There’s a lie that can be seen in nearly every church. It says that Jesus’s blood wasn’t enough, and that sickness is the will of the Father. It tells the lost that they have to do x, y, and z to be saved, and that once you are saved, you are still just a sinner…a worm that is forever powerless against the forces of evil. This lie drains the very foundation of the Christian faith and turns it into “just another religion.” Empty and void of the very heart of the Father, Our God. What do we call this lie? It is the religious spirit.
A simple definition of the religious spirit is that it is “form without power.” Religion without relationship. Many of us have fallen into this lie at least once in our lives, and many more are still captured by it. Satan has been particularly successful in spreading this particular lie to the churches, why? because it easily disguises itself in truth and good intentions. One who is swayed by this spirit rests heavily in the Old Testament, which yes, had its place and time in our holy book, however, it is not the end of our story, in fact, it’s only the beginning!
There is a reason Christians today do not practice many of the Old Testament laws and that is because we live under a new covenant, the covenant of Jesus…He is the fulfillment of the law. Through His sacrifice we no longer are held to the old covenant in which we had to sacrifice animals to cover our sins, and follow many other decrees in order to be in right standing with God..we were sons and daughters of Adam then, bound by the original sin. Through Christ we are now sons and daughters of God….connected to Him as we were before the fall of mankind.
Can we sin? Yes, however if you believe in Jesus Christ and are born again you are a new creation entirely..righteousness should be our natural response in place of our old self and its sinful desires. As new creations sin only occurs when we forget who we are and whose we are. For example, under the lie of the religious spirit, one is still labeled a sinner even after being saved, as we have all heard the phrase, “I’m just a sinner saved by grace.” This statement may sound innocent, as it comes from our intention to be humble…however the act of being “saved by grace” transforms us from sinner to saint…when we continue to call ourselves sinners after we are born again we eventually end up sinning by faith! In other words we tell ourselves, as we have always been=so we will always be. What a dangerous lie.
For more read: 1 John 3:9, 2 Corinthians 5:16-17
The power of the Holy Spirit has also been greatly down-played because of the religious spirit. Again, the religious spirit holds us to the Old Covenant way…which was well before the introduction of the Holy Spirit and His Spiritual Gifts after the resurrection of Jesus. The churches have forgotten that Jesus didn’t just die for our sins, He died so that He could bring the Holy Spirit and unleash heaven on earth! We are not just supposed to hold the fort down until Christ’s return..we are supposed to be warriors and destroy the works of the devil wherever we go!..Jesus even went as far as to say that it was better that He left so that we could receive the Holy Spirit and do even greater works than He did. Unfortunately, in a religious spirit filled church, the spiritual gifts and the works of the Holy Spirit are almost non-existent. He is a gentleman… only using those who are willing to be used, He works under our agreement with Him and His Presence. Therefore, in churches that choose to ignore His existence, His Presence fails to rest upon.
It is sad that many children are not being brought up in power and in the truth of their identity. I’ve seen an entirely different Jesus taught to children, one that can be likened to Santa Claus, and the same can be said of the Holy Spirit. He is taught as some mystical thing that you receive when you believe in Jesus, and that’s if He is even mentioned at all. I remember growing up thinking that Jesus and the Holy Spirit were the same beings. When I was water baptized I was asked if I wanted “Jesus” in my heart. I am not saying that this is particularly wrong…however I am saying that it doesn’t make sense for Jesus to have said “It’s good that I go” if he wasn’t really going to go at all. Especially when He proceeded to talk about the Holy Spirit as a separate entity, “…I will ask the Father and he will give you another helper, who will be with you forever..”(John 14:15).
On a sidenote; I understand that the Trinity is a very confusing topic, I mean how can three separate beings be considered one? I see it as like a marriage, my husband and I, though separate, are one flesh. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are each living beings in absolute agreement and oneness with each other. It is the closest level of love and intimacy in existence. That is why we cannot fathom it.
It is that same longing for love and intimacy that is left missing in churches won over by the lies of satan. The religious spirit tells us that God’s love can only be bought through good works…this leads to people comparing their “good works” to others and feeling constantly unworthy and not good enough. Christians also take it as far as to believing that God is angry with them when they don’t pray or read their Bibles a certain amount each day. Those beliefs and many more lead to us believing in a God that is filled with nothing but jealous anger and barely controlled rage towards His creation. The fear of God is driven hard at the pulpit every Sunday, bringing many to repentance out of fear of punishment instead of longing for relationship. It is hardly the “friendship” that God longed to have with us!
Have we really forgotten that God is a sentient being, that throughout the Bible He has displayed a huge array of emotions, and that through sacrificing His Son, He displayed a love that greatly exceeds our understanding. His Son was enough! He covered all our sin and not only gave us the Holy Spirit, but power to do what He had started and conquer the world from satan’s grasp. We are all called to heal the sick, raise the dead, and transform the world through heavenly encounters of God’s love for mankind. All my life I believed that people were ill because it was God’s will or some generational curse. In believing that I told Jesus that His sacrifice wasn’t enough, when in fact He paid for it all…He took our place of Judgement and suffered the consequences of our sin…how could a loving Father curse His children with ailments to teach them a lesson? It is satan that comes to steal and destroy NOT God.
“Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:9-11)
It is time the spirit of religion is unveiled from its hiding place in our churches, hearts, and minds. We cannot afford to live any longer under a powerless covenant when we have a new covenant of power and authority, bought by the blood of Jesus Christ, to walk into. It is through heavenly encounters, and being filled with the love of God that people come to true repentance and salvation. The world is longing for a loving Father, the religious spirit has turned many lost souls away from the church and from God. We need to say yes again to the workings of the Holy Spirit, which transcend the understandings of the mind. We need to look again to the truth of Jesus Christ, gentle yet zealous for the kingdom,…the veil has been torn! Religious spirit…your cover is blown!
“And as you go, preach, saying, ‘the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:7-8)