The Religious Spirit and Our Calling
"What sorrow awaits you experts in religious law! For you remove the key to knowledge from the people. You don't enter the Kingdom yourselves, and you prevent others from entering." -Luke 11:52 Jesus was very popular among the religious leaders of his day. However, it was not a positive popularity. The Pharisees, because their power was threatened by Jesus, were the ones who plotted to kill Him. The scripture says they hated him - they wanted nothing more than to put Him away. It was the people who stalled the process of Jesus' crucifixion, because many believed He was the Messiah. This account describes the reality of the religious spirit - it seeks to destroy true works of God in us, and it seeks to destroy our destiny. It reinforces the lie that we are required to perform religious rituals or duties in order to gain acceptance by God. In religion, we obey to be accepted. But when we're living out the gospel, we obey because we are accepted. A man my dad knows owns a film studio in Hollywood. He said for 30 years he felt ostracized in Hollywood - he was a black sheep to the church because he worked in Hollywood, and he was also outcast by the Jewish film producers in the area because he was a Christian. But the fact of the matter was, he was right where God wanted him to be. When my dad met him and told him he had one of the greatest opportunities to create uplifting films that could change culture and draw people to Jesus, he said with tears in his eyes, "Boy, I wish I had known you 25 years ago." He finally felt affirmed in his calling. Can you see any places where the religious spirit has operated in your life, living out rules and regulations in exchange for relationship and destiny? Pray that God will redeem any areas where this has caused hurt, and that God would reveal His ultimate purpose for you, redeeming and restoring it for His ultimate glory.