Monday, August 18, 2008

Real Religious

Galatians 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

Have you ever heard anyone describe another person this way? Oh he's real religious; what does that mean? What are they really trying to say by this statement. Do they mean that this person has obtained a higher level of spiritual enlightenment or do they mean he's on his way to Heaven because he does so many good things for God? Or maybe he just doesn't drink, smoke or swear anymore, perhaps he just started going to church or maybe he even teaches Sunday school class. How are we to spot those who are real religious or better yet how are we to spot one who has the one and only true religion? Maybe they should all wear a backward collar so we can all know who they are or maybe they should just wear a t-shirt that says "religion inside".

Sometimes I'm still so amazed at what people deem to be religious or even spiritual, have you ever noticed that for the most part their perception of what's religious is always an outward work or action that gets the credit for being religious, even from Christians? So it seems to me that many people think that being real religious means praying in public just before they eat a meal or just giving up bad habits or doing good deeds. But do outward actions really describe what true religion is? How about an attitude of gratitude or a great hatred for sin, or a meek and humble spirit, or someone who has great spiritual discernment in the things of God, perhaps someone who's every thought is consumed with Jesus Christ and the Word of God, (the Bible) and the seriousness of his own sinfulness. It's a sad state of the church today that so many Christians forget all to soon that "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance".

I wonder what someone would say the next time they refer to someone as being real religious and you were to respond with "oh yea you mean he loves the Lord with all of his heart, mind and strength and his neighbor as himself?" He might respond with I don't know; then you could say "well then how do you know he's real religious?" Perhaps this might even open a door to share the only real religion with them, the Gospel of Grace. Because being real religious doesn't mean you have eternal life, only the true religion promises that. Just look at the Pharisees who were the most religious people of their day outwardly and Jesus called them hypocrites, fools, snakes, blind guides. So don't be fooled by outward actions alone, look for the real religion that is displayed only by the fruit of the spirit!

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