Originally published Monday, 28 July 2014.
Hurry up and catch yourself before you become religious, because now is not the time to get caught up with a religious spirit. Now, some of you reading this might be saying, “Wait, but what is a religious spirit, actually?” Trust me. It’s not a spooky thing. Yet, in its simplest definition, it’s when you’re going to church week after week after, yet not changing. It’s when you begin to do the same thing over and over again with no deliverance or results. You become stagnated. It’s the same old, same old in your heart. At some point, there needs to be a change that not only you can see, but others can see as well (especially Jesus).
To go a little deeper, it’s like the religious Pharisees who knew about Jesus, yet didn’t truly want to follow him in their hearts. Meaning, they looked the part, dressed the part, talked the talk, but they wouldn’t get close enough to have a genuine, close relationship with Him and it showed. In addition, they didn’t want Jesus meddling with their comfortable lifestyles. They felt like they were okay, even though Jesus tried to tell them that they weren’t living like God the Father commanded. The disciples on the other hand, followed Jesus, drew close to Him and obeyed the Lord. They also had a meaningful relationship with Him and it sparked amazing deliverance in their personal lives.
Furthermore, they saw Jesus connect with His Father intimately with heartfelt prayer. And not only that, but they witnessed Jesus do God’s will to the bitter end. As a result, they had hearts that burned for the Lord and it was contagious! They did God’s will too and we and so many others are their witnesses through reading the Scriptures.
Sis, when our lives line up with the Word of God, people will experience Christ through us. They’ll know that we’ve been in the presence of the King and in His Word, because the Spirit will bear witness. People will feel the love of God resonating through us. They’ll know that there’s something different about us and better yet, they will want what we have! They’ll feel the fire that burns in our hearts for the Lord. They’ll see the light. It will be CONTAGIOUS!
On the other hand, when a religious spirit begins to take root in you, it doesn’t have that same effect. It’s counterfeit. It’s an outward show, with minimal inward change. And eventually it will show up. It will show up in your character and lifestyle. It won’t reflect the light of God’s Word. That’s why if you feel yourself drifting away or losing your passion for the Lord or beginning to act out of character, catch yourself quickly. You might be in danger of becoming religious. Second Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves…”
I’ve been there before. I found myself going to church faithfully, but then I began to find myself drifting a bit…getting religious. Sure, I was going to church, but my passion was fading. Sometimes the busyness of life, mundane tasks, and unnecessary distractions can begin to steal your affection and rob your passion from the Lord. This is not good! But once you recognize this, that’s when you have to catch yourself and realize that you need to snap out of it! Thank God for the quickening of the Holy Spirit! I’ll tell you, when that happened to me, I had to go back to God and apologize to Him for allowing the cares of this temporal life rob me of my affections for Him. I desire a rock solid relationship with the Lord, and I will stop at nothing to keep that fire in my relationship going strong.
So here’s the warning for you. If you’re going to church faithfully, yet you feel yourself drifting or getting a little religious, hurry up and catch yourself! If you sense your fire beginning to burn out, quickly run and get more wood! Don’t let it go out. Catch it, before it’s too late! Go to God and confess where you are and ask Him to rekindle your fire and passion. Don’t let the cares of this life, work, or sinful thoughts and actions snuff your light out or burn you out. Instead, get back to the Word of God. Get back on your knees. Get back to intimate worship! Don’t just wait until you get to church to have praise and worship. Put on some music at home or in your car and have your way! Remember, this is about your personal relationship. So go for it!
We’ve got to stay alert, sober-minded, and hot and on fire for the Lord in these last days. We also have to make sure that we continue to allow God to change us and mold us into the image of His Son. The key word here is change. And the way to accomplish this is to stay connected to the vine. That’s right! Jesus said in Matthew 15:5, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful apart from me.” So we must stay connected to Jesus.
And whatever you do…don’t ever give up, quit, throw in the towel, stop praying, or backslide from the Lord in your heart. And by all means, don’t be religious! Instead, keep that fire burning and keep letting God change you from the inside out. ;-) He’s able. His Word says so in Jude 1:24, “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.” Believe it!
Remember, Jesus is coming back soon! And those who endure unto the end shall be saved. So let’s be ready from the Inside Out!
*Thanks for reading! I hope and pray that you’ve been enlightened from this post. Feel absolutely free to leave a comment or for questions you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will respond promptly. Also, tune in every Monday at 7:30am for new posts! Don’t forget to “Like” my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/InsideOutWCourtnaye) and share this blog with friends, family, co-workers, or your women’s group or ministry. I’d love to stay connected and help more women grow in the Lord! Thanks again and may God be with you!