A lot of people want to know, when they hear “they are religious,” what that means, exactly. Certainly we can all do things “religiously” but not necessarily be religious.
What does it mean to be “a Pharisee?”. What I call religious, is a person knows a lot about the bible, but they don’t really live it. They like to do the parts that are easy to do, such as tithing, going to church, doing good deeds for others (soup kitchens, and so on), because to them, so long as they have “done’ the right things, then their relationship with God must be okay, as well.
Paul was persecuting new believers for not being “right with God,” according to the Word of God. Did you hear what I said? His measure WAS the word of God! And yet Jesus said to him, “Why are you persecuting me?”
Religious people are more concerned with the outside of the cup (outward appearances) than they are with inside of a person.
Can we be just a little bit religious? Well, yes, we can! I have seen people be all spiritual one minute and religious, the next. Basically, there are a couple of motivators for being religous. One is Fear, the other is Pride.
Religious people fear things getting “out of control” If they don’t keep everyone in line. If someone sins (and Paul addressed this in Romans), they fear everyone else will feel it’s okay to sin. Therefore, even though they may claim to believe the gospel (of Jesus Christ) they really do not believe God transforms people supernaturally, or by his Grace.
People who are religious are often prideful, feeling they have followed the rules, and so should everyone else. To them, this is justice. It’s not just if they have to stop drinking, and you didn’t. “It’s not fair,” if they are going to church all the time, tithing, or serving in the church every day, and you are not doing your part.
Religious people are the “all about the rules,” people.
The heart of Jesus is that we know him, and because we know him, he knows us.
There is a penatatrive situation going on in Relationship with Jesus, that is like no other. He is willing to impart everything he knows to you (as much as you can handle), and in turn we surrender all of ourselves to him.
A religious person will always claim to know what’s going on in the heart of a person, based upon that person’s actions.
Let me ask you something; “Can you see, with the naked eye, what is going on inside of a plant, when it’s growing?
People who love God bask in his light, receive his word as fertilizer, water, and seed. Sometimes for true believers, the nutrients of God’s word are received through truths in music, movies, and other things that are not carrying the label “Christian.” Didn’t Jesus say he was the way, the truth, and the light?
Religious people are bigger sinners than the person’s they are pointing fingers at. No wonder Paul said he was a wretched man, and one who did not “deserve” Salvation after his encounter with Jesus.
We hate sin because of love for people (when we are born again) and what it does to them. We don’t hate it because of what we fear it does to us.
Religion is always orderly, While Relationship is often messy. Religion is man going through the motions, Relationship cries out to God for supernatural help. Religion is into punishment for infractions of God’s word (calling it discipline), while relationship undertands the heart needs to be supernaturally transformed.
Religion Produces death and call it ‘death to self” When a person realizes their own ways did not work, they voluntarily surrender their lives to Jesus (knowing they have failed to achieve anything good in the flesh) and this is called being “Born Again” and is true death to self.
There’s a reason Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and this example, that he was born without the help of a natural man, was so important. It’s the same way we are “born” of God. This is what a true Christian is, not a member of some club or religion that accepts you if you meet their spelled out (human) requirements.
So now, when I say someone is religious, I mean Jesus is not really real to them. He’s a person they know a lot about, but not someone they know (personally).
The reason Jesus was so hard on the Pharisees, is he knew their example might prevent people from coming to him…….and he was willing to do anything he could- to stop that from happening.
He loves you, so much! He loved us enough to die for us, stand up to the Pharisees for us, and call people like Paul, Peter and all the rest to “preach” the good news of Salvation to us.
Lastly, Relationship cheers you on to do good, and follow Jesus! Religion picks apart everything you do, and scrutinizes you, to see if you’re worthy. I hope this helped.
With love, Your servant, his daughter, and author of several encouraging books …..