And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.
This insight may be one of the main areas that could bring about your freedom as it did for me. It's a very cunning and deceptive spiritual condition that we need to grab a hold of and deal with. I'll share this teaching from a personal perspective as God showed me and delivered me. If He will do it for me, He will certainly do it for you!
Something happened to me that shifted everything in my life. My husband even asked me every day if I was alright. And I would say, yes. Then about the 10th time I said… "I think I know why you are wondering if I’m alright… it’s because something has changed in me that you aren't used to."
What happened was that I have finally entered into the peace and rest of God. My husband never saw this before, he’s now watching me enjoy life-like never before. I’m actually sitting in the backyard watching the birds. I’m actually watching a movie without doing 20 other things at the same time. There isn’t a busy nervousness about me any more. My mind isn’t rushing and filled with thoughts of “what I need to do!” I have to truly say that I have entered into His rest! And in His rest there is no drivenness.
What took place was this. I was having a conversation with my husband and he said something to me, I frankly can’t remember what he said, but something inside me jumped. I could feel something rising to the surface, not anger, just something not comfortable. I wanted to scream, run, but I knew it wasn’t me. It was something in me that was coming up and I know from ministry, that it has to go. Not knowing what it was, we just kept talking to see if we could talk it out. So we stopped having a conversation with it and stopped and told it to GO! My husband agreed with me. Then what happened next was no short of a miracle. I got quiet inside. Whatever was there, was truly gone. And once it left I was able to name it because I actually saw it for what it was... it was a “religious spirit.” See, as long as it was in there, I couldn't see it, but once it was out, I saw it clearly.
So what is a religious spirit? Here are some signs: If you feel like you aren’t doing enough “spiritual” things in your life, if you feel guilty for not being perfect, if you just feel bad all the time, if you have a hard time resting, if you are driven to be loved and accepted and work at it, if you feel pushed and manipulated by others, if you are hard on yourself because you keep messing up, if you have a hard time forgiven yourself, if you have a hard time believing God loves you just the way you are, if you are competitive with others and even yourself, if you have pride - thinking only you can do it, if you feel like you are doing everything wrong, if you have any jealousies of other’s successes… then you have a religious spirit. See, these were ALL me. And how tormenting is that?? Well, I can say that these things are now gone! Completely!!! I even tried to make myself FEEL guilty for working on my yard… well I couldn’t.
See the Lord told me that I am now just "being." I am not being driven to do anything! Now I have a choice, because of what I want to do by following His lead, not to “do” to get something from others. See, faith leads, fear pushes… and with that spirit went the spirit of fear that pushed me. Pushed me to try to be loved and accepted by others. Pushed me to be perfect. Pushed me to be "religious" all the time. Well, that is gone too.
In my ministry, I teach on love and forgiveness. I have been doing that one message for the past 14 years… and I do get a lot out of those teachings myself. So God had been working on me all along, So when this spirit was identified in its true form, and left, the love that I had been seeking from God came to light! I felt it more, I saw it more clearly. That its okay to enjoy the fruit of my labors. That it's not "wrong" to take care of my home or do something enjoyable from time to time.
I’ve been in ministry for 18 years, and the last 5 years full-time. There was NO time for me to take care of my home, family or friends. I was consumed with writing, ministry, helping others, etc. That consumption was not godly! I am to be consumed alright, but only with God and His love for me, so that I have it to give to others. Not in a bunch of works. Now, those things I did were good, but with a religious spirit behind it, was very tormenting, driven and exhausting. So now I can write a book because I want to write a book, for the glory of God! Now I can teach a class, not to be loved and admired, but for the glory of God. A religious spirit wants us to take the glory from God… we don’t say it out loud, but we sure would like to be appreciated and thanked… that is a religious spirit! As a matter of fact, I understand now why we are to “do things in secret” for others, it’s so that “we” won’t be tempted to want the glory! Psalm 34:1 says it so eloquently... "I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord, the Humble shall hear thereof, and be glad." My boast will be in the Lord. A religious spirit won't let us do that. We don't want to take any glory or be recognized and admired for what we do... but it's there. But dear friend.. it's not you! It's what is in you, that religious spirit!
Let’s just say it like it is and be honest with ourselves. As a minister of almost 20 years now… God is still cleaning the edges, purging the dross… I won’t be complete until He calls me home. And so know that we all have areas God is working on. This was mine. And now I am free from it.
Since that day I have been able to do things I felt "guilty" about doing because I felt it wasn't religious enough! So I was able to re-stain my deck, make a bird sanctuary, clean my house, etc… and enjoy the Lord all at the same time. This was a huge breakthrough for me. It's like I was elevated to the heavenlies and even see things clearer than ever before, as God would have me see.
While I was talking with my husband that day I said, "I just don't feel like I'm doing enough spiritual things." And he stopped and asked, "spiritual enough for who?" Hmm…. That really made me stop and think! And I answered him, "For God." And he said, "Who said you weren't doing enough for God?" Well, no one.... so I realized then that the accuser of the brethren jumped on the bandwagon and began speaking in my ear that I'm never going to be good enough or do enough for God's approval and love. When I saw that, I turned to it and said, "Shut up! You are a liar, now go!"
See, I was being duped! Because our daily living activities are just as important as teaching the Bible. Because I need to also be a good steward of what He has given me. And I wasn’t. Since that religious spirit is gone, I can actually enjoy cleaning my house, watching an old movie, making cookies, visiting friends, seeing my family, without GUILT! If you have any guilt whatsoever… it’s from a religious spirit.
If you want help in this area to get free… call on God. Ask Him to show you if you have a religious spirit…or if you have any of these signs as I did, then tell it to Go… yes, you can do it! Then thank God for freeing you – by faith, AND for Him loving you. Drink in His love at that point to replace where that spirit left so you are ever filled… We need to be ever filled with God so that there is no room for it to return, and we have what we need to live our lives victoriously.
“… He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, He restores my soul…” Let’s make this a life-style… by entering into His rest and care, we are trusting Him with our lives, our family, our ministry. We please Him by trusting Him… and with that trust we can “be.” What has He truly required of us? To love and believe and receive. Let’s keep the gospel simple.. shall we?
Ministry Prayer for you:
Dear Father in Heaven. I thank you for this simple teaching that spoke volumes in my life and I trust it will help others to identify the culprit in their lives so they can get free. For those who pin pointed that religious spirit, I speak to it now and tell it to GO in Jesus name. Take all your lies and deceptions with you, fear, self-hatred, anger, jealousies, envies, depression, doubt and unbelief and GO! Father, I ask for your love and joy and peace to flood this dear saint to over flowing. Help them to now thank you for your love, power and sound mind that casts out all fear and tormenting thoughts. I ask you to deliver them from being driven to be loved and accepted. Help them to just "be." To find contentment, peace, and joy in every area of their life. Then as they go about their life, they would simply live the scriptures as Jesus did.. loving and forgiving, helping where they can, because of You. Not to get anything, not to be seen or admired, but just for You! Thank you for this insight and revelation. I pray that it goes deep into each heart reading this, and that they enter into your rest. In Jesus name, Amen.
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