Psalm for the Day

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Religious Spirit or Holy Spirit?

“Jesus replied, “You hypocrites!  Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,  ‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me”.    Mark 7:6 NLT



Many people love going to the movies.  They love the smell of popcorn, the comfortable seats, the fun of being with friends and family.  They even laugh at the way their shoes stick to the floor!  But most of all we love the anticipation!

You know what I mean?   You are sitting there in a barely lit room with a sense of excitement as you wait for the move to start.  Then the lights begin to dim even more and the previews end and everyone stops talking.  It is almost time………..

There is a sense that you are about to experience something truly amazing!

You can get the same feelings when you go to a concert or ball game.  There is a sense that you are about to experience something that will energize you and stay with you for days, weeks or even years.

When was the last time you felt that way as you walked through the doors of church?

When was the last time you had a sense of anticipation for what you are about to experience?

When was the last time you walked through the church doors with the sense that you are about to experience something that will energize you and stay with you for days, weeks or even years?

We are called to worship.

What does that mean?

What is worship?    Encountering/responding to God’s heart toward us.

Why worship?    Because we were created for this purpose.

What do we need?  A relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

The prophet Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 29:13: “The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men”. (NIV)



“The Lord said, “These people claim to worship me, but their words are meaningless, and their hearts are somewhere else. Their religion is nothing but human rules and traditions, which they have simply memorized””.  (GNT)

I believe that these passages tell us that there are several things that make worship worthless for God’s people.

A religious spirit instead of the Holy Spirit.

A religious spirit can be defined as ‘an agent of Satan assigned to prevent change and maintain the status quo by using religious traditions’.

It uses human control and manipulation to prefer the status quo over a genuine, dynamic and intimate relationship with God.

It is a huge danger for church leaders who might lead by manipulation instead of by grace.

A religious spirit seeks approval from what they do instead of from grace alone.

A religious spirit is confronted in the Bible:  “You foolish Galatians! What strange powers are trying to lead you from the way of faith in Christ?  We made it plain for you to see that Jesus Christ was put on a cross to die.   There is one thing I want to know.  Did you receive the Holy Spirit by keeping the Law?  Or did you receive Him by hearing about Christ?   How foolish can you be?  You started the Christian life by the Holy Spirit.  Do you think you are going to become better Christians by your old way of worship?  You suffered so much because of the Good News you received. Was this all of no use?   He gave you the Holy Spirit and did powerful works among you.  Does He do it because you do what the Law says or because you hear and believe the truth?”  Gal. 3:1-5 NLV

Religious spirits have been at work in the world since time began.  They will do whatever they can to prevent us from enjoying a vibrant, dynamic encounter with God.

“Prophets speak nothing but lies; priests rule as the prophets command, and my people offer no objections.  But what will they do when it all comes to an end?”  Jeremiah 5:31  GNT

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