Religion vs Spirituality
- Copyright 1996 by Dan Sharpe, all rights reserved.

Unless otherwise noted, all scriptures used are taken from
The Holy Bible, New International Version.
Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.
Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

There are many stark contrasts between religion, and Sprituality.
Yet far too many people fail to make, or understand the distinction.
Hundreds of Millions of people are religious, I often wonder how many
of us are Spiritual....

Religion can be anything that the person practicing it desires.
Spirituality, on the other hand, is defined by God.

Since religion is man defined, Religion is a manifestation of the flesh.

But Spirituality, as defined by God, is a manifestation of His nature.

Religion is a tree of death, created by men, that bears ill fruit.

Spirituality is a tree, created by God, that bears the fruit of eternal life.

Or, more acurately, a religious heart is a creation of man, and a Spiritual
heart is a creation of God. Each of us sows seed into our hearts daily.
What we focus on, love, choose, and give ourselves to is planted into our
hearts, and eventually, if nothing uproots it, produces the fruit that it
is destined to. If we sow Spiritual seed, we will reap the fruit of the
Spirit, or put another way, Spirituality.

Galatians 5:13-6:10

You, my brothers, were called to be free.
But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature;
rather, serve one another in love.

The entire Law is summed up in a single command:
"Love your neighbor as yourself."

If you keep on biting and devouring each other,
watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

So I say, live by the Spirit,
and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit,
and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.

They are in conflict with each other,
so that you do not do what you want.

But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under law.

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious:
sexual immorality,
impurity and debauchery;
idolatry and witchcraft;
fits of rage,
selfish ambition,
factions and envy;
orgies and the like.

I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this
will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is
and self-control.
Against such things there is no law.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus
have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin,
you who are spiritual should restore him gently.
But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

Carry each other's burdens,
and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he decieves himself.
Each one should test his own actions.
Then he can take pride in himself,
without comparing himself to somebody else,
for each one should carry his own load.

Anyone who receives instruction in the Word
must share all good things with his instructor.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.
A man reaps what he sows.

The one who sows to please his sinful nature,
from that nature will reap distruction;

the one who sows to please the Spirit,
from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people,
especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

For centuries religion has given Christianity a bad name.
To those looking at the Church from the outside, Spirituality has been
hidden amongst the caos of religion. All to often, they fail to see the
vaild tree of Spiritual truth. Because the weeds of religion, that have
been sown into the body of Christ, have obscured their view of
Spiritual Christians.

Religion, like any other weed, also chokes at the Spirituality of
Christians. Religious folks, some very well meaning, can, by their
words and deeds, injure those who are Spiritual, or crush spiritual seed
that is in the hearts of others.

We need to stop comparing ourselves to one another, and look ernestly at where
we are in comparision to Jesus! Then begin the process of focusing on
becomming more like him. If you see a brother or sister in sin, love them,
care for them, and remember that God had to work things out of your life too.
Bear their burden, take them, by faith, to the throne of Grace, interceed for
them before God for their deliverance and restoration. Stop back biting, and
criticizing others, instead focus on who they are In Christ, build them up
spiritually, instead of tearing them down.

Lets all search our own lives, and repent of the fruit of the flesh.
Its easy to judge the sins that are commonly frowned upon, such as sexual
imorrality. But the sins of discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition,
dissension, factions and envy; are just as bad, maybe worse.

Dont get me wrong, Sexual imorrality, is a sin of Distraction from the Word.
And as such can prevent folks from growing up spiritually, but its by their
choice. But the sins of discord, hatred, dissension, and factionalism can
bruise and crush the hearts of our brothers and sisters.
We can harm one another if we arent walking in love.............

The hearts of believers are God's garden of today.

MATTHEW 13:18+19a

Listen to what the parable of the sower means:
When anyone hears the message of the kingdom,
and does not understand it,
the evil one comes and SNATCHES away
what was sown IN HIS HEART.

God sows spiritual seed into our hearts by the preaching, teaching, and
study of the Word. We can choose to plant Spiritual seed by partaking of
God's word, or we can choose to plant fleshly seeds instead. But whatever
we plant will produce the fruit it is destined to.

MARK 4:26-28

This is what the kingdom of God is like.
A man scatters seed on the ground (of his heart).
Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up
(in other words without him taking more action)
the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.
All by itself the soil (our heart) produces grain -
- first the stalk,
then the head,
then the full kernal in the head.

If we are carefull not to uproot the spiritual seed we chose to accept
into our hearts. And are dilligent to protect not only our own hearts,
but the also hearts of others, the Body of Christ will shed its veil of
religion, and shine with the Light of the Gospel of the Glory of God.
We will reflect God's nature to a world locked in darkness, and many
will come running, saying, truly there is a God.

LUKE 8:15

But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart,
who hear word, retain it, and by perserverance produce a crop.

We must guard our hearts against the 4 weapons the enemy uses to uproot
the word from our hearts:

Lust for things other than God's word (and its fruit in us and others),
Trusting in the decietfulness of wealth (wealth isnt always money,
we can become complacent in life if we are secure, well fed etc..),
the worries and cares of this life, (MARK 4:19)
and trouble, or persecution for the Word's sake. (Matthew 13:21)

Jesus said that, if we only loved one another, the world would KNOW that
the Father had sent him. This Agape-Love he spoke about is the very nature
of God, it is true Spirituality.

2 PETER 1:3-11
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness
through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises,
so that through them you may participate in the divine nature
and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort
to add to your faith, goodness;
and to goodness, knowledge;
and to knowledge, self-control;
and to self-control, perserverance;
and to perserverance, godliness (well-worship);
and to godliness (well-worship), brotherly kindness (philadelphia);
and to brotherly kindness (philadelphia), love (AGAPE).

For if you posses these qualities in increasing measure,
they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive
in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

But if anyone does not have them he is nearsighted and blind,
and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

Therefore my brothers be all the more eager
to make your calling and election sure.

For if you do these things, you will never fall,
and will recieve a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom
of our Lord and Savoir Jesus Christ.

We can partake of God's promises, and participate in His very nature,
AGAPE-Love. We can grow step, by step, from Faith all the way to Love.
Each step builds upon the preceeding one. Goodness comes from having
faith in, and therefore obeying the word. Knowledge comes after reaching
goodness, as knowledge without goodness could be used to harm others.
(ever see someone use scripture to bash others? I have...)
Self-Control is easy if your KNOW who you are in Christ, and what He has
promised you in Christ. Perserverance is merly Self Control being excercised.
Godliness, or worshiping God well (in the greek), is successful perserverance.
And when you worship God well, you have the ablility to love and help others
in a situation similar to what you overcame to worship well, this is
Philadelphia, Love that is based upon a commonality of experiance.
And Agape-Love is unconditional, it can help others in any circumstance,
even if you never went through what they are.

As Galatians 5:13 said, we are called to serve one another. In Agape-Love!

So, desire to be a Spiritual person. Uproot any religiousity in your life,
and plant the seeds destined to produce Spirituality. And reap your reward
of eternal life here and now, and recieve a rich welcome into the Kingdom
of Heaven in the future!