All religious spirits keep you out of the supernatural realm of the Holy Spirit; they don’t mind you attending religious buildings, promoting religious works or doing good, just as long as you’re not “doing” God! See it’s so easy to recognise that evil can cause you harm, but in (Gen 2:17), God says the knowledge of good can also cause us spiritual death and that’s where religious spirits try and take you. A good example of this was once when I met an Asian guy in church, who was from a Buddhist background and quite new to Christianity, and he shared with me how he was getting disheartened, because he’d spent most of his life praying to Buddha for “good luck” and never felt that he’d received anything, but now he’s come into a church to try out God, and although he’d prayed and received lots of prayer, he said that he still hadn’t felt or received anything from a higher power.
The problem was that he’d spent most of his life just doing religion, trying and striving to be a good person and praying for good luck, but now applying the same principles of his religious practice in a different building, trying out a different God to see if it improved his odds. So I explained that he wouldn’t receive anything through prayer until he renounced his Buddhist religion and fully embraced that Jesus was the only way to God, and eventually, through some ministry time, he decided to ditch his religion for relationship and asked for some prayer.
Well, during the prayer time he started to shake violently. Then all of a sudden he flew forward about ten feet onto the ground, then rolled over onto his back. But the bizarre thing was that now, only the left half of his body was shaking, as in right down the middle! Like one arm and one leg! Then very slowly the shaking arm elevated into an L shape, while the hand formed the Mudra with his thumb and forefinger, a symbolic hand gesture used as the mark of Buddha, and eventually he let out a scream and came back to normal. I’d never seen anything like it and when I asked him what happened, he said that he’d witnessed God and Buddha fighting and God won! I had to smile; as it was only just previously that he’d said nothing happens when people pray for him. See, that religious spirit didn’t mind him attending church and doing religion, but it did mind him coming into the truth about Jesus.
See, all religious spirits try to make you do what only God can do. When we subconsciously or unintentionally turn His ability into our responsibility, sometimes that’s all it takes to interfere with our Spiritual discernment. For example, when we see God do something amazing through us, the problem starts if we think that we must have earned it through our behaviour or works. I’ve fallen into this trap myself with that thought “well I must be in a great place because God used me”, but if you ever start to move out of your humility and dependency upon Him you will create the perfect conditions for a spirit of pride or elitism. Instead of making judgements by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 2:15), we will unintentionally make judgements out of pride and elitism, and the Devil is very good at creating perfect scenarios to try and move you from God’s ability into your own ability.
I learned this valuable lesson from someone whom the Lord placed on my heart to walk with, a great guy who was carrying some emotional scarring that caused him some dysfunctional behaviour and, through some ministry time and prayer led by the Holy Spirit, I started to witness some great success in him overcoming some of his mind-sets. But it seemed that he would only allow himself to go so far. All of a sudden, he would ask for more help but then do the total opposite! And my disappointment in him not receiving how I thought he should, eventually led me to striving in my own ability to try and make him overcome his stuff, and in taking on all the responsibility for him, the frustration and disappointment just caused all of my peace to leave.
See, the Lord gave me the grace for him and my ONLY responsibility was to share what the Holy Spirit had given me for him and then the grace for him lifted as I fulfilled God’s plan. See, how he receives that which is given by the Spirit is his responsibility, but I’d made it mine and allowed a “spirit of false responsibility” access, causing me to lose my peace and thus allowing this religious spirit to interfere with my discernment. So every time he kept asking me what he needed to do, instead of just flowing in receiving and delivering that of the Holy Spirit, I just ministered what “I” thought he needed to do! Funny how before we give our lives to God we can’t change a single thing about ourselves except by the Holy Spirit, yet that spirit of false responsibility actually gives the delusion that we can change people by our own religious works, which in fact is impossible and can be controlling, and thus can allow a spirit of control a legal entrance too. See how these religious spirits work together and create an even bigger delusion for people operating and believing that it’s their responsibility to control people through their own hard efforts of working for God.
Eventually this guy’s life circumstances changed and he was forced to learn lessons in responsibility which finally led to his change of mind-sets and a year down the line he asked me again for some more help, and with his change of mind-sets, his ability to act on the revelations received by the Holy Spirit enhanced, which led to massive breakthroughs in him overcoming his dysfunctional behavioural issues that had previously restricted him. Funnily enough the guy and myself learnt a great deal from each other and ended up becoming good friends.
See, as we yield to the Holy Spirit and put on the new man, we cease from trying and striving to work for Him in our own ability and rest in His ability.
Heb 4:10 “For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.”
And by this we allow Him to work through us by our faith just as Jesus did. In fact when Jesus knew his friend Lazarus was dying, He received instruction from the Father that Lazarus was to be resurrected and that the Son of God may be glorified through it, and Jesus believed it by faith. Then He did exactly what the Father told Him to do by faith, which was nothing!
He didn’t act on natural emotions or people’s needs. In fact it wasn’t until two days later when He received from His Father that He then went where the Father told Him to go by faith, moving in the consciousness of God rather than the consciousness of pleasing people, need or guilt ,and the very first thing spoken to him as He got there was “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died”, and “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?” But undeterred by the natural, He continued to do His Father’s will and spoke what the Father told Him to say by faith, and that which looked impossible in the natural realm was made manifest by moving in faith in the supernatural realm of the Spirit and fulfilled God’s purpose.
See, Jesus went where the Father told Him to go by faith, said what the Father told Him to say by faith and did what the Father told Him to do by faith. In fact (Jn 5:30) Jesus said, “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.”
It’s such a shame that there are so many churches that once were established by people moving in the Holy Spirit and are now falling away for a lack of recognition of these religious spirits. Once a leadership has embracing these religious spirits that cause the delusion that nothing works without them, the anointing lifts with their spiritual discernment, oblivious to the fact that He has actually “resisted” and so continue with their own church programme, which will probably look good but will be solely created out of striving in man-power instead of allowing God’s, trying to make you do what only God can do.
Here’s another example of a religious spirit I came across that produces trying and striving. This one subtly diverts people away from believing their identity in Christ. The Lord revealed it to me while I was praying for a woman I knew from church. While praying, He showed me a picture of an English army helmet from the Second World War, and when I asked the Holy Spirit what it meant, He gave me the words “repetitive declaration” and then I was filled with a knowing that this was a spirit of false warfare. So when I mentioned this, the lady confessed that every day she felt the need to fulfil her “ritual” of declaring who she was in Christ and, at first hearing, this to the natural ear sounds a good thing, but a child never has to remind itself and declare whom its parents are; a child knows its parents by its relationship. There are times when the Holy Spirit may lead you in your relationship with Him to declare a thing and do spiritual warfare and then we must believe by faith for the accomplishment, which is completely different to a repetition of the same words every day, that sound good in our own effort (Mt 6:7). I think most people will have felt the heaviness in meetings where people give their perfectly rehearsed religious prayers that are not orchestrated by the Holy Spirit, but as I said, the anointing doesn’t operate in our own strength; the anointing comes on what He does through us, when we are in Him. So after ministering and praying with her, she suddenly felt something rising up inside her and she just gave a light cough, almost like she released a breath of air, and immediately she felt the peace and presence of the Holy Spirit, which she confessed that she hadn’t felt for some time.
See how these religious spirits work together to divert and distract people away from their true gifts and callings and create the perfect conditions to make people think that they need to qualify themselves through their own efforts, which will eventually allow a qualifying spirit legal access. These spirits can cause some real despair, giving the delusion that you need to qualify or in some cases the delusion that you have disqualified. I’ve experienced this myself