True religion is not merely a matter of food and drink, as we saw in verse 17. In other words, it does not please God if we care only about the desires of our bodies. Nor do other people approve of that kind of attitude. They consider it selfish and greedy.
Rather, right religion is when we serve God in our spirits (John 4:24). We can only do that in the power that comes from his Holy Spirit (8:4-5). God is completely good (James 1:13-17); his Spirit causes us not to live for our own selfish benefit (Galatians 5:16-21) but to do what is truly good (Galatians 5:22-23). In other words, we cannot find in ourselves the power to do what is truly good in this world. Rather, we need to receive that power from the Holy Spirit.
So, Christians need to have an attitude that depends completely on God (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). They need his power to live in the way that truly pleases him. They need to show in this world the kind of love that only comes from him (1 John 4:7-11). Without that kind of love, their best efforts achieve nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
However, with that power and that love, Christians can achieve things that are truly good (James 1:27). They overcome their selfish attitudes and they are genuinely able to help other people (Luke 10:28-37). Everyone who thinks in a right and proper manner approves of that kind of Christian behaviour. Even their enemies can see that their acts are good (12:14-21).
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© 2018, Keith Simons.