Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven
So, as with all things that I take pleasure in analysing and looking deeply into (and maybe abandon halfway through it getting formed) this started with a sentence a preacher in church said. The sentence (well sentences really) were, and I am paraphrasing what he said here, “Spirituality and religion are not the same thing. If you are not careful your religion can get in the way of your spiritual life.” And that really blew my mind (also part way through this I realised that this is the second post I have made about Christianity as a Christian and both of them seem to be in a negative light).
This sentence got me thinking about things, both in church and out of the church, but the first thing that came to my mind was man pleasing in the church. I mean the whole point of Christianity (I am using Christianity because I am a Christian so me going after my people is okay and going after other religions when you aren’t a part of that can lead to a bunch of misconceptions) is that you are building a relationship with God and Christ through reading the bible and prayer and all that things. Your religion is supposed to be a way for you to practice your spirituality. Religion is the group and spirituality is personal.
The point of religion (in my admittedly probably wrong but might be right views on the world) is that there are many people who have gone through the journeys you are just starting so the doctrine of the church you are in is meant to help you grow more spiritual. You know helping you with cutting off the meat and going further in your journey. Having steps to help you get better. This is good and everything but there could come a time (after thinking about it and all the stories I heard this might be more true than not) when people instead of following the doctrine to become more spiritual they instead follow the doctrine to follow the doctrine.
They stop thinking about the journey that they are going on spiritually and start focusing on which parts of their church doctrine that they have gone through and which part they have to go through. When they do things in church it is not about giving to God but rather about whether or not the pastor and the congregation can see them (so, me putting that bible verse in the start was actually for a good reason). Their whole thing is in this world not looking past this world.
They don’t have faith in their faith, they want the gratification in this world because they don’t have the assurance that the spirituality that they are building up.
Now the other part of the thing that came in my mind (it was a little mind spark that I nurtured and made into a full-blown thought) was that this concept doesn’t just happen with church, but in other places in life. This can be a result in your spiritual journey and growth, something that is supposed to be a profound and deep emotional journey, and makes it feel as monotonous as going to school and studying to pass a test.
That is something that I can’t wrap my had around. What is the point of starting this journey if this is just a series of steps that you feel obliged to go through? What is the point of doing this farse if you don’t have anything else to do beyond the act?
I mean for those who are doing this for the money that makes sense, but for those who aren’t getting money out of it. For those who are doing this not for the money, not for a crowd of adoring masses, but are doing this for the around 100 – 200 people that will see them, the 10 – 15 people that will care what you are doing. Why are doing this?
I feel that this is a bad way to live your life and this is just making you have hollow satisfaction to please those that you shouldn’t.
So, to wrap this up. Spirituality is a journey that you go through to make yourself reach a point in which you are happy, at peace or at a point that you are comfortably growing. Religion is the doctrine that is to help you grow. If the doctrine of your religion is hampering your spiritual growth, you should be afraid to leave it. I AM NOT ADVOCATING FOR ATHEISM. Just don’t be gullible.