Today's NT challenge is Mark 3 - 5.
Mark 3:1 And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2 So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. 3 And He said to the man who had the withered hand, “ Step forward.” 4 Then He said to them, “ Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent. 5 And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “ Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.
You would think that Jesus healing someone would be a good thing, right...? Well... not if you are more concerned with your religion than you are with following Jesus' leadership.
How do you know if you are becoming religious? Well in this passage the religious people were more concerned about their traditions than they were about the healing of the person with a withered hand. Jesus is always more concerned with people than He is the tradition or method. So one way to know you are becoming religious is if your methods or rules are becoming more important than your relationship with Christ, which requires humility and openness at all times.
Matthew 15:1 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” 3 He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition.
Another way of identifying that you are becoming religious is if you are always right when it comes to spiritual matters. Your traditions become more important than even scripture. You ask questions only for the purpose of creating opportunities to argue rather than opportunities to learn. Jesus was always very keen and brief with religious people because they do not have a heart to learn.
The best defense against religion is to stay on your face daily before God until His presence once again manifest and reminds you that you are a grace made person. Nothing about you is good until you were accepted into the family of God and became a child of God. Apart from Him we can do nothing. PJ