Showroom Religion

While traveling one weekend, a friend invited me to stay with him and his wife. They lived in a very beautiful home in one of the “large home” regions of that city. Following a tour of the home, I decided to freshen up before dinner in the guest bathroom.

Have you ever been in one of those bathrooms that was so beautiful, you weren't quite sure what to do with yourself?

Atop the rich marble counter was a large silk floral arrangement. Scattered about was an array of antique pictures, a few candles, a tall, slender, and dimply-lit lamp, a frosted glass fragrance mister, and a fancy tissue dispenser and counterpart hand mirror.

Near the sink was an ornate pedestal-style soap dish with a harmonizing blend of beautifully foil-wrapped individual soaps (Was I supposed to actually use one?). A complementary towel ring was close by, holding an ultra-plush crewel lace edged towel and matching washcloth. (Was I supposed to use those?) I turned around to find a matching bath towel perfectly draped over the oil-rubbed bronze towel rack.

With no room on the counter to place my travel bag, I set it on the floor . . .
 . . . wet my hands and I dried them on my jeans. 

We live in a world where appearance is everything. We spend a great deal of money on items that really serve no other purpose than to look pretty. I have several of those in my own home. I suppose it’s really harmless when we are talking about things like home and bathroom décor, but in matters of our personal faith, similar observations may apply.

It is possible to maintain a showy outward appearance of religion, but in our heart, find very little place for Christ. The day-to-day dealings, however, will be the truth-revealing litmus test for those bearing the faux-finish of empty religiosity void of any semblance of Christ. Apostle Paul described such people when he spoke about godlessness in the last days: 

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3:2-5). 

Paul’s provocative adjective-laden catalog of self-indulgent debauchery describes a variety of those who appear to “have a form of godliness”, but as they say, “the proof is in the pudding.”  Personal character, conduct, temperament, and affections always expose the truth beneath the outer façade.

To “deny the power” is to deny the work of Christ, the holiness of the Father, and the power of the Holy Spirit. In such, there is no evidence of real affinity for God, but rather only a passive acknowledgement of His existence.

True godliness is born out of the one whose heart beats for God. 

Their life is a testimony of daily walking with Christ, practicing self-control, holiness, genuine love for others, as well as godly conviction. When godliness is present, there is personal restraint, tenderness for the things of God, and a willingness to conform to the doctrines of Christ. Sin will be unbearably heart wrenching rather than satisfyingly pleasurable.

To bear a “form of godliness” may fool a few, but benefits no one, especially the bearer. Such life is powerless, and even worse; it is void of the redeeming quality of Jesus Christ. If this describes you, turn now and surrender your life to Christ.

But to you, child of God, be sober and clear-headed in all things, consider persecution as proof that you are doing the work of an evangelist and fulfill the ministry to which God called you.” 

Father God, You are so holy! There is none like You. Thank you Lord, for Your grace that enables us to become a child of God. Pierce the heart that has taken Your Word for granted, bearing only a “form of godliness.” Call them to true righteousness through genuine and surrendered faith in Christ. In Jesus’ name, we pray, amen.