Spirit of Religious Duty

It is so easy to accept that you are never good enough. The world will tell you this constantly — so much so that it seems as if it is being played to you on loop. Even when you feel you may be in a safe place, a place where people won’t make you feel as if you are never enough, YES even church, you feel not got enough. Why? Because as sinners, we Christians can point a finger just as much or even more so than those who do not profess the name of Jesus. The world may tell you that you are horrible; Christians have a Bible they can cherry pick from and rain down a bunch of verses to point out your shortcomings all in the name of love.

This sounds horrible, right? And it is. The problem is so many Christians continue to feel justified because instead of drawing near to God and living in His presence, we would much rather accept the salvation Jesus offers and the justified feeling we have clinging to God’s Word as we point fingers back at others, all while not addressing the speck in our own eye. Rather than being in a loving relationship with those around us, we like to have the “best” of both worlds — the heavenly and the earthly. We feel righteous as we share Scripture; we feel okay with only having our toes dipping in the heavenly realm as we continue to live closely with those of this world.

Today’s verse makes it very simple for us. We — you and I — did NOT receive the spirit of religious duty. We are not living under some obligation to follow a huge do and do not list. We do NOT need to go back to living in fear of never being good enough. Remember, we have the Spirit of full acceptance. Jesus paid the price for us. He has said that you and I are forever good enough. As believers in Jesus, we are children of God — we are part of God’s family. When God sees us, He sees His Son. Our life is built on Jesus. Our life is lived in relationship with Him. Yes, there’s things we should do and things we shouldn’t do in life. However, the relationship is built on love which overflows with grace and truth.

One of the biggest lies the devil wants you to believe is that you are not good enough. One of the easiest ways that he can keep you from accepting the full acceptance of God is to have you live a life focused on religious duty. Not only can he keep you from resting in the presence of God as you try to be good enough by following “the list” that you can never accomplish as a sinner, but he can also lead you to pour out judgment on believers and non-believers alike as you take God’s Word and cherry pick through it to let everyone know that yes, they too are sinners. In the end, you’ll feel miserable because you are not good enough. Those around you will also feel miserable because you pointed out their shortcomings. Everyone will ask the question — where is the love? 

Friends, as today’s verse tells us, we do not need to ever feel orphaned again. Our Beloved Father has sent His one and only only Son, to pay the price we could never pay, so that we could have a life eternal with Him. It is because of Him that you and I are always good enough. Let us rest in His goodness today as we are reminded of this Good News. You are His. He is yours. Forever always. 

“And you did not receive the ‘spirit of religious duty,’ leading you back into the fear of never being good enough. But you have received the ‘Spirit of full acceptance,’ enfolding you into the family of God. And you will never feel orphaned, for as he rises up within us, our spirits join him in saying the words of tender affection, ‘Beloved Father!’” – Romans 8:15 [TPT]

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