What a powerful time we had yesterday with Apostle Barbara. Over the course of the weekend, it seemed like I heard so many times (from our worship, conversation, teaching) about the Spirit of Religion. It’s been a while since I’ve done any teaching on this spirit, but there are usually reasons that things keep popping up, especially when it comes from a variety of sources. When things begin to repeat, we should take notice!
I want to encourage all of us not to give in to this spirit. This week, I had someone who lives out of town tell me “you can feel it when you drive into the city”. Have you ever lit a candle in your house and then after a while you don’t seem to smell it any longer? But, if you leave the house and return, there that aroma is again. That same principle works with other things as well. How many times have we taken a familiar route, time after time, only to realize that we no longer notice the things that are on that route, such as certain houses, signs, places of business, etc. Then one day, we notice a building or business that has been there for some time and we ask ourselves, “when was that built?” That’s the problem with familiarity.
The same thing works in the spirit realm when we become desensitized to spirits at work around us. Jesus told His disciples to beware of the yeast of Herod and the Pharisees. (Mark 8:15) We can become so used to seeing certain things at work that we no longer notice them at all. The Spirit of religion is like this. It will catch us unaware because we have become so accustomed to its mode of operation. But like yeast, it is slowly working in places that we don’t see, and as with a loaf of bread, we awake and see the results of it quietly working behind the scenes.
The spirit of religion is very dangerous. It will require us to do what God does not require. It focuses on the works of man rather than the Spirit of God. It will require works of the flesh rather than a moving of the Spirit and will desire to squash or quench what the Holy Spirit is doing. It will cause offense when things don’t go a certain way and it makes us very self-oriented. It will also demand that we stick to the old lifeless ways of doing things just because we have become comfortable in those old patterns or habits. That spirit takes the excitement out of our faith and will cause us to blame everyone else for our own lack of enthusiasm because we have allowed ourselves to fall into the rut of the spirit of religion.
Jesus battled this spirit while He was here on earth. John’s gospel tells us that even though Jesus performed many signs, people still did not believe in Him (John 12:37). He just didn’t fit their “mold” of religion. They were satisfied with the same old lifeless routines.
Let’s not allow this to overtake us. We are Spirit filled Believers and we have the authority to come against this spirit in our lives and in our city. This spirit can affect our families and especially our children. Let’s not allow it and let’s follow what God wants to do in our midst. It’s exciting to serve God if we are moving with Him! But God is not found in lifeless ritual. God is found as we pursue relationship with Him and seek to move as He moves. Luke tells us in Acts 17:28 that we are to “live and move and have our being in Him.” This kind of relationship is exciting and will keep us out of the rut of the religious spirit.