I often pray for dreams from God. I kinda think this was one of them:
There was a man who was part of a biker gang who was standing over a woman shouting abusive words and beating her. I perceived that this woman was the “Bride of Christ”, the Church, and the abusive man represented “the religious spirit”. I tried to enlist help to rescue her. I even went over to some pastors I knew and asked them to help me stop this abuse. They were afraid and refused! So I went up to the bully and splashed him in the face with a bucket of water.
He turned on me and started throwing rocks at me. I dodged them all but the rocks were hitting people behind me. I decided that for the sake of everyone behind me I should probably stop agitating this bully.
The message in this dream is clear to me. It is my impression that there is within the Christian church a bully demonic spirit of religion that is abusing Christ’s Bride, the church, and is allowed to do so.
What is a “spirit of religion”?
The spirit of religion is a demon and his minions in charge of infiltrating and perverting the church with pride and judgmental self-righteousness. With this spirit in charge, your ego is encouraged to run your spirituality. You are always “in the right” and most everyone else in the world (except those in your infinitesimally small “in” club) are deceived and worthy of your patient pity… perhaps they will come to their senses and escape the coming judgement… for not believing all the right things like you do… for not having all their theological ducks in a row as neatly as you do… for not knowing what you know as an “enlightened one”. (Ironically this is the height of Gnostisicm – something the apostles of the faith were most adamantly against.)
When Christ said that he didn’t entrust himself to man because he knew what was in man, he was speaking of our diabolical pride, our ego, that refuses to yield to God… our self-righteous religion.
In fact, the way I see it, the truth of the situation gets much much worse.
Those infected with the demonic spirit of religion the worst seem to be among the most honored teachers and “mentors” in the church which then fuels a whole culture of demonic gnostic religion. These teachers have study Bibles named after them, yet they resist the Holy Spirit (even to the point of actively campaigning against the work and move of the Holy Spirit) and throw their brothers or sisters (anyone who disagrees with them) under the bus. They will appear “right” in everything they say to those whose hearts are trained in the ways of fear. They will warn you of the great apostasy while leading the charge headlong into apostasy (which is the departure from childlike wide-eyed wonder and trust and complete all out surrender to our loving heavenly Papa).
I’m reminded of another dream I had in which people were entering a large church and demons would sweep down on these people as they entered. Yes, the devil likes to hang out at church – if he is allowed entrance. The gatherings of the body of Christ is after all the front-lines of this war we are in. The demons purpose is to keep you judgmental of others always comparing yourself against others in a how well am I doing spiritually competition (which the true faith is nothing of the sort).
Lets face it. Our “Christian” culture is infected and in a bad way.
We need to learn how to abandon the ways of self-righteous religion and nurture a heart of simple pure childlike devotion to Christ.
Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” (Luke 16:16-17 NLT)
How will you and I protect and nurture our hearts into the kind of faith that God commends? Let’s get childlike! Jesus showed us how. Jesus put aside his divinity to model for us how to be human. He is an example for us to follow and has said, everything I did you will do too and even greater things!
He modeled a completely surrendered life in complete dependance. He trusted his Father completely and only spoke what he heard his Father speak. He only did what he saw his Father do.
“I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it.” (John 12:49 NLT)
So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. (John 5:19 NLT)
I prayed today that we (Holy Spirit and I) would bind the strongman and plunder his house as I went into a nursing home today to share the Gospel. I prayed that the devil would be like, “What the hell just happened? Oh NO! There is a man of God here who knows who he is in Christ!”
I shared about how I was thinking about what a Good “Lord” Jesus is. He is completely trustworthy. He doesn’t set you up to fail but he sets you up to succeed. I then shared about how Jesus said, “many will come to me on that day saying, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we do all sorts of great things in your name?’ and he will tell them ‘depart from me I never knew you’. Jesus is after relationship, not just your service. He actually wants friends NOT slaves. Jesus is the very best friend you could hope for and he promises never to leave you or forsake you.”
I didn’t even mean to share that Scripture! It seemed pretty heavy to me. But if that was what God wanted sharing…
On the way home I believe he was dropping the idea for this blog into my mind.
The Chip on My Shoulder
I will admit it. I have it out for the demonic spirit of religion (as it has been dubbed). I had been beaten and abused and infected by that one for far too long and now I want to expose him at every turn. Most of my blog posts are meant to fight this. I see the struggle in so many of my Christian friends. I have been judged and rejected by many others. The battle is real. But Jesus has already won the victory!
Every one of us is already free and protected… did you know that the Father’s reputation is on the line regarding your protection?
“Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are.” John 17:11 NLT
Very true and very real. It was the religious spirit in the Pharisees and leaders that Jesus railed against, not sinners. The apostles came against the religious spirit in those who crucified Christ in Acts, not the world. As Pascal once said, “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction.” The spirit of religion is what turns people away from Christ and His Church.