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Religiosity - What is it?

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"Religiosity" is a term used to refer to excessive involvement in religion or religious activity. Such involvement goes beyond the norm for a person of a similar faith and is often driven more by individual beliefs than the content of the actual religion. Though a bit different, legalism is somewhat akin to religiosity.

Both Christians and non-Christians use the term "religiosity" to refer to those who have replaced their God with their religion. In Christianity, religiosity occurs when people focus on church activity, rules (which often go beyond actual biblical commands), tradition, and pet doctrines rather than on relationship with God. Religiosity is characterized by a lack of grace, love, and true enjoyment of life. Religiosity for Christians is neither becoming nor appropriate. We are called to follow Christ, not promote a religion.

So what can Christians do to avoid religiosity? It is a matter of heart. Church activity, obedience to God's commands, traditions, and doctrinal discussions are not wrong. The issue is when these things take the place of God in our lives. When our motivation to obey or to be involved in religious activity is to look good to others (Matthew 6:1) or to earn our salvation, rather than to love God and bless Him, we have bought into religiosity. What Christians need to do is remember the truth of the Gospel—that we are sinners saved by grace into a life-giving relationship with our Creator (Ephesians 2:8-10; John 10:10). Then we need to engage with God wholeheartedly (Mark 12:30). Following Christ is not about adding another activity to our lives; He changes us completely, makes us new (2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 1:3). We don't just become Christians, we become children of God (1 John 3:1-2; Romans 8:14-17).

Religiosity is about making a religion one's God. Following Christ is about honoring Him as our God.

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