January 16, Saturday

REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, written by Pastor Sam Lee who leads Catalyst Agape Church in Northern New Jersey, was first posted on December 5, 2013.  He is a graduate of University of Wisconsin (BA) and Biblical Theological Seminary (M.Div.).

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“Combatting the Religious Spirit”

Matthew 12:1-13

At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!” 3 But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: 4 how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? 6 Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. 7 But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” 9 Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. 10 And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—that they might accuse Him. 11 Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? 12 Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other. 14 Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.

Religious spirit is a demonic spirit that wages war against our identity in Christ, Christ work on the cross, and freedom and love in the body of Christ. It is a demonic spirit that influences us to do the work of ministry without intimate relationship with Christ. It operates so we function in the church without loving relationship with one another. It is a spirit that plagues us to either fill you with guilt and condemnation, so you never feel good enough, or it plagues you to look down on others because you think you are better than others. 

Religious spirit influences the people in the church to do the work of God out of self righteousness and self effort. It has the ability to make someone believe they are holy when they are in bondage. Religious spirit will make you become stuck in sin, shame, guilt, and pride. 

This evil spirit comes clothed in human righteousness but not God’s righteousness. Throughout history people wrongly admire people operating under this spirit’s influence; instead of rebuking it, we lift it up as a model to emulate. 

Let’s come together today and break its power. Let’s spend some time in confession and repentance. Let’s come together representing the church and ask God for forgiveness. Ask the Lord to cleanse His church from this evil spirit. Spend some time humbling ourselves before God. Break down the foundation of self and ask God to replace it with foundation of grace, love, and His righteousness. 

Prayer:  Dear Father, we know that one positive way to war against religious spirit is to proclaim the work of Jesus Christ in our live and in our churches. So now, I proclaim my love for the Lord, for His church, and for my community! Thank You, Lord. Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 18-19

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