Discernment: Identifying the Religious Spirit
Are you stuck in a religious comfort zone? What about a religious church? It's time to challenge the status quo and join the apostolic revolution! The bible says having a form of godliness which includes religious spirits having a caretaker mentality and a don't rock the boat mindset.
Religious spirits offer some of the greatest spiritual warfare you will face. Jesus said, "Let the dead bury their dead; but go, and preach the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:60). How is it that so many get caught up in seeking the living among the dead? Again, Jesus said, "Let the dead bury their dead and preach the kingdom of God." Could it be that the religious spirit needs to be discerned? Let’s review more of their characteristics.
Religious leaders like still waters. They have a caretaker mentality with a don't rock the boat mindset. Their services are cold, quiet, and formal. As already mentioned, a religious pastor may have been selected by a pulpit committee based solely on his religious education, affiliation, or degree.
One of the most deadly spiritual assignments against the church’s ability to advance the gospel throughout the world has been the religious spirit. I believe this spirit to be a murdering influence that is anti-Christ in nature and will be exposed by the Holy Spirit in these last days. Thousands of good people have been taken captive by it and made ineffective by this spirit’s deceptive influence. In my book, The Spirit of Religion, I teach you how to discern the religious spirit and overcome its ability to stop God’s best from coming into your life and ministry.
In today’s society, we have a dangerously false perception of the church and many of the dynamics surrounding it. Through the years, we have come to a religious understanding of what a ministry and a church are. Because of false perceptions, the existing church will be powerfully challenged in the days ahead by the reforming voice and ministry of the emerging apostolic ministries.
NO CHALLENGE, VOID OF CONVICTION, WITHOUT PASSION
The religious church is where people live out their lives unchallenged, unchanged, and just waiting for the rapture.
This is the church where one can listen to a nice ten-minute motivational teaching or the reading of a prayer and expect an apology from the pastor if he doesn’t end the service on time. It is a church that sends people back into a hostile world with no conquering spiritual impartation.
This is the church that acknowledges everyone’s birthdays and anniversaries during service times on Sunday morning, repents if they forget one, but can’t hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. They put more importance on homecoming, fish fries, bake sales, and chicken dinners than they do on "What says the Spirit of the Lord?"
It’s a place where the pastor is expected to stand at the door after service to kiss babies and shake everyone’s hand. This is the church where the pastor is pressured to visit all the people each week and make sure he is everybody’s best friend. It is the place where one attends church only four times in their lifetime: to be dedicated, baptized, married, and buried.
ALL SHOW, NO POWER
It is full of programs run by businessmen with Type A personalities, controlling Jezebels, and occasional Sunday morning or Christmas cantatas. It is a place where one can comfortably fulfill their sense of religious obligations. It has a caretaker mentality with a don't rock the boat mindset. It is cold, quiet, and formal, and the pastor has been selected by a pulpit committee based on his religious education, affiliation, or degree. Whose office walls are filled with plaques of men’s recognition, confirming that they had made the right choice.
In this church, the leadership is hired by people to do what they think is fitting, rather than a man who was sent forth by the Holy Spirit. This is the church where the pastor is abused for twenty years, retired with a gold watch for faithful service, and sent off to some trailer park to die, only to repeat the same twenty-year pattern over again with someone else.
This is the church where you can have two lives: a religious one, and a secular one. This is the bless-me-only, but don't ask me to change, become involved, grow, mature, advance, pursue, increase, or do anything for the church. It is full of people who have spiritual sounding religious sayings that will flatter you with smooth words to your face and stab you in the back when you leave.
This is the apathetic, griping, grumbling, and whining church where sin is seldom addressed and the unrepentant, rebellious, and defiant are never confronted. This is the church where one can do according to his or her own heart with no accountability or submission to anyone.
In this church, the preacher whips you and beats you with the Word. This is the church that is intimidated by the grace and anointing on your life, where the leadership doesn’t release people into ministry because there is only room for the one-man show. This is the dead, lifeless church where thousands have soul ties because some relative once was a faithful member.
This is the church that provides, with each new membership, a place for the family to be buried in the church’s cemetery.
The Word of God is quite clear about our relationship with this religious church. "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away" (2 Timothy 3:5).
After reading this short discourse on the religious church, you probably feel the same way that I do after reading it: yuck. If so, then we have exposed the essence of the religious spirit. If your response, however, is anger at me for writing this, then I can only ask that you examine your heart before reading any further because the apostolic anointing will challenge the durability of religious comfort zones, including yours. Yet I am convinced that most who read this are hungry for more of God and want their lives to count for something. Now let’s turn away from religious bondage and enter the truly exciting world of apostolic ministry.
If you are in a dead church, leave now. That’s right, now. Don’t spend anymore time in a place that can’t feed you spiritually. Why should the living hang out with the dead? It’s not fair to you or your children. To join the apostolic revolution, you have to pursue the Lord with everything, that’s in you. Next, take a look at those you receive counsel from. Are they nice people, but religious people? If so, it’s time to prune your relationships.
Religious opposition is real, and you can expect them to release fear at you. To overcome fear, you must get the knowledge of apostolic ministry into your head and the spirit of the new apostolic revolution into your spirit. Apostolic people are pioneers. Plow on through and join the cause, and when you are opposed, rejoice. Jesus said, "Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad; for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:11–12).
(c) Apostle Jonas Clark
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