My sister is trying to quit smoking. She's been at for about four months. She's using an electronic cigarette where you can reduce the amount of nicotine gradually until you are basically down to water vapor. That's the point she's at now. The only thing left to conquer is the feel and the gestures of smoking a cigarette. She's getting none of the tar, nicotine and whatever else they add into the tobacco. The electronic cigarette has the shape and feel of a real one but the resemblance stops there.
I was thinking about some people's religion. It's like that electronic cigarette with very little truth or Holy Spirit power. Some of it is totally devoid of truth and the Spirit. It's a powerless and anemic religion with the outer trappings or appearance of true religion but there is no essence of biblical Christianity. II Timothy 3: 5 speaks of men who hold to a form of religion although they deny its power. Ryrie says of this verse: "Having the outer semblance of it without its spiritual dynamic." I've grateful that the electronic cigarette has helped my sister to quit her smoking habit. It is a deadly one for sure. The less the nicotine and tar in the electronic cigarette the better it is for you. The reverse is true with religion. The mere outer appearance of religion is not good for you. In fact a form of godliness without the true power of the Holy Spirit is deadly--eternally so.