This forum is entitled "Maturing in Christ". I can't think of any greater hindrance to maturity than religious bondage! In a sense, this is worse than outright sin because it comes packaged with the idea that we're doing everything right! The Bible calls this "twilight" (Prov 7:9). There's just enough light to pacify us and "get us by"; yet just enough darkness to hold us back. How scary!
The question is this: Are we merely observing true Christianity from a pew, or do we actively participate in seeking the will and purposes of God in the earth? There's a big difference.
True Christianity is not to be observed from a distance, rather, it's to be experienced via immersion! It's only when we are fully immersed and dedicated to the Lord Jesus that His living water can begin to flow from OUR bellies (John 7:38). This has been the greatest detriment to our faith: men see men with no substance! Men see believers in speech, but absent and void of any real living water. God help us. "A true witness delivereth souls" (Prov 14:25).
I want to share something to shed some light on the effects of mere "Christian observation":
In Matthew 26, we find a most disturbing scenario! Jesus has just been captured. He now is beaten, rejected and bound (Jn 18:12). Observe:
Matt 26:57-58, 69-75 "And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest's palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end... Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly."
Can we notice what has happened here? Jesus is in the most "religious" place of the day, the house of the High Priest. But he's bound and beaten! Not only that, His followers are found "afar off" and denying Him! Does this sound like a church setting to you?! We hope not. Unfortunately, this same event happens all the time.
Are we quenching (stifling) the Holy Spirit? If so, Jesus is bound (1 Thess 5:19; Eph 4:30). Are we living in sin? If so, Jesus' beating and death for you is in vain (1 Cor 15:2). Are we being true witnesses? If not, we, like Peter, are following from "afar off" and denying Him before men.
Jesus may very well be present in the High Priest's house, but He isn't free to move and minister to people. He has been abused and mistreated, and His followers are shallow and fleeting. This is the epitome of spiritual Babylon!
"And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her [Babylon the great], my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins..." (Rev 18:4).