Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2 Tim.3:5)
I used to be very religious even after I consciously accepted Christ as my Lord and Saviour just before gaining admission to the University. In my undergraduate days, something interesting happened that changed my life. I had a roommate who always engaged me in discussions on biblical perspectives relating to some of the doctrines that my denomination espoused. I always argued to the point of getting angry. Subsequently, I started studying the Scriptures not to grow, but to find passages that will support our doctrines and beliefs. One day, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “Son, if you want to go far in life, you must drop all these doctrines of men.” That was a major turning point in my christian adventure.
Nothing relegates destiny to the lowest spiritual division like religion. If your religion does not change your life for the best, then it is dead. Religion weakens or worse still, corrodes the very essence of Christianity and its supernaturality.
Someone has described religion as man’s way of reaching God. Howbeit, there is a God’s way of reaching Him but more often than not it’s resisted by the very religious.
“ But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” (Matt.23:13)
Religion can be more deadly than sin. It gives a false sense of spirituality and eternal security. It makes the senses numb, the heart hard, the ears blocked and the eyes blindfolded. Every action seems right and justified.
Religion could be said to play a dominant role where the following features are evident:
• It pays attention to form instead of substance of faith.
• It performs the duties of both the legislature and the judiciary while its adherents are the executives.
• It promotes tradition instead of transformation.
• It abhors change and maintains status quo.
• It encourages neutrality rather than spirituality.
• It pays more premium on piety rather than purity.
• It unwittingly provokes spiritual lethargy with its liturgy rather than spiritual energy.
• It arrogates information rather than romance revelation.
• It numbs spiritual sensitivity for sensuality.
• It provides a comfort zone for sin to thrive by the antithetical belief that the sins are adequately purged by ceremonials.
• It gives a false sense of eternity.
• It celebrates monuments instead of moments for the soul.
• It appeals more to the emotions than the spirit.
• Religion shrouds myths rather than espouse and expound mysteries.
• Unknowingly, it exalts itself above the knowledge of God. According to 2 Corinthians 10:5, it creates an imaginary principality that exalts itself above the knowledge of God.
• It gives superiority to dogmas rather than to the Scriptures. (Luke 13:14)
• It seeks to promote rules and regulations instead of relationship with God.
• It makes a ritual out of the spiritual.
The Scripture made it abundantly clear the prescriptions for true and unfeigned religion as enunciated in James 1:26,27. Therefore, permit me to submit that your religion is vain and ineffectual unless you do the following:
1. Be a doer of the Word of God. (James 1:25)
2. Be God’s extension of love to the afflicted world. (James 1:27)
3. Be uncompromisingly righteous by the appropriation of God’s grace. (Roms.5:17; Eph.2:8,9)
The big question is, how do I escape the scourge of religion?
• Be humble to learn. (Psalm 25:9)
• Like the Berean believers, seek for the truth. (Acts 17:10,11)
• Embrace the teaching and revelation ministry of the Holy Spirit. (John 16:13)
• Avoid arguments and disputings. (1Tim.6:3-5; 2 Tim. 2:14)
• Realise that denominations are creations of men to bring us closer to God in fellowship. (Luke 4:16; Heb. 10:25)
• Acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Head of the Universal Church. (Matt. 16:18)
• Realise that no scripture is of any private interpretation. (2 Pet. 1:20)
• Get rid of any prejudices and biases. (Gal. 3:1)
• Ask for the light of the Word. ( 2 Cor. 4:4; Ps.36:9)
Friend, just like Paul admonished his son in the gospel, Timothy, to turn away from religion and the shenanigans of the religious, I charge you under God to do the same and embrace the unfettered, unrestricted and unmerited grace of God. Those that believe and receive this grace have been empowered to become the sons and daughters of God. (John 1:12)
It is a new day for you.
Remain ever beautified!