Religious Spirit: What Exactly Is It?
In a very simple language, to say that a person is religious is to mean that that individual is full of spiritual activities perhaps without those activities impacting the way the person lives his/her life. A religious man or woman comes to church early; pays his or her tithe regularly; participates in every activity of the church but then, he or she still lacks the simplest character of godliness. Perhaps we should look at being religious in another way like this: Every activity or commandment of God has both the form and the essence parts. The form is the letter, most times the visible part of the task, while the essence is the in-depth part that reveals the real purpose or intention of that activity or commandment. A religious person only sticks to the form and abandons the essence. And come to think of it; everything we do in the physical has a spiritual undertone to it. Put in another language we mean that nothing happens in the physical without first of all happening in the spirit realm. There is a spirit behind each of our actions. So, the spirit at work in a religious person can safely be termed a religious spirit. To possess a religious spirit is to be infected with spiritual cancer. Apostle Paul recognized the danger of this spirit and that was why he warned his spiritual son, Timothy, in 2Timothy 3:5 (KJV) thus: "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." Why would an apostle ask a Christian brother to flee or "turn away" from another? The answer is simple. People with a religious spirit have nowhere to go and they would impede others from moving either. If you are a friend to a person with a religious spirit, you stand the risk of losing eternal life. The best you can get from your friendship is that he or she will make you work for God but you will never be able to walk or work with Him. And without walking for and working with God, no one can be saved. The next 10 points list the characteristics of a religious person. Hopefully, they'll help you assess if you are one or see if you've been moving with one.
Here Are Some Signs You Have A Religious Spirit
Check out for any of the following signs to know if you have a religious spirit or not. You don't have to manifest all, just one of them qualifies you as some being controlled by a religious spirit.
1. Externally Good, Internally Bad
Didn't Jesus talk about whited sepulchers (tombs) somewhere in Matthew 23:27? The outside of it is made of white marbles which are well-polished but right inside is perhaps one of the most detestable things you can ever think of. That's exactly the best description of a person with a religious spirit. As a person with a religious spirit, you are going to find yourself trying hard to appear good before everyone. There is hardly anything you cannot do to protect your reputation because you value it more than your character. The truth, however, is that your character is by far superior to your reputation because whereas your reputation is merely what others think you are, your character is the real you. So, everybody sees you as a good person on the outside but down deep in your heart or even in the confine of your home, you are something else entirely? Your children cannot easily approach you and no one can boast they've fared better because of a kind gesture they've received from you? It's because a counterfeit spirit called religious spirit is at work in your life.
2. You Have A Religious Spirit If You Believe Salvation Can Be Earned
The Bible talks about salvation as being the free gift of God which no amount of human piety, prayer, devotion or holiness can buy. It is simply priceless. However, not everyone appears to understand or believe this. Individuals with a religious spirit are among those who find this simple biblical teaching hard to accept. They still follow some self-imposed rules and undergo some rigorous self-denials with the belief that those things would recommend them to God above others. As one of the signs that you have a religious spirit, you would constantly find yourself trying hard to impress God with your "good" deeds. You don't go to church or pray regularly because you know doing so is the right thing to do but because you are struggling to earn God's approval.
3. You Have A Religious Spirit If You Are Judgmental
Passing judgment is a peculiar trait of a religious person. Religious spirit makes you look upon yourself as being better than others. You are quick to notice other people's fault and in most cases, you are guilty of the same. This spirit is so destructive in that it makes you feel you are "rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing" whereas, in the true sense, you are "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." (Revelation 3:17 KJV). The truth remains that whoever must be saved must first realize his or her need for salvation. Unless you are humble enough to see yourself in God's mirror, you may not receive the much-needed help. With a religious spirit in control of your life, everybody except yourself is a sinner in need of help. This evil spirit makes you feel self-sufficient and constantly deprives you of the welcoming hands of the Holy Spirit of God. The religious spirit prompts you to discuss other people's shortcomings while blinding you to yours.
4. You Have A Religious Spirit If You Value Church Position Over Character Perfection
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Significant among the characteristics of an individual with a religious spirit is the love for ecclesiastical titles and honors. Because you possess a religious spirit which is just a form of godliness, your soul is vexed when you are not given a position in the church or if you're not addressed by your title. You will feel annoyed if let's say instead of being addressed as Bishop this and that, someone mistakenly addressed you as a Mr. In other scenarios, you may find yourself bribing your way into certain church offices through different means. Anyone who is not under the control of religious spirit pays less attention to titles. To them, it is immaterial whether they're given position or not because they recognize that true walk with God does not necessarily need worldly titles. They believe that the most important thing is to strive to achieve character perfection.
5. With A Religious Spirit, You Work For God But Don't Work With Him
Everyone knows how it goes when you're working for someone. You do all you do to get your pay or at best avoid queries. That's going to be the same experience for you if you've got a religious spirit. With a religious spirit in charge of your life, everything you do be it prayer, Bible study, or any other thing would be mechanical. You don't really know or feel the significance of this exercise but you still do them so you are not seen as failing in your duty. Martha, the brother of Lazarus, was once under the influence of this spirit. She was busy here and there working for Jesus without working with Him. She was busy doing the right thing really, at least to the knowledge of we humans but Christ in reprimanding her revealed that the attitude can indeed constitute a kind of spiritual disaster.
