Before Paul was able to stand against the idol worship and religion of the Athenians, he had to stand against the idol worship and religion in his own life (Philippians 3:4–11). We must make sure that as we stand up for our faith that our hearts are continually examined.
Here are some questions to consider as you examine your life.
– As I carefully examine my heart, do I find Christ as the object of my worship, or do I find a crowded altar?
– As I look carefully into my heart, do I see more time spent on sacrifices (going through religious motions) than on obedience out of love?
– Do I expend more energy toward outward appearances than inward change?
– Do I spend more time reading the Bible to find fault with others rather than to correct myself?
– Do I enjoy hearing the Word much more than doing the Word?
– Where do I really spend my time, money, and energy?
When I carefully examine my life, I see that religion sometimes creeps in to try to snuff out my dynamic relationship with Jesus. I must continuously examine my life because “everything exposed to the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible” (Ephesians 5:13–14). I know that as I share my faith with others I am most effective when I share from the overflow of my relationship with Jesus. I know that sharing from that kind of overflow is impossible when I am bound down by religion or idol worship. My heart must be fully devoted to Him at all times so that the world might clearly see the One in whom I have such incredible hope!