By Not Known
Are you one of those who feels guilty when you miss your daily quiet time, or weekly Sunday church, or monthly Holy Communion ever so often? Interestingly, any faith as a religion has a way of disquieting the impious, and assuring the disciplined. Is your (ir)religiousness a friend or a foe to your relationship with God?
On numerous occasions while sharing the Gospel, people have said to me, “I’m not the religious sort… sorry.” I gathered that those who responded this way were not necessarily rejecting ‘God’. They were rejecting the rites and rituals which appeared so superficial and meaningless as far as they could observe amongst those who practiced them. In fact, their quest for an authentic relationship with a personal God presents open doors for explaining the meanings behind certain religious practices. For example, in the observance of Holy Communion, the bread and wine are only visible signs pointing to the reality of God’s saving work in Christ. That is why Paul warned against an unworthy observance that defeats its Gospel meaning and significance (1 Cor 11:23-29).
Contrastingly, numerous people have also shared their abhorrence with Christians who are openly religious, yet do not exhibit virtues of love, mercy and grace so widely associated with the God of Christmas and Easter. Even non-believers look for evidence of those God-like attributes. Instead, their religious affiliation and fidelity are just like another feather in the cap â€• a moral certification, much like an academic or professional certification â€• without real and on-going sanctification. This is rather unfortunate, a counter-curriculum to the meaning and significance of the Gospel.
Were you once an observer of hopelessly religious Christians and you told yourselves that if God were as his followers had reflected, you would rather not believe? Or are you reaching a point in your practice of the Christian religion where you feel hopelessly empty?
Paul warned the Jews saying: You brag about the law, do you dishonour God by breaking the law? As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you” (Rom 2:23-24). Similarly, let’s be pious and disciplined in honouring God. But know that saving hope rests in Christ alone.