Religious People – Religious Mindsets

How do we counteract or expose religious mindsets?  Or do we? First, what is a religious spirit? Or better yet, what does it mean when we say someone is religious? Religion, by definition, describes man’s attempts to find and experience God. This subject means different things to different people.  

I’ve heard all my life that it was religion – religious people – who killed Jesus. Specifically, the Pharisees get named. The Romans participated too. Historically, these two groups get blamed for Jesus’ death. As Christians, we believe there was something much deeper behind the crucifixion. Theologically, it was my sins and your sins that nailed Jesus to the Cross. We’ve sung about it for years: “He was nailed to the cross for me, He was nailed to the cross for me. On the cross crucified, for me he died. He was nailed to the cross for me.” To put it succinctly, someone said, “Jesus died on the cross. This is history. Jesus died for the sins of the world. This is theology. Jesus died for my sins. This is personal salvation!”

Religious mindsets typically embrace church traditions, legalism, or personal convictions as biblical truth when it comes to everyday Christian living. In other words, conduct is determined not necessarily by the Word of God, but by law-based beliefs that tend to be inflexible and judgmental. Religion says, “God will love us if we change.” Religion, then, is based on a works mentality. It says, “I have to “do” to get to heaven.” In short, religion kills! I admit it. Religious people can be very exasperating. They often lack love in their approach to life and godly living. Usually, it’s their way or the highway. This is most unfortunate.  

But, listen carefully. Those who despise religious attitudes often go to an opposite extreme to prove their hatred for religion, and to prove that they are “real” people. In doing so, they create a different kind of religious dilemma.  What do I mean?

They frequently curse or use foul expressions. Many become mean-spirited and impatient toward those they deem as religious, and sadly nullify the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. Their intolerance inadvertently turns them into religious bigots, just in a different context.  Some even become combative and vindictive. My friend, being transparent is not a license to be mean-spirited or continue living in sin! Some may say, “Well, that’s just who I am!” Really? What they may be saying is, “This is who I’ve chosen to be.” Ouch!

In essence, they trade one type of religious expression for another, and in my opinion neither role positively represents our Lord. Both become religious cutthroats. And both are hurtful. 

So, you may pride yourself on not being religious, but if you’re mean, unloving, unapproachable, unkind, foul-mouthed and firm in the other direction, what makes you think that Jesus is honored by your indiscretions? This opposing mindset runs contrary to the gospel, which says, “God’s love changes us.” It does not take into account that although we are not saved by works, good works follow us because we are saved! We are still called to model the Christ life. 

There you have it – two types of religious expression, neither of which gives credence to a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ. Being “real” in no way eliminates the believer’s call to holiness. 

Think about it!

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