Is It Enough to be “Religious?”

Read: Acts 17:22-31

So Paul…said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious.” Acts 17:22

 

Is it enough to be “religious?” It is often said of people, “He or She is very religious,” and that is a compliment. But is being religious enough? There is a very dramatic answer to that question in the Scripture passage suggested for reading above. The Apostle Paul was visiting in the city of Athens, Greece, and as he walked along its streets he saw hundreds of statues of gods and goddesses and as many altars on which the “faithful” brought their sacrifices. All were symbols of pagan worship.

When he came to the part of the city where the students of art, literature, and philosophy were accustomed to gather, he ascended Mars Hill, and he began to speak: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To an unknown God.’”

With great skill and tact he then proceeded to tell them of the God who they can know, namely, the God of “every nation” who had revealed Himself in the life and death and resurrection of His Son. He pointed them away from their gods of silver, gold and precious metals to the God and Father of all people whose love embraces all. In other words, he preached the Gospel which God had commissioned him to proclaim.

That many understood what he was saying is evident from their reaction, for we are told that some laughed out loud. But Paul had been faithful to his trust. Merely being religious is not enough. The object of our worship must always be “the God and Father of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” who has called us to be His children through the operation of His Holy Spirit.

How about it? Are we merely “religious” —going through the motions prescribed by rituals, living lives that merely measure up to the requirements of respectability? Or are we really the children of God, trusting daily in His mercy revealed to us by Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer?

Prayer: Lord, let me never be content with mere “religion.” Rather, let my faith be rooted in Jesus Christ, my Lord, and let it show itself in a truly Christian life. Amen.

How has prayer helped you? How does your personal prayer time and communal prayer time in worship inform and feed you? Look for more stories of prayer in next week’s Monday Meditation.