“Are you being led by the Holy Spirit or driven by the Religious Spirit?”

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ, and no wonder? For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.”
2 Corinthians 11:13-14

The Religious Spirit is out to imitate the work of the Holy Spirit. It turns discipleship into a soul-killing exercise of rules and regulations. As a result, most Christians lack intimacy with the Father because they seldom listen for His voice. The Religious Spirit has stigmatized the voice of the shepherd and teacher into counseling as a profession for sick patients. As a result, wounded hearts never get healed.

So many Christians still sit in pews as broken people, feeling guilty because they can’t measure up. Most Christians know nothing about how to break strongholds and set captives free because the Religious Spirit has been spreading the lie that there is no war.

Just how does the Religious Spirit wage war against the grace, love and power of God in a believer’s life placed there by the Holy Spirit. There are many ways. Here are five:

First, overly concerned with outward appearances of being holy and righteous. This spirit deceives Christians into thinking if they act like a Christian, it will replace the need for intimacy with Christ. Pride in their acting skills takes over and hinders intimate fellowship, not only with God, but with other believers.

Second, increasing attempts to earn God’s love and salvation. Even though a believer knows the truth of salvation, the Religious Spirit suggests to their mind that their performance is lacking. He turns on the pressure. And as a result, feelings of guilt, shame and doubt increase substantially.

Third, cravings for a position of prestige and honor in the congregation increase. Closely related to pride, this spirit drives people to seek positions of influence and recognition. They become focused on performing tasks that bring cheers from the crowd rather than looking for the towel and basin and opportunities to serve in obscurity.

Fourth, a growing harsh and judgmental attitude toward others. This spirit skillfully mutters words of judgement toward other believers. This voice becomes so strong until he or she feels justified in placing blame and bringing accusation. Eventually, this believer is bound by their own weakness.

Fifth, resisting and refusing to change becomes a way of life. The Religious Spirit rejects any revelation that calls for change outside of their own comfort zone. They always think they know best. They are closed off from any new ideas or thoughts of challenging the status quo when the Holy Spirit begins to speak.

We must remember, the enemy is not the people in our lives. He is the ruler of darkness and he is alive and well in too many churches. Don’t believe it? Misspell someone’s name in the bulletin. Fail to put them in charge of their favorite event. Forget to visit them in the hospital. The list of spiritual and emotional immature behavior seems endless.

When there is spiritual warfare, weapons of the flesh will not prevail. It must be fought with God’s armor as described in Ephesians 6. We must wrap ourselves in His Word and trust in His righteousness while being sensitive to His Holy Spirit as we pray and serve. If not, you will fail to distinguish being led by the Holy Spirit and being driven by the Religious Spirit.