When we first become Christians, or even after we’ve been a Christian for awhile, we do things to show it. Whether it be getting baptized, going to every church service possible, or reading our Bibles more, it shows others, and Christ, that we are “Christians”. We think that if we do these things we are showing that we are “religious”. We tell our boss that Sundays are just not possible to work on because of our “religion”. We let it default to just an excuse sometimes.
One of the biggest factors I mentioned above is reading our Bibles more. We sit down and drill Bible verse upon verse into our heads so that we can say we have them memorized. We make sure we read as much as we can so that we know as much as we can. Lots of us solely rely on the Bible as a way of showing others that we are Christians. We may act completely absurd at work, then go on our lunch break and someone see’s you’re reading your Bible and they respond by saying “You’re a Christian?” Your reaction is “Yes, I am a Christian”, because you are reading your Bible.
When I was baptized, I was baptized the same day my sister was. We both came to know the Lord around the same time and wanted to make it a special day. As we invited our family members (who mostly were not Christians) many of them asked why we decided to get baptized. Many of them we hadn’t spoken to, so they were clueless on our newly found faith. But others, such as my parents and grandparents partly believed that we were just getting baptized because that’s what Christians do. And yes, while that is true, Christians do get baptized, it’s not because that’s the “religious” thing to do. Rather that’s what Jesus says to do to profess our faith; it is a symbol of being cleansed and born again after we come up from the water.
Some jump right in and serve at their church. Why? Because it’s the “religious” thing to do. We must get involved in as much as possible, because then people will definitely know we are Christians. This, however, is false. You cannot identify someone as a Christian because they are volunteering for everything at their church. An example is this: a coworker claims she cannot work Wednesday morning because she leads a Bible study with some friends and has other sorts of church events going on. This makes all of her coworkers think she is a Christian, because she is serving and getting involved at her church. But that’s always not true.
Doing any of these things (and so much more) does not make you a Christian. People may begin to think that you are “religious”, but is being religious really what being a Christian is all about? We claim to be religious, but we are only doing works, labeling ourselves, and indulging in reading a book that we don’t let truly effect our lives. And that is the biggest problem with religion. We think that it’s a practice, but really it’s a lifestyle. We aren’t called to practice religion, we are called to live out Jesus wherever we go. And while doing all of these things is great, where is Jesus in the midst of it? Is He effecting your heart? Is He growing you each and every time you read your Bible? Religion is one of Satan’s biggest lies to us. He tells us we need to be religious, but in all actuality, we need Jesus. We can’t find salvation in any of our works, labels, or reading the Bible. We can only truly find salvation in Jesus. But Satan loves it when we think we can get to heaven by just doing all these other things. Don’t just live a life of religion, live a life where Jesus is inside of you. Where He is your only identity and the rest are just extras to help deepen your relationship with Christ.
Learn more about Satan’s Greatest Lie by listening to PAG’s podcast “A Study in Romans Part 4” by Lead Pastor, Aaron Taylor.
Let it be an encouragement to not be religious, but to be a true believer and follower of Jesus Christ.