Spiritual battle is extremely important today – for the Church is being attacked from many different angles, from many different sources, and from some area that we have not considered before.
The “spirit of religion” is a term that is used many times today in the body of Christ. Often used in your more “grace-centered” churches, the phrase is usually spoken to point-out an act of legalistic or judgmental areas. Whenever someone begins to base their judgments or their activities around a set of traditions and man-made criteria, then they are usually accused of possessing a spirit of religion that is in their life.
The sad truth is that legalism is real and it does true damage! The well meaning spirit filled Christian can still quickly fall vistim to the spirit of religion and bring damage to themselves as well as other people. Sometimes it’s truly a spirit (a demonic spirit) working through a person, and yet sometimes it is simply an improper mindset based on years of wrong thinking.
Turn on Christian programming and you will see the legalistic preacher bring condemnation and shame to those who are still attempting to grow in Christ, and you will also see the other ministers, preaching against the legalistic preachers! We are coming against each other and this has to stop!
So, does the spirit of religion stop with the legalistic Christian? Not at all. In fact, more and more we are witnessing the spirit of religion both attack and influence Christians with a spirit of “elitism” – An “air” about them that causes them to truly believe they are part of some elite club of revelatory masters! As they receive revelation in an area of the word of God, they become puffed-up and feel superior to those without the same revelation.
Maybe you have been given revelation on healing, miracles, eschatology, grace, or any other area. I pray you do receive revelation and heavenly downloads – yet we must always remember that we all see in part and hear in part. We do not have the full picture or revelation – and what we are given is because God has chosen to reveal it to us. Honor and cherish the revelations that the Lord blesses you with, yet never let it puff-up, allowing the spirit of religion to take root in your life.
We see the spirit of religion in two distinct camps today – one is the camp of legalism, adding to the word of God in order to control others. The other camp is elitism, bringing people up to a place where they look down upon others in the body of Christ. We are all growing and being transformed from glory-to-glory (2 Cor. 3:18) – may we grow in love and not division.
What is the answer? Stay truly humble and thankful for the transformation of God. Stay in communion with Christ – stay in the secret place with God and allow the revelations to mature you and bless you. Never allow the spirit of religion to take root in your life. Stay in love and watch the miracles of God transform you from glory-to-glory. Examine yourselves often, and note your heart towards the others. Stay in love and watch God bring even more revelation to your life!