The word of God says we can recognize a tree by the fruit that it bears (Matthew 12:33-37).
Many times we get hurt in the Christian world due to opinions of others or the expectations of others of what they think we should be, do or say. Communication is not the followed protocol therefore it becomes easy to express your viewpoint to others, hurting the one not present in the aftermath. Pastors and other leaders are the target. I have found through research it is the “religious spirit” in work and not always the unlearned new believer that causes the hurt.
The aftermath of a religious spirit is like a wave of bitterness with a ripple effect that prevents many people from being all they can be in Christ or even turning people the other way and not serving God at all. The taste of blood from a “preacher did them wrong” can sometimes be irreversible for years until their heart melts and walls are torn down for healing all because a religious spirit pukes on a believer their opinion.
Family bonds within a church community works with communication. If a brother offends you as the Word tells us, go to him or her and talk about the offense to see if you are “correct” in your own mind versus a sin. Most of the time it is an opinion of what is believed it should be versus the latter. Religion and relationship don’t get along, and this is why religious spirits will work diligently to hinder true meaningful relationships between God and His children.
A religious spirit is a demon that wages war against the grace of God in our lives and acceptance of Jesus’ work as. When ritual controls our relationships this is Religion. Ritual minus relationship equals religion. The spirit of religion is an agent of Satan assigned to prevent change and to maintain the status quo by using religious devices.The Pharisees were obvious examples of people who have religious spirits although we would never compare our own behavior to them, a religious spirit is very destructive to our intimate relationships with God.
Religious spirits are more interested in judgment than forgiveness and grace
Religious spirits can manifest in different ways for different people.
It is important to understand that to be influenced does not mean to be possessed, but rather simply means to be:
HERE IS A LITTLE TEST TO SEE IF YOU HAVE BEEN INFLUENCED BY A SPIRIT OF RELIGION: CHECK ALL THAT APPLY
Do you listen with a critical ear rather than an open heart
Do you have a tendency to see your primary mission as tearing down what you believe is wrong verses seeing the person’s Godly fruit or Christian walk
Do you feel as though it is your mission to point out or tear down or express your opinion to others when you think something is wrong instead of going to the source
Are you more inclined to see what is wrong with churches rather than what is right and feel the need to “fix” the issues you think is wrong
Do you use gossip and slander to assassinate other peoples’ character and may even use violence to prove your point or even be suspicious of others motives
Do you have a sense that you are closer to God than other people
Do you ever feel like you can never be good enough
You perform Christian duties but have no passion or hunger for God
Do you take pride in your spiritual routine of prayer and other ministries in which you feel you are more qualified to lead than other people or groups and maybe feel as though you have the best team or leadership
Do you hold a grudge against someone who did you wrong
Interested in seeing somebody pay or be punished for their wrongdoing or their past instead of seeing them repent and receive forgiveness and grace from God
Do you reject progress or refuse to embrace change, therefore buck the system, disagree with your leaders or new ministries in the church
Do you see yourself following certain rules, or regulations regarding the outward man, in order to be in right standing with God. This would include dressing a certain way, legalism, working or earning your salvation
Judging people by their appearance or overreact to carnality or immaturity of the church
Do you feel the need of having recognition and titles in the church world or receive identity in the things in attempt to do for God and church
Do you make a big deal about the doctrines accumulated through head knowledge
Do you use emotionalism as a substitute for the work of the holy spirit or if emotion isn’t expressed believe the Holy Spirit is being hindered
Do you appear righteous but inside filled with anger, resentment and envy
Do you believe you are on the cutting edge of what God is doing and closer to God than your leaders or friends
Are you unable to take rebuke or have a philosophy that you only listen to God
Do you feel an overwhelming guilt you couldn’t ever be good enough
Do you glory more in what God has done in the past rather than in what God is doing in the present or use the words for God to move we must do this as we did back then
D0 you ever feel as though you are not saved, doubt God
THE COUNTERFEIT GIFT OF DISCERNMENT
A religious spirit gives birth to a counterfeit gift of discernment of spirits. This counterfeit gift thrives on seeing what is wrong with others rather than seeing what God is doing to help them along. If you checked on the self-test, you tend to have a counterfeit gift of discernment. Its wisdom is rooted in the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and thought the truth may be accurate; it is ministered in a spirit that kills. Suspicion, which is motivated by rejection, territorial preservation or general insecurity, causes this counterfeit gift. However the true gift of discernment can only function with love. In 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, Paul warns them about those who minister in a religious spirit that they try to place a yoke of legalism on the believers. Religions that are based on works will tend to become violent easily, especially when confronted with those who live by faith. This includes “Christian Religions” where a doctrine of works has supplanted the cross of Christ. Those who are driven by religious spirits may try to destroy the true Christian by onslaughts of slander.
THE SPIRIT OF JEZEBEL
The Spirit of Jezebel is a combination of the religious spirit and the spirit of witchcraft that is the spirit of manipulation and control. This spirit is often found in deeply wounded people. Every trial in our lives will either make us bitter or better, and the cross will heal every spiritual wound if we will turn to it. Those who are deeply wounded who do not go to the cross can open themselves up to this evil spirit. The Jezebel spirit is one of the enemy’s most potent forms of the religious spirit that seeks to keep the church and the world from being prepared for the Lord. This spirit attacks the prophetic ministry through which the Lord wants to give timely, strategic direction to His people. Jezebel knows that by removing the true prophets, the people will be vulnerable to her false prophets, which always leads to idolatry and spiritual adultery. When there is a void of the true prophetic word, the people will be much more prone to the deception of the enemy. A religious spirit produces religious pride so that God will not communicate with those who are proud. In Matthew 15:14, Jesus called the religious leaders of the day “blind guides”. A primary strategy of the religious spirit is to get the church devoted to sacrifice in a way that perverts the command for us to take up our crosses daily. This perversion will have us putting more faith in our sacrifices than in the Lord’s sacrifice. It will also use sacrifices and offerings to try to get God to manifest Himself. This is a form of the terrible delusion that we can somehow purchase the grace and presence of God with our good works.
Religious spirits hold people in spiritual slavery. The battle against this spiritual slavery can only be won by unconditional love, in living the Christian life focused on Jesus and the Word of God and being filled with the Holy Spirit.
If you have been affected by the Religious Spirit, take time to ask our Heavenly Father to forgive and to allow us to practice grace instead of judging, to show grace more than pointing out faults and to be humble, full of joy as we lead others by example producing much fruit for the glory of God. Rebuke the spirit of religion out of your life, resist and walk forward into your identity as the sons and daughters of Jesus Christ, the Lord above all.