Religious Spirit 2

This is a second part of a post I started recently.  In the interest of brevity, I am putting this up in several posts, as I know time to read a few thousand words often doesn’t come in one sitting.  If you haven’t read the first post, and would like to, which may be helpful,  click here.  As I mentioned in the first post, this post dares to tackle a subject that is sensitive, and, for many, likely offensive.  I don’t write for the purposed of offense, but rather in the interest of promoting freedom from the influence of religious spirits.  With that said, I encourage you to consider what I am saying before formulating a response.  Maybe this can help you.  What I have learned, and am learning, has come with significant cost to me personally.  My hope is that it can help you avoid paying too much for the wisdom of experience.
Trespassers

Calling God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit by Hebrew names, what’s the deal here? Does it make the Sovereign more sovereign?  Does it make us sound like we have our act together, or are super spiritual?  Is Hebrew the tongues of men, or of angels?

Do you remember the old Jehovah’s witness trick, when they came to your door?  It goes something like this, “Did you know God has a name?”  Special knowledge and special revelation that claims to displace a life of devotion and obedience in it’s import is at the very least a costly and significant distraction.  So many are taken captive by such things, arguing over the meaning of words and claiming special insight.  These things destroy our focus on what is important, what is central, tho they can make a big show of religion.  They also seek to rob of us the fellowship of the Spirit by making fellowship something that requires agreement to certain interpretations of teachings, and this is NO WAY limited to what we know today as cults, whether Mormon, so called Jehovah’s Witnesses, or others.  It is happening to us from within, and without, as they say in the King James Version.

borderlandUnresolved guilt can make us susceptible to a religious spirit – guilty women, laden down with sins are at risk for religious con men, according to the New Testament, tho I don’t think this is limited only to women.  We want to compensate for our sins in some way that makes us feel better about ourselves, instead of submitting ourselves to the only thing that will cleanse our sin and reform our fallen state; the blood of Jesus cleanses us, and fellowship of Jesus remakes us.  There are ways to feel better about our guilt apart from confessing and turning from our sin, but they assuage our consciences without cleansing us.  Only repentance before God facilitates our cleansing, and man will resort to all sorts of creativity to avoid confessing his sin and admitting his need for God’s grace.

Zeal that is without instruction can increase our susceptibility to a religious spirit.  “They have zeal for God, but not according to knowledge,” said Paul.  This can cause us to be impatient and intolerant with others who don’t agree with us or are of a different stripe than we are.  This same zeal can cause us to take such issue with others who will not conform to our perspective that we seek to hurt them, whether their reputation or physically.  In the last days, we know that those who kill us will think they are doing God a service.  This will not be reserved to Islam alone.

Christian Icon of Abel

Is the story of Cain and Abel also an example of this?  If so, we see how far back this goes, as this is the story of the first two brothers on the earth.  Their story was all about sacrifice to God, with one sacrifice being accepted and the other rejected.  Bear in mind, God did not reject Cain, but rather his sacrifice.  The Lord appealed to Cain to make an acceptable sacrifice and not let rejection, anger and sin overcome him.  Cain, unfortunately, did not prevail.  Do you remember Jesus’ comment to the Pharisees that they were guilty of all the righteous blood spilled on the earth, from Abel forward?  Was he speaking of the Pharisees or what they were representative of by their lives and actions?  The Pharisees were not around when Abel was slain…..

We can be speaking words that seem to be God inspired while under the control of a dark influence, as was the young girl who followed Paul and Silas around in Acts 16.  Have you seen this?  Demons tend to react when they recognize authority, and these reactions can come out in various ways, one of which is feigned submission.  Quick question:  Was Paul grieved to the point of casting the spirit of divination out of this young girl because of what she was saying, or for the fact that she was bound?

So much is missing in our lives, and we try to fill it up with stuff other than God.  We want to be more attractive, we want to have a fuller personality, we want to be someone we aren’t.  Much of the time this is because our view of God is so skewed that we don’t believe He is trustworthy to fill us up in our emptiness or lack.  Everything else fills the void.  For Christians, this can often be a religious spirit.  We don’t want to look bad in front of our friends.

For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison. – CS Lewis

The woman rides the beast…

Jezebel, in the Bible, is a type of mature expression of the religious spirit, also known as the whore of Babylon.  While we all cringe at the mention of this insidious foe of Christ and his cross, we shouldn’t consider ourselves (in ourselves) above her seduction.  Even one of the seven churches of Revelation was corrected on this basis – you tolerate Jezebel, and allow her to influence my people.  This is truly said of the many major movements and streams in Christianity today, as well.  We tolerate a religious spirit that serves to seduce us away from the Lord and His centrality.  Religion makes our lives about something other than Jesus, often, all in the name of Jesus.  I believe this is why Paul said that he determined to know nothing, among some, except Jesus, and Him crucified.  Knowledge about the One we are learning about can obscure the One Himself, and it often does.

Lord, help us be free of such seductions that lead our hearts into unfaithfulness toward You, trusting in other things.

 

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