Religion finds people acting on their flesh when they allow themselves to read a passage and then act it out without the moving of the Holy Spirit.
I give you this example: A man is lying in the gutters. You see him there and know that the Lord expects benevolence of you as well as it is in your heart to do. You've read the scriptures to love thy neighbor as thy self and not to send your neighbor away empty if you have it to give, and so you think on those verses. You decide you're going to give the man some money but something is tugging at you and you second guess the gesture. Without a whisper to the Lord or an inquiry to Him as to why you feel like you shouldn't give the man the money, you begin to reach for the $5 you have but then decide, "no..I'm giving him the $20." The tugging gets stronger and now you're sure there's something telling you not to give him that $20, just the $5. Nobody would ever second guess such a thing unless they're selfish or greedy, right? Only a good person would choose to give more instead of less, right? Did you ask God to just give you some clarity and guide you to what the right thing to do is?
Let us hear the conclusion of the matter: You've decided to give the man the $20, despite the tugging at your heart and the strong feeling that you should only give him the $5. For a brief second you contemplate why you've brushed aside the feelings and you quickly rationalize it with these 3 words, "The Bible says..." and that's all the explanation you feel you need to give yourself. You then hand the man the $20, which he happily accepts, and you part ways. You continue on your journey feeling 50% right and somehow 50% wrong but you shrug it off. Within a span of time you have to return via the direction you came in and in so doing, hope to see the man gone because you happen to know that he can get a bed at the mission on the corner for $5. Instead, you approach the area where you left him to see an ambulance and officers and a crowd of people forming. You walk up to a bystander and inquire as to what the commotion is all about. "Some homeless man stumbled out of the bar across the street and fell into the path of a big truck," he says. Instantly your heart sinks. Without another word, you make your way closer to the accident scene and sure enough, it's him, the man you gave the $20 to.
Here's the lesson God taught me using this exact same story and scenario, which He wrote on my heart years ago. He has never allowed me to lose it's meaning: When the man chose the $20 over the $5 while snubbing the Holy Spirit's urging not to, he sealed the man's fate. What He didn't know about the man were the things God knew, and what God knew was that he would take the money given to him and drink it up. But if the man only had $5, he wouldn't have had enough to get as drunk as he prefers and so would have chosen to take the $5 and go find a bed for the night. Also, at the mission they serve a message of Christ with breakfast so the man would have heard a salvation message the next morning. All God needed from His servant here was that his act of benevolence not be based on scripture alone nor what the man's flesh wanted to do, but rather on a willing heart combined with the knowledge of scripture. Most importantly however is that the Holy Spirit was the power behind it all. He was the guiding force but the man shrugged Him off because his flesh and his belief in the scriptures assured him in his mind (not his heart) that he was doing the right thing. He had read it and he thought it and therefore, he did it.
What's the moral of this story my friends?