In one of the articles published here, I noted that one of the reasons I hate religion is because it starves the human spirit and kills the human brain. A lot of Christians today have very little understanding of the God they claim to serve. This is largely due to the activities of the spirit of religion that has pervaded the church world.
Religious spirit is very subtle, but does not just jump on people. Its primary targets are church leaders, because the moment it has control over those in authority, then it can control the congregation. The Pharisees were its victims in the days of Jesus Christ. Sadly, man will remain susceptible to this deceptive and precarious spirit because of our tendency to do what appeals to us.
We have increasingly concocted our own righteousness, truth and practices without paying careful attention to the directives of the Holy Spirit who was sent to lead us into all truth, will and purpose of God (John 16:13), and wherever this is the case, man will always walk straight into deception (John 7:18).
Religious spirit starves the human spirit by preventing it from expressly accessing the Spirit of God (Holy Spirit) (Matthew 23:13). One of the symptom of this is a very slow or inconsistent transformation of the believer. The process of transformation into the image of Christ does not start in the human mind, but the spirit and it is not achieved instantaneously. As our spirit continues to interact with the Spirit of God, through His present speaking (truth) to us per time, and we respond appropriately, it produces a transformation that makes us better humans. This is how we conform to the original design of God for us. One of the goals of the devil is to use religious spirit to prevent this from happening.
The other side of the negative effect of religious spirit is that it also affect the realm of the soul by dulling the human brain. While man can only accurately relate with God via the spirit, the appropriation of instructions and patterns received from that realm is done via the soul, where the human brain is domiciled. This is why you see many Christians falling prey to deceptive and predatory pastors some of whom were never called by God, but see it as a business opportunity (2 Timothy 3:6). That’s why some believers would not mind stealing from their organizations in order to make large donations in Church in the name of God. Unlike the Berean church under Paul (Acts 17:10), believers today seldom question what they are being taught or things they are instructed to do.
This situation is also fuelled by our inability to establish a personal relationship with God. If we really knew the God we serve, we would appreciate that He desires a personal and direct relationship with each and everyone of us. What we have now is that church leaders serve as intermediary between the average believer and God. While on one hand, believers are not properly trained as instructed by the Scripture, on the other, the average believer has become too lazy to take personal responsibility for his/her spiritual development.
Most of our church leaders have simply become mediums who regularly mediate between God and man, and some are happy to serve this ungodly purpose rather than train the people to be able to interface with God directly. By so doing, some of these leaders have continued to maintain control (not influence) over the people. While it is important to submit to spiritual leadership, we are not meant to be kept as babes perpetually (Ephesians 4:11-16).
It is easier to believe that for a man/woman to be properly socially functional in the society, and for him/her to gain considerable mastery of his/her environment, there is a need for some form of structured education and development. To this end we expend money, energy and time to engage in learning in different fields and grow in them. Yet, it seldom crosses our minds that spiritual development requires that same conscious effort and commitment (2 Timothy 2:15).
We spend our entire life developing our soul, and paying very little attention to our spirit; the part of us that relates with God and defines who we truly are. Most people think it’s enough to attend religious meetings to massage their consciences and then get on with life without tracking what progress they are making in their spiritual development. God expects way more than that.
It is also important to know that just as we have some substandard formal schools with poor curricula, so we have substandard spiritual training. While it is imperative to periodically carry out curricula adjustments and improvement to produce quality graduates at all levels in our society, most believers do not see the need to allow the Holy Spirit tweak and improve their training curricula. That is why most of the Sunday school, Devotional and other training manuals are recycled, with the same old contents (Hebrew 6:1-3). This has stunted the growth of many. Others have simply become bored and fossilized as a result of hearing the same thing over and again. A valid impartation of knowledge is not the one that fills our heads with information, but that which makes us better humans in the sight of God.
I want to challenge you to pick up your jotter for those who care to take note during Church meetings, do a cross referencing to determine the theme over a particular period of time. You are most likely going to see a recurring theme. The spiritual journey of such people is circular rather than linear – much movement without any progress. A lot of these centres are full of activities all week round with little or no transformation. That is not what God expects from or wants for us. He desires that we make progress on a daily, weekly, monthly bases and ensure we do not lose covered grounds. How would you feel if you enrol yourself or ward in a school system without promotion from year one to two and so on? God doesn’t want us to remain at the same level but to grow, consistently taking on His nature and character. This is one of the reasons why we remain here after our initial salvation.
This is part of the nature of the God we serve. It is important to truly know Him so we can truly serve Him.
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