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4/27/16 - Is your religion a philosophy or a religion?

Published: Wednesday, 27 April 2016 Written by Carlton L. Arnold

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.  Colossians 2:8

Is your Christianity a philosophy on how to live a Christian life, or is it your personal relationship with the God of the Universe?  There is a significant difference between these two ways of living that every Christian should know.  Obviously, as Christians, the Bible encourages us to make changes in our lives that will cause us to be more Christ-like in our actions and attitudes.  In other words, the more you get to know Jesus Christ, the more you will live like Him.  At the same time, it is so easy to live a life with a worldly philosophy that has become a part of you as you grew into adulthood.  As a matter of fact, we all develop our own personal philosophy on how we will conduct our life in this world.  There is a major problem and danger to replace your personal relationship with Christ with your own philosophy of living that you learned from the world.

 

Philosophy can be defined as the ideas about knowledge, truth, the nature and meaning of life, etc.
 It can also be described as a set of ideas about how to do something or how to live your life on this earth.  Everyone is susceptible to living by a philosophy that they have unknowingly developed over their lifetime.  Suppose you hear about someone who did a wonderful thing for someone else.  Somewhere in the depths of your brain, you record the incident, and it slowly becomes part of your philosophy for helping others.  The problem with a philosophy is that it will almost always contain conditions that become permanent appendages to the philosophy that are difficult to remove. 

For example, many Christians have seen the need to help others.  If this desire to help others is part of a philosophy, that person will expect appreciation for the help provided, even if it is a simple “thank you.”  There will always be conditions when human beings live by a philosophy.  However, if you have a strong, healthy relationship with Jesus Christ, you will want to become more like Him.  You will want to do things motivated by the love that God has shared with you through the forgiveness of sins when Christ died on the cross.  This is NOT a philosophy, but a living, vibrant, ever growing relationship with someone else, Jesus Christ.

A final indicator as to whether a certain Christian is living their Christian life under their own self-made philosophy, or living their Christian life trusting Jesus Christ is who gets the glory for the results of their life’s actions.  God will always get the glory when we live with a relationship with Jesus and not with our own worldly philosophy. 

As a suggestion to develop a relationship with Jesus, obtain a Bible that you can mark in.  Read the four gospels and highlight only the questions that Jesus asked.  Read the four gospels again and highlight everything that Jesus said.  Finally, read the four gospels and highlight the responses of people to what Jesus said.  Do this exercise several times and you will begin to grow in your relationship with Jesus.  The Spirit will convict you of where you are depending own your own philosophy, and are not living as Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

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