Let’s take a look at defining religion and the religious spirit. A religious spirit is a force that tries to get you to act pious, self-righteous, or super spiritual. Before you can guard yourself against this spirit, you first have to understand what it is.
Some of you may have never heard of a religious spirit. Others of you may think being religious is a good thing, mistaking religion with a right relationship with God. You may even ask, “What’s wrong with being religious?” Alternatively, “So what if there are religious spirits? How can they affect me if I am a born again believer in Christ Jesus?”
To find truthful answers to these questions, let’s look into what the Bible teaches about religion. First, exactly what is religion? Scripture says,
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:26-27).
So we learn from the above Scripture that religion in itself is simply…
To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction.
To keep oneself free from worldly influences.
That sounds like a good thing on the surface – and it is. However, if we examine the more of God’s Word, we will soon discover that there is a religious spirit that is quite different from what the Bible describes as “pure religion.” It is this different spirit that we must watch out for.
The Lord would not have us ignorant to the spirit of religion. The Bible gives us many examples of the operations of religious spirits throughout the Word including:
- The scribes and Pharisees were ready to stone the woman caught in the act of adultery, yet there was no mention of stoning the man who was with her (John 8).
- Apostle Peter and Barnabas would not sit and eat with the Gentile believers in Antioch when Jewish brothers came to visit from Jerusalem (Galatians 2:11-13).
- The scribes and Pharisees challenged Jesus because His disciples did not wash their hands (ceremonially) before they ate (Matthew 15:2).
- Jesus taught His disciples not to pray long prayers like the scribes, who prayed only for show (Luke 20:46-47).
- Saul guarded the garments of religious murderers as they stoned a righteous man named Stephen to death (Acts 7:58).
- After a notable miracle, a religious council, motivated by fear, reprimanded the Apostles Peter and John for speaking the name of Jesus (Acts 4:15-18).
- When Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath, it so stirred up those with religious spirits they sought to kill Him (Mark 3:1-6).
Religious spirits are murdering spirits. They are full of legalism, hypocrisy, control, self-righteousness, and every evil thing. Avoid them.
(c) Apostle Jonas Clark