What Is The Spirit Of Religion?

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Have any of you ever run into those (in the church and OUTSIDE of the church) who “think” they know God/Jesus?
Have any of you ever been in a conversation with some of these folks and you know all about their background circumstances and when you ask (out of concern) how they are doing all you get “Oh I’m blessed! I’m blessed and highly favored praise, God!” Or “I’m doing great!” And the conversation moves to something else only to leave you wondering or questioning your faith or your stance on things.

The problem with this mentality is that it’s not practical NOR is logical because Jesus was very truthful. He was truthful about what He saw when He encountered tough situations and tough people. Hurting people – He was just very honest with them, but He loved them. Just like with the woman at the well, He asked her if she was married and she in her craziness had the audacity to tell him “no, I’m not married” when in reality she was living with a man and had been married five times. Jesus, being the lover of her soul, knew her need better than she. She needed to know what love was OR, WHO love was.

You see, religious people are proud, they think they have no needs OR that they don’t need, to be honest with those around them, to share truths about issues that affect them.  They paint a picture perfect life about themselves to make sure EVERYONE knows they have it all together. Especially leaders…..because if we don’t have it together as leaders, then that means we must have failed in some area. Really? Seriously? When Jesus dealt with His disciples He made SURE to edify them (when He corrected them) but they always left Him feeling loved and course corrected.
But what about you? Do you feel loved by those you’re interacting with in/out of church? If you don’t – let’s do a heart check to see where you’re positioned ok?
We all act like Jesus in skin to one another and if we aren’t going, to be honest about our needs how can God ever meet those needs? There is a biblical principal/spiritual law that states “once you get something out into the light God WILL deal with it.” But He is expecting you to humble yourself FIRST and to bring that need to Him so that He can take care of it for you. What this will require of you is courage. The courage to talk to a friend who gives good counsel, who will edify you and show you WHO love is, what love does and can do for you deepest needs. But what about those friends/family members who just want to brush over the real issues? OR what about those that you seek out at church? The Religious people- those that scare the crap out you with their words of condemnation? The Pharisees? How can you recognize them before they get to you?

Pharmaceutical, Religious people- they are pious, arrogant, full of pride, a tomb of dead mens’ bones, spiritual vipers going around sizing up the body of Christ always making everyone around them feel as if they lack in some area. Well, do you want to know the truth?
WE ALL ARE! WE ALL ARE LACKING, and we will always be lacking without Christ because of our human natures. But real love recognizes a need in others and real GENUINE love is there to edify and encourage and point you in the right direction. It doesn’t tear you down, it props you up, brushes you off, turns you around and sends you on your way.
But what about those folks who try to make YOU feel responsible for their identity? OR for their sense of security? Jesus never lets ANYONE tell Him who He was and WHO He was NOT. He knew who He was, and Whos He’s was (He was the Father’ Son- the Son of the living God.)
For example:
I once had a crush on this guy (about 9 years ago) who knew my background in ministry, and he knew that I really loved to serve Christ- I wasn’t and still am not perfect, but I did/and still try to do my best to serve Christ to this day. Well- there were about 11 of us sitting around one night and everyone was having a beer except for me. I like beer, matter of fact; I love Shiner beer, but this day I just didn’t feel like having one. Every girl at our table was ogling over David because he was a very handsome guy. But he always needed the attention of the opposite sex to ensure him of WHO HE THOUGHT he was. I noticed, as we sat next to each other that night, that he started observing me, I caught him watching and listening to me, and he seemed to be watching/listening to everything I was talking about. I watched how he interacted with the other women, and I finally watched as he ended up taking one home with him. I never said or judged a thing as I don’t and still will not ever think that is my place. That’s Christ place to do that if HE chooses.

Two days later I ran into David at a convenience store and after about 15 min of the conversation he quipped (out of the blue) that “I could never date you because you always make me feel like I’m never good enough.” I stepped back (kind of hurt) because I did not know why he had said this. So I said “David, what do you mean I make you feel like your not good enough?” He responded with “Well, every time I get around you you’re always acting as though you don’t have time for me or like your too busy or like your NOT interested in me.”  I got very silent and started asking Jesus to please answer him through me, and this is what Jesus had me to say:
I told David “David- I do not make ANYONE feel any way, you are in control of how you feel and how you allow others to make you feel. But I cannot control your feelings. However, I would like to point out that you always seem like your in need of having to have everyone’s attention when you get around them (especially the opposite sex), and that is a need that I cannot meet. Because it’s a deeper need that needs healing and I am not God, therefore, I am not the healer. So you see, your actual needs are to have my attention are a deeper need that won’t be met and until you get that root of insecurity and identity healed you will not be sure of who you are. I told him that I was his friend, and I was a true friend to him, that my heart towards him was to show him Agape love, genuine love, and that type of love only has eyes for one person.” I told him- that when a soul comes into a place where it understands what true love is, it doesn’t need to rely on people to meet its needs. It relies on love that’s grounded- its positioning is strong, and that positioning gives that individual the inner knowledge of who they are identity wise.

Back in Jesus’s day- when He was dealing with the Pharisees- these men did not have an identity. So they relied on each others approval to ensure each other that they were ok, this “keeping of all the rules in the Bible” meant that they were who they “Thought” they were- godly men. Not true, because there were so many rules in the old testament there is no one person alive who could keep up with them all let alone uphold them. The Bible said that these Pharisees raised up more hellish disciples that were more wicked children of hell than they were. Pretty scary if you ask me, but the bottom line to this conversation is that they didn’t allow for each other to have flaws and to JUST BE HUMAN. These Pharisees had to uphold this false image that they were somehow perfect- without blemish when everyone around them KNEW of their imperfections.

Has anyone made you feel that way lately? A family member, or leader, or friend? The next time you feel wrongfully judged by one of these types or the next time your made to feel “less than”- step back, and do two things. Ask yourself these two questions:

1) Are they living by the laws of man or by the law of love?
2) And if You find yourself offended (YOU), you need to ask yourself- how did I get out of love/or out of God’s spirit- because if I’m walking in the spirit, then these fiery arrows of condemnation will fly right over your spiritual vessel. They won’t affect you. But if you’re in your flesh- they will hit your spirit man/heart full on!

Because true love is Patient, its kinds, it’s long GGG GGG suffering, it doesn’t envy, it doesn’t boast, it keeps NO RECORD of WRONGS….Go read the I Cor. 13- the love book. And don’t ever allow your identity to be controlled by the letter of the law of man but ONLY by Jesus.

Pray this prayer with me:
Lord, I’ve been struggling with needing to know who I am lately. I’m at this juncture in my life and I’m learning more about you, but this walking in love thing- IT’S HARD! Its hard to love those that want to disqualify me, or make me feel less than because of their own screwed up perceptions of who they “Think” you are. Father, show me WHO I AM in you and give me the love and the strength to STAND MY GROUND! Help me to shake off all the snakes and all the lies of the law!

Missy Hood

copyright © 2013 Missy Hood