Daily Light from the Lighthouse
"Unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes
and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."
There is an enormous difference between the spiritual and the religious. Religion is based upon certain protocols or standards according to the views of those on the inside of that sect of beliefs. The spiritual is guided by the Spirit of God and adheres to the counsel of the Spirit as He ministers to each individual heart. Jesus came to man to challenge the ways of his religion by the work of His Spirit.
Religion is all about the external which can be seen by men, while the spiritual deals with the internal that can be seen only by God. When the two are compared, it is obvious that the higher standard of righteousness belongs to those who are living submissive to the will of God and not simply the external rules of man. Religion says that you should not murder your brother; Jesus said that if you hate your brother you are a murderer. Religion says that as long as you don't commit the act of adultery every thing is fine; Jesus said that if you look upon a woman with lust in your heart you are as guilty as if you had done the act. Religion places more weight on what we say than what we do; Jesus said that what you say is important before a God who hears all things. Religion says to do just enough to get by; Jesus said that we should strive to show our fellow man Christ in us. Religion says that you are only obligated to love those around you; Jesus says that you are obligated to love even your enemies.
The Scriptures tell us that the letter of the law kills, but the Spirit gives life. Most men and women choose religion, because they feel that they have a standard that they can measure up to. They are fine with someone telling them how to pray, how to eat, how to dress, when to worship, etc. By doing this they feel righteous and that is all that matters to them. The spiritual man seeks God and His will and desires to live only by those things that are given through His Word and by His Spirit into their hearts. Their behavior is not based upon the rules of man but by the righteousness of God.
There have been many throughout history that were deemed righteous according to the standards of man to only find later that there was wickedness and immorality in the secret places of their lives. God was never fooled; He knew what they were all along. We must remember that God never looks on the outward appearance of man but upon the deep places of the heart.
May you live according to the righteousness of Christ today!