6. You Have A Religious Spirit If You Want Others To Be Conformed To Yourself
This is what religion does for mankind, a heavenly way to go to hell!! Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior and be saved from hell forever. Religion comes from to latin words, " re " " ligio ." These two words mean to, " bind back." Religion binds man back from God. How? By placing the burden of salvation upon man, not God. Christianity is God reaching down to undeserving mankind and redeeming man back to himself through Jesus Christ work on the cross. #religionsbest #manmadereligions #salvationbyworks #religion #christianity
The word of God should be the standard for every Christian. It is the one that dictates what is morally right or wrong and points each believer to the way of life. Be it prayer, songs, dressing, or comportment, God has a standard and His standards are contained in His Word. However, as part of the characteristics of someone with a religious spirit, you would have your own righteousness and standard which you are not only following but lobbying and coercing others to also follow. With a religious spirit holding sway in your life, nothing that is done by someone else is right unless it follows your preconceived ideas. This same spirit was at work in the Pharisees. They came up with doctrines about the tithe, prayer, arms, Sabbath, and virtually every daily activity which were man-made and which obstructed people from focussing on thus saith the Lord. In all of these, the Pharisees still thought they were in the Lord's business but Jesus had to put the records straight in Matthew 15:9 "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." So, a religious spirit puts all your services before God to naught.
7. You've Got A Religious Spirit If You Serve God Out Of Fear
It is true we are to fear God in all that we do. His fear must always be uppermost in our hearts. Proverbs 1:7 says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. But when the Bible talks about fearing God, it is talking about reverence and not fear in the context of being afraid. A religious person with a religious spirit does everything he does because he is afraid of judgment or God "punishing" him. His outward piety and fervency are controlled by his secret intention to evade a perceived wrath and not out of their love for God. God hates this kind of spirit. He loves His Children to serve Him out of love and their own realization of what is right. Thus, this characteristic of a religious person projects God as a tyrant and a wicked taskmaster that must be pleased to break loose of His grip.
8. A Religious Spirit Makes It Hard For You To Forgive
If you are always bent on your offenders receiving what you term justice for the wrong they have done you, there's no doubt you've got a religious spirit. The spirit of God always advocates for mercy and peace and only a counterfeit such as a religious spirit knows no forgiveness. Just imagine if our heavenly Father spanks us everytime we err. Perhaps no one would have remained alive. But His mercy prevails over judgment. He's not willing that anyone should perish (Ezekiel 33:11) but if possible, that all should come to the true knowledge of Him. So, when a person offends you and all that concerns you is how the individual would be sentenced, judged, or rebuked for the action before you can consider forgiveness, a religious spirit is at work in you. You are only religious but not Christ-like.
9. Extremism Is Among The Characteristics Of Being With A Religious Spirit
Today's world is filled with many religious extremists. These are people who while thinking they are fighting for God, are actually fighting against him. These individuals with a religious spirit pick offense at every perceived injustice done to their faith, God, or themselves and would not mind going violent because of that. A biblical example of this religious spirit at work was in Saul who later became Paul. He was operating with a religious spirit until the spirit of the Living God caught up with him. He was killing believers in their hundreds and perhaps, thousands thinking he was working for God. So, check yourself well. Are you also involved in some religious but divisive efforts perhaps in your church or where you live all in the name of doing God's work? Let it be clear to you that God can defend Himself. It's only a strange spirit such as a religious spirit that seeks to fight and kill for God.
10. You Only Have A Religious Spirit If You Cannot Endure Trials
Nowhere in the Bible did God promise a smooth Christian experience. The scripture makes it clear that "...In the world, ye shall have tribulation..." (John 16:33). Christians are going to find their paths tough and thorny but they are to cheer up knowing full well that God would fight their battles for them. However, this teaching does not always go well with a person with a religious spirit. And that's because the religious spirit at work in them is not the spirit of God. Filled with pride because of their religious exploits, they feel they're not supposed to pass through any ordeal. As such, when faced with trials and temptations, their initial reaction is to murmur and complain. A person with a religious spirit teaches patient but finds it hard to practice it. They are the first to complain when things go awry and forget the Christian teaching of faith in moments of temporary discomfort. If this description fits you well, you surely have a religious spirit. The spirit of God leads His children to be patient even in periods of difficulties. Go check Galatians 5:22, one of the fruits of the spirit is patient.
We have looked at 10 solid characteristics of a person with a religious spirit and we have seen that a religious spirit is not the spirit of God. In fact, it works to hinder God's spirit from fully manifesting in one's life. Possessing a religious spirit or better still, allowing a religious spirit to rule over one is to place one's eternal life in jeopardy. This is because any spirit outside the spirit of God no matter how religious it appears, can only be the spirit of the devil. I'm sure you know what the three agenda of the devil is - to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10)