The Spirit Of Religion—And The Aftermath


I have come down hard on some of the movements in modern Religion in a few posts on this blog. Some of this has been reactionary, coming from my own experience in some of these movements which produced frustration within me and a cry for something better. Something authentic, lacking men’s agenda and filled with the presence of God. I believe God has allowed me to experience some of these things first hand for a reason.

Having addressed some of the modern problems of the church, I also want to explore what led to the church being in the state it is today. In a previous post I have outlined briefly the way extremes react to one another and how basically, the enemy is comfortable with any extremes, no matter which side of the pendulum they’re on. He uses extremes against the balanced plan of God and if people tire of a particular extreme movement, he simply drives them to the opposite extreme. Movements in Religion are no exception. As long as it is not the balanced plan of God, he is fine with it. 

I believe this is a large part of what we are seeing as it pertains to the hyper grace movement and the tolerance movement within the modern church. Basically we are seeing many portions of the church becoming very lax morally. This to the point that it is hard to distinguish a believer from a non-believer many times based on an observation of life-style. Many times all that sets apart a believer from a non-believer are basic religious functions. 

But if we turn back the clock several decades—perhaps half a century—we would be able to find part of the reason for this. I believe a spirit of religion dominated the church in recent generations. A seductive spirit that caused people to become inflexible, intolerant and prideful due to religious performance, or denominational affiliation. It manifested in various forms depending on denomination, but basically, some form of legalism was practiced not in line with the plan of God and was practiced in the raising of children.

Just based on anecdotal evidence, I think many secular millennials and the generation prior, attribute their lack of faith to a bad experience in church early in life. Stern demands were made and when they were not met, harsh consequences were dished out. Many people ended up with a corrupt view of God and began to seek a remedy. No one wants to live under the constant pressure of believing it is almost impossible to please God. It would be much easier to live with the fact that it is completely impossible. But making it almost impossible is like dangling bait in front of someone from a distance and moving the bait every time someone gets a small nibble. It is never quite enough, but it can be almost enough. Close enough to keep trying and keep being miserable. 

If a person is put under this illusion, they will many times quit the faith altogether. Otherwise, they might instead pursue a licentious gospel that is watered-down and lukewarm, since here at least it is a popular belief that pleasing God is simply one short prayer away. One can attempt to soothe a weary conscience for quite some time under this illusion and forget about the righteous demands of a holy God. This is simply the result of the harassment from a spirit of religion from a different angle.   

I have personally experienced both extremes and have found both to be very unsatisfactory. Let’s be aware of these cycles. If we are not careful, we end up as chaff, blown this way and that at the enemy’s whim. Let’s have an accurate view of God and His plan, according to His word, not according to how we’ve been treated or what movement is popular.

Let’s put aside man’s agendas, no matter what they may be and seek God’s face earnestly. Repenting with a whole heart of all that has stained us in the sight of a just and holy God and allowing His power within us to overflow in righteousness, having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. There is so much life, so much power, so much blessing available to the honest heart that seeks God. Let’s allow sin to grieve us—but only for the purpose of repentance and healing. Let’s allow the joy of God to overflow in us—but let’s not mistake sensual pleasures for this joy. Let everything be rooted in and measured by the Word of God.

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