How can our religion be futile? - Futility - TouchPoints

How can our religion be futile?

1 Kings 18:25-27Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “You go first, for there are many of you. Choose one of the bulls and prepare it and call on the name of your god. But do not set fire to the wood.” So they prepared one of the bulls and placed it on the altar. Then they called on the name of Baal all morning, shouting, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no reply of any kind. Then they danced wildly around the altar they had made. About noontime Elijah began mocking them. “You’ll have to shout louder,” he scoffed, “for surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or he is relieving himself. Or maybe he is away on a trip, or he is asleep and needs to be wakened!”

1 Samuel 12:21Don’t go back to worshiping worthless idols that cannot help or rescue you—they really are useless!

Psalm 31:6I hate those who worship worthless idols. I trust in the Lord.

Jeremiah 2:5This is what the Lord says: “What sin did your ancestors find in me that led them to stray so far? They worshiped foolish idols, only to become foolish themselves.”

Psalm 115:4-5Their idols are merely things of silver and gold, shaped by human hands. They cannot talk, though they have mouths, or see, though they have eyes!

Jeremiah 10:3-5, 8, 14-15Their ways are futile and foolish. They cut down a tree and carve an idol. They decorate it with gold and silver and then fasten it securely with hammer and nails so it won’t fall over. There stands their god like a helpless scarecrow in a garden! It cannot speak, and it needs to be carried because it cannot walk. Do not be afraid of such gods, for they can neither harm you nor do you any good . . . The wisest of people who worship idols are stupid and foolish. The things they worship are made of wood! . . . Compared to him, all people are foolish and have no knowledge at all! They make idols, but the idols will disgrace their makers, for they are frauds. They have no life or power in them. Idols are worthless; they are lies! The time is coming when they will all be destroyed.

Jeremiah 16:19Lord, you are my strength and fortress, my refuge in the day of trouble! Nations from around the world will come to you and say, “Our ancestors were foolish, for they worshiped worthless idols.”

Worshiping anything or anyone other than God is futile. Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship with the God who created us.

Isaiah 1:13The incense you bring me is a stench in my nostrils! Your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath day, and your special days for fasting—even your most pious meetings—are all sinful and false. I want nothing more to do with them.

Matthew 15:8-9Their worship is a farce, for they replace God’s commands with their own man-made teachings.

James 1:26If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are just fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.

Faithless religion is futile. If we truly believe in God, love him, and seek to worship him, our hearts and our actions should move in response. Religious language and ceremonies that fail to inspire genuine love and bedience are worthless in God’s sight. What is the point of going through the motions if we don’t believe enough to truly change our lives?

Colossians 2:20-23You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the evil powers of this world. So why do you keep on following rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle, don’t eat, don’t touch.” Such rules are mere human teaching about things that are gone as soon as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, humility, and severe bodily discipline. But they have no effect when it comes to conquering a person’s evil thoughts and desires.

Legalism is futile, because it emphasizes rules over relationship. When we spend more time trying to obey rules instead of nurturing our relationship with God, we miss the point and our faith begins to seem futile.

Isaiah 8:19-22So why are you trying to find out the future by consulting mediums and psychics? Do not listen to their whisperings and mutterings. Can the living find out the future from the dead? Why not ask your God?

Zechariah 10:2Household gods give false advice, fortune-tellers predict only lies, and interpreters of dreams pronounce comfortless falsehoods. So my people are wandering like lost sheep, without a shepherd to protect and guide them.

Trying to see the future through fortune-telling or the occult is futile, for only God controls the future.

Hebrews 4:2For this Good News—that God has prepared a place of rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t believe what God told them.

Matthew 7:26-27But anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will fall with a mighty crash.

Matthew 13:19-22The seed that fell on the hard path represents those who hear the Good News about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches the seed away from their hearts. The rocky soil represents those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But like young plants in such soil, their roots don’t go very deep. At first they get along fine, but they wilt as soon as they have problems or are persecuted because they believe the word. The thorny ground represents those who hear and accept the Good News, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares of this life and the lure of wealth, so no crop is produced.

James 1:22-24And remember, it is a message to obey, not just to listen to. If you don’t obey, you are only fooling yourself. For if you just listen and don’t obey, it is like looking at your face in a mirror but doing nothing to improve your appearance. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.

Hearing God’s Word without responding is futile. We have been given a great gift—the only way to true meaning and satisfaction. Don’t waste it!

John 15:5Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

1 Corinthians 3:12-15Now anyone who builds on that foundation may use gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But there is going to come a time of testing at the judgment day to see what kind of work each builder has done. Everyone’s work will be put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value. If the work survives the fire, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builders themselves will be saved, but like someone escaping through a wall of flames.

Christian work without God’s presence is futile—mere busyness. God is not here to bless whatever we choose to do. Instead, we are called to build and grow according to his direction and design. In that, we will be blessed.

James 2:20How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?

Faith without actions is futile, because it renders our faith superficial. Genuine faith produces a heart-felt response.