In his book, “ God is Not a Christian and Other Provocations” , the renowned South African anti-apartheid hero, Archbishop Desmond Tutu opined, “ that the accidents of birth and geography determine to a very large extent to what faith we belong. The chances are very great that if you were born in Pakistan you are a Muslim, or a Hindu if you happened to be born in India, or a Shintoist if it is Japan, and a Christian if you were born in Italy. I don’t know what significant fact can be drawn from this — perhaps that we should not succumb too easily to the temptation to exclusiveness and dogmatic claims to a monopoly of the truth of our particular faith. You could so easily have been an adherent of the faith that you are now denigrating, but for the fact that you were born here rather than there.”
Desmond Tutu’s submission underscores the absolute truth that God does not belong to any religion neither did he invent anyone of them. Religion, in fact, is an invention of man. And just like every other systems fabricated by man, it is inherently flawed and deficient in fostering quality relationship between humanity and divinity.
The theology that you need to subscribe to a religion in order to have a relationship with God, your maker, is fallacious and deceptive. Religion has even completely estranged humanity from God. And until we tame the monster called religion, humanity may risk imminent annihilation.
I was born into a Christian family and for almost all through the early part of my life I practiced the Christian religion. At a point I became disenchanted with some of the ungodly conducts in the church, and this fueled my personal quest to seek for the truth about God and the person of Christ. My greatest discovery was that the Christian religion had not only misrepresented the personality of Christ but had also callously warped the essence of the gospel of salvation he brought to the world.
His message of love and redemption was turned into complicated religious dogmas and rituals. The latest degeneration of the gospel is the commercialization dimension promoted by the modern day Pentecostal ‘pastorpreneurs’- but that is a topic for another day. But suffice to say that Christ did not come to establish the Christian religion, he came to teach us the universal principles of God and his kingdom.
For many of us who are strong adherents of the Christian religion, it is important we re-examine our stance otherwise, the following statement may be His rebuke to us: “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness “….-Matthew 7:22-23
The only ‘religion’ he proposed to humanity was for us to“ worship God in spirit and in truth,” and not to carry the burden of religion. Hear him, ”But the time is coming–indeed it's here now–when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth”.- John 4 :23-24
The ‘truth’ in the statement that Christ made is that God did not invent any religion and He does not belong to any one of them. The truth is that God is a spirit and man is also a spirit that lives in a physical body. The spirit of man is actually an extension of the spirit of God. Because when God formed man from the dust of the earth, He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life- He released into man His own Spirit, and man became a ‘living soul’-Genesis 2:7
So if the spirit of man is linked to the Spirit of God, it means that the spirit of man has the nature of the Spirit of God, what the bible calls the ‘likeness of God’. So this presupposes that we can actually live like God on earth. As humans each time we allow the desires of His Spirit to dominate our lives, we express our godly nature . The manifestation of the desires of the spirit is called the fruit of the spirit.
The book of Galatians 5:22-23 (New International Version) says,
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law”
To be godly and to be called a child of God therefore, is to allow yourself to be led by the spirit of God. You are not a child of God because of your religious identity, you are a child of God because your life is governed by the Spirit of God, and you manifest the nature of God in your relationship with others. Romans 4 :14 “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
Every human on earth has the spirit of God in them. It does not matter the religion they profess, their race or colour. Everybody carries God- it is often secularly referred to as our ‘conscience’- the voice that nudges us to good deeds. It is the ‘moral compass’ that guides our steps through the treacherous path of evil.
Now to be spiritual essentially means to develop a conscious effort to discipline ourselves to obey the ‘voice of our conscience’ (which is the Spirit of God in us). This has nothing to do with your religion. It is just you training yourself to listen and obey the ‘voice of good’ in you.
For those of us that are Pentecostal Christians, being spiritual is not when you chant in gibberish language called ‘speaking in tongues’. Being spiritual is not also attained by the number of bible scriptures you can quote. Your spirituality will reflect by the fruit of love that you manifest in the conduct of your daily life. Matthew 7:16 says “by their fruit you shall know them……”
Finally, it important to also note that the opposite of being spiritual, is to be carnally minded. Carnality is when we allow our lives to be governed by the desires and cravings of the flesh. "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world" (1 John 2:16)
The bible warns in Romans, 8: 13
“For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live”
To many of us who indulge our lives in the pursuit of carnality and vanity. Take heed, you are treading the path to destruction. The late Steve Job, in his dying bed offered this advice, “ Material things lost can be found. But there is one thing that can never be found when it is lost — Life.”
Written by: Azemobor Gregory, The International Coordinator of Voice of Divine Truth Int’l Outreach, is a messenger of God and apostle of humanity
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