[forthright] Religious Veneers

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 20:39:41 -0200
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COLUMN: Heavenly Connections

Religious Veneers
by Tim Hall

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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