The fundamental way for a Christian to be free from simple religious life is to live by God’s will and timing. There is Christianity and “religious Christianity”.

Although the church has no clear distinction of this in term and pronounment but practices in the church has profoundly reveal this variances.

Religious Christianity is the believe that Christianity is simply based on Christian religious activities. Christianity based on what Christian activities one does or does not do.

Majority of Christians are hooked to this believe, in fact, this is the way Christian faith is generally viewed in the contemporary church. The believe that what make someone a Christian is the fact that he or she simply perform some Christian activities.

This however, is not what God considers a Christian to be. It is 100% possible to be faithful to Christian activities and still not be a Christian. Jesus gave a clear answer to who a true Christian is this way in Matthew 7:21-23:

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.

To be a true Christian you must do the will of God. According to Jesus, it is not ones religious activities or church traditions whatsoever that makes one a child of God but doing the will of His Father in heaven.

Care must be taken on this, inasmuch as most Christians this days honour their Men of God and church tradition more than the Scriptures. And the church is apparently holding on to a different view from that of the Bible on this subject.

While the church believe that one is a Christian simply by religious activities and thus simply encourage church activities, God, on the other hand, considers only those who does His will.

The second reason why every care must be taken on this matter is that in verse 22-23 of Matthew chapter 7, Jesus made it clear that on the last day those who only lived by Christian activities as Christians and do not do the will of God will not make heaven. Worth reiterating, the only thing that qualifies one to be a child of God who will enter the kingdom of heaven is to do the will of God!

This has a connection with the subject of salvation. This text may look contradicting to the salvation subject of “simple believism”, teaching that presupposes that all that one needs to do is to simply believe in Jesus and then he is on his way to heaven, you can go back to your dirt or even worse dirt!

The scope of this discussion will not let me dive into that. But the point I want to make is that this very teaching of Jesus on who enters and who enters not the kingdom of heaven defiles the stand of the teaching of “simple believism” that has rampage the church today.

For you to know the will of God you must know God personally. General knowledge of God is not enough. God is always at work in the universe and he wants to partner with you in that. Your general knowledge of God cannot give you a knowledge of what God is doing at a given time.

For instance, the Bible enjoin us to love generally, but common sense and by wisdom we know that we cannot love everyone at a particular time. Therefore, it is by our union and partnership with God that we can know who God wants us to attend to lovingly at a particular point in time.

Another example is with the ministry of Jesus, while Jesus was on earth some so many sick people wanted Him to heal them but He could not heal them at a particular time humanly speaking, but then it was His father’s will that they should be healed. And so He allowed God to guide Him on who He should heal at a particular time.

There is a general will of God and a specific will of God. The will of God generally is that the universe should be good free from sin, crisis, suffering and death.

This general will of God is being challenge by sin and there is nothing God can do about it based on the order He has chosen to create the world in; He created man with a will and power to choice.

However, God is gradually bringing His general will through on earth by specific will at a particular point in time through people who seek to know what He is doing and avail themselves for that purpose.

One important thing we should note is that any prompting that we have to do anything that will please the Lord, God is the one who is right at work in or through us and so we should not take such quickening for granted or assume such is from ourselves. The book of Philippians 2:13 says:

for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

We are weak to do anything good, left to ourselves there is a great apathy for God seating deep down inside of us.
God does not expect us to respond to His quickening by simply plunging ourselves into work without finding out what He is doing and what he wants to do through us.

This is the way Jesus lived His life here on earth John7:16, 8:26, 14:10. Jesus had a well marked out religious customs of the Jews strongly held by the Pharisees and the Sadducees in His time but He despised there religious traditions and chose to do and follow only the will of His Father.

Similarly, we have no choice but to live as He did. This is the only way to be a child of God. We must be in Him and He in us, and we must know the will of God and do only that or else we are only doing the will of man that will in its best end with us in hell fire. Jesus imperatively say in John 15: 1-5 that:

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

God does not want us to work outside Him because He knows that we cannot. We are not called to minister alone, it’s a partnership with Him. The work of the ministry is done in and on Christ as the vine, God the Father does the dressing and pruning, that is, gives the strength and everything needed for the Job. The Holy Spirit provides the guidance and the direction and we do the execution.

The ministry is not left to us, we are simply the executing vessels that are only effective through total submission.

To find meaning, purpose or life in Christian life, you need not allow church traditions or emotion to peoples’ needs whatsoever control you but God.
A note on John 15:5-8 from Life Application Bible say it well:

Many people try to be good, honest people who do what is right. But Jesus says that the only way to live a truly good life is to stay close to him, like a branch attached to the vine. Apart from Christ our efforts are unfruitful… “When a vine produces  much fruit,” God is glorified, for daily he sent the sunshine and rain to make the crops grow, and constantly he nurtured each tiny plant and prepared it to blossom. What a moment of glory for the Lord of the harvest when the harvest is brought into the barns, mature and ready for use! He made it all happen!

This farming analogy shows how God is glorified when people come into right relationship with Him and begin to “produce much fruit” in their lives.

There is always a challenge of knowing what they will of God is at a given time. This is a very sensitive and delicate issue because sometimes we could see Jesus responding to people in need of His assistance in such a way we might be tempted to think insensitive to human plight, while at some other times, we could see Him responding in a way we may consider to be over reactive or emotional to peoples need.

These all depended on the leading of God. Once He knew God was working or leading Him to do certain thing He does it without hesitation.

What I am trying to say in essence is that, situations do not determine what God wants to do, circumstances do not control God such that He could change His will.

One of the ways to know God’s will is by following our hearts. When one is rooted in the word of God, his spirit is deep-seated on the fountain of God he can easily and always draw from subconsciously (Heb. 5:14).

This knowledge is enhanced by daily personal relationships and fellowship with God. People who have cultivated the habit of intimate fellowship with God tend to form a rhythm or attitude of life that is based on godliness from which they can live from.

To walk with God faithfully, we must know His seasons and timing or else we will work across His purposes. Working and living based on God’s will is to live in the light of God, while to live outside God’s will is to live in darkness. And to know God’s season and time and live in it is no small wisdom but to live headlong outside God’s timing is great foolishness.

It is not simple commitment to religious activities that matters but being religious at God’s will and timing. It is religious foolishness to be up with religious activities but insensitive to God’s will and timing.

So were the Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus’ days. They were so committed to religious activities such that they became blind to their religion and were insensitive to the fulfilment of the long awaited greatest hope of their religion ( The coming of the Messiah) in their very eyes.

It is highly catastrophic to be insensitive to God’s will and seasons! It is one thing to simply be religious and its another thing all together to be religious based on God’s purpose and my greatest worries is that the church of this generation has taken the former and she is mostly living across God’s purposes.