Religious Veneers

Religion is weak when separated from true faith and godliness.
Years ago we purchased an entertainment center for our den. We were on a tight budget so our choices were few. We were excited to find a piece that looked nice, yet was affordable.
The tradeoff, of course, was that we purchased a pressed-wood product. There was a veneer of wood on the surface that made it look nice, but the shelves were not sturdy. After a few months, the weight of the television caused the shelves to sag, and it was no longer an attractive piece of furniture.
People sometimes settle for a veneer of faith. It’s much easier on their “budget” (the amount of time and energy invested). It also allows them to enjoy more of the world’s pleasures than actually having genuine faith. At first glance, such people appear to be model Christians.
Paul warned Timothy about this type of sham: “For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God …” (2 Timothy 3:2-4, NKJV).
“Wait a minute!” someone will interrupt. “I thought you were talking about shallow Christians. The persons described in the passage just quoted are obviously hardened sinners.” Not so. Hear what Paul said in the next verse: “… having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (2 Timothy 3:5). According to Paul, the people described in verses 2-4 portray themselves as Christians. But because they will not let the power of godliness work in their lives, the end result is a faith that sags badly under the weight of the world.
Godliness can be a powerful force in person’s life. Real wood makes for sturdy shelves. But when religious veneers are substituted for genuine faith, expect a life that bears little resemblance to true Christianity.
“They will appear to have a godly life, but they will not let its power change them. Stay away from such people.” (2 Timothy 3:5, God’s Word Translation)

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