Abide in Me….” (John 15:4).
There are three levels of engagement with God; Come, Follow and Abide. At conversion, people come and, in most cases, that is where they remain. Converts typically find a Church to join and, in the modern western world, Churches are filled with those who have come, and done no more.
They may follow, but they are following men, since in the denominational Church, it is men who speak and they speak the doctrines of men based upon the logos of God, which amounts to “the traditions of the elders”. But what they are meant to hear and follow is the One speaking from heaven and what He is speaking is the rhema¸ “the word proceeding from the mouth of God” by which we are meant to live.
Some of the perversions that turn people off Christianity derive from a disconnect with the world in which we live and an excessive devotion to “appearances”, as opposed to reality; such things as refusing to vaccinate children or take them to doctors when they are ill, on the grounds of relying upon God alone; wearing clothing that is irrelevant in today’s world and belonging to a different era, on the grounds of modesty; refusing to cut hair and many similar things for which a precedent can be found in the scriptures but which, nevertheless, are totally carnal in those who are practicing them today. Although they are done in the name of God they don’t have their origins in God Himself, but in man, in a zeal that is misplaced by focussing on external appearances.
This betrays an obsession with the external, with how one appears to others; God, on the other hand, is concerned with the internal, how one appears to Him. This is not faith in God, but faith in self. Churches are full of such people who compete with each other in exhibiting these marks of “holiness”, as they think.