tickled at the seriousness of the church. If there werent a God, I would understand. But last time I checked, God was still there and had not, as yet, gone into a panic.
When Jesus is present, there is joy, freedom and release. Under the watchful eye of a sovereign God, we can rejoice in the laughter of the redeemed.
Do you ever get the giggles in the wrong place, are criticized and then question your salvation?
Ive got some good news for you.
Jesus says twice, They have their reward. When people tell me that Im spiritual, it often worries me. I would rather receive my reward from God than from them.
I have a friend who says that the difference between believers and unbelievers is that Christians know the rules and how to play the game. Therefore we can fake it better.
In Luke 18 Jesus told a story about a Pharisee who knew the rules. He went to the temple to pray and looked down on the tax collector who was also praying. The Pharisee rejoiced before God that he was not like the tax collector.
The Pharisee told God that he was not like other men. The Pharisee told God that he wasnt an adulterer and he wasnt. The Pharisee told God that he wasnt a tax collector who stole money from Gods people and he wasnt. The Pharisee told God that he fasted twice a week and he did. The Pharisee told God that he tithed all of his possessions and he did.
The tax collector, on the other hand, barely looked up. Instead, he pled for desperately needed mercy and received it.
The rest of the story? When the Pharisee left the temple, the religious folks told him how much they appreciated his help in building the temple. After all, he was a benefactor. The religious folks went on to admire him for his fasting, praying, purity and commitment. As a result, the Pharisee felt good about himself.
Dont get me wrong. I dont begrudge him.
According to Jesus, thats all he got.
Time to Draw Away
Read Luke 18:9-14 & Romans 8
Are you intimidated by religious folks
so much so that you begin to doubt your salvation? Dont let that happen. You belong to God. So rest and relax in his love, mercy and grace. Its already yours.
bump to read comments later
You have really good taste in your posts except this one guy I really do not like. Not at all. I’ll leave it at that. He always seems to push my warning buttons. I’m not going to dwell on it here. I have to go walk my dog. It just seems that he is no where near the caliber of your other post author choices.
Please do not be offended. I’ll leave him all to you from now on. Just saying I can’t figure it.
Love this, ‘specially the part about feeling guilty around a guilt-inflicting person who is under (false) guilt himself.
On the hand I agree with him, but on the other, it’s hard not to think of the church in Laodicea when thinking of the church in America. We have the comforts and riches here as well as freedom of worship, yet worldliness is, overall, constantly gaining new ground.
The parallels with the Laodicean church are astounding, especially with the prosperity gospel teaching that is so wide spread these days.
He pushes mine, too. I sometimes hear him on the radio and also read the articles here, and for some reason I get that sense. I understand his point about grace and also the ones about religion, but perhaps it’s that it seems to me like he doesn’t cover all of Scripture as he should.
And it seems like so often the church in America forgets how much we have here, and all we have ends up being spiritually destructive. People go by lying feelings and ideas that say there’s no reason to fear God, and that we’re consumers whose loyalties God has to compete for. What has He done for us lately? The worldiness is powerful here, sending ever more confusing, deceiving messages, which are straight out of our sinful nature, so they seem “correct to us.” Here’s one I was just reading about:
For most people, going blind is their worst nightmare, but for this North Carolina woman it was a dream come true.
Jewel Shuping, 30, was so desperate to be blind that she poured draining cleaner in her baby blues to wipe out her eyesight and she couldnt be happier.
She suffers from an illness called body integrity identity disorder (BIID) a disease that causes able-bodied people to strongly desire a disability.
I really feel this is the way I was supposed to be born, that I should have been blind from birth, Shuping told Barcroft Media.
The story seems to suggest that she even had a psychologist’s support in doing this.
So while I most certainly believe in grace, I have to wonder about how it is taught sometimes.
I saw the thread on that.
That’s one messed up woman.
People these days have WAY too much time on their hands.
You don’t get these kinds of problems when you are struggling to just get or grow enough food to survive from one week to the next.
Entitlement mentality has infected the church in America big time, to the point that we thing we are entitled to everything from God that we demand of Him. I’ve heard Christians say that stuff like health and prosperity is our right and we should claim it from God and expect Him to give it to us.
The proof, according to the apostle John, that someone is saved is that they obey Gods commandments. Do t be deceived by those who claim grace as a license to sin. Grace leads to repentance or it is not true grace but rather lawlessness. I think many people get confused between the two.
I agree with some of the other posters here. This author comes across as very arrogant to me. He has his own self righteous manner in the way he mocks people who seek to obey God.
God didn’t make us all Sanguines, and it seems Brown simply talks out of his own natural perspective. That’s fine, but if weighed in the balance of Scripture it, too, is found wanting.
The Lord is not bothered by very serious believers who take Scripture seriously, brood over life, weep, don’t look happy and joyful all the time (or hardly ever), and really, REALLY find social gatherings torture. They have joy, too, believe it or not. The Father sees it, and that’s ENOUGH.
If the Sanguine wants the too serious person to “lighten up”, to come to the party and be happy, the serious person is wishing the Browns of the world would “grieve, mourn and wail” for a change and get scared as God is a God “who feels indignation every day.”
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