Hypocrisy truly serves the devil. The tragedy for modern Christians comes from the rewards given for being the best hypocrite possible!

Institutional Religion lives out as the accepted words on proper topics presented in the orthodox form judged by cultural standards.

Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane

Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Spirituality, or “Pure Religion”, as God says in James, consists of living in the muck of life weeping over our own sins and grieving over those of others. And then acting like Jesus — in love!

“Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant. It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:4-6 God’s Word).

Because people find identity and crave approval of others, whenever their “group” acts they accept it, knowing if it is wrong they will be excommunicated if they speak up. Many people pew-sit in ignorance hoping that will protect them from spiritual responsibility. Devil scores one – love loses to hate.

Cover of "The Cost of Discipleship"

Love does not sit passively. Imagine Jesus saying on Maundy Thursday in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Well, I should just sit here and read the minutes of the last meeting, repeat the prayer I gave the disciples, feel warm and fuzzy that I belong to this group of disciples. No, there’s no need to do anything that will cost me more than my ego can bear. Hmm, I’m sure there is a synagogue somewhere that needs some painting done. Yes, I think I’ll go to a prayer meeting and impress people with my “much speaking” so they can feel religious enough to dull their senses to the Cost of Discipleship.”

Passive spirituality is impossible.

“Do what God’s word says. Don’t merely listen to it, or you will fool yourselves. If someone listens to God’s word but doesn’t do what it says, he is like a person who looks at his face in a mirror, studies his features, goes away, and immediately forgets what he looks like. However, the person who continues to study God’s perfect teachings that make people free and who remains committed to them will be blessed. People like that don’t merely listen and forget; they actually do what God’s teachings say. If a person thinks that he is religious but can’t control his tongue, he is fooling himself. That person’s religion is worthless. Pure, unstained religion, according to God our Father, is to take care of orphans and widows when they suffer and to remain uncorrupted by this world” (James 1:22-27 God’s Word).

Thanks to JS Park for speaking a word and opening me to write on this topic. We never blog alone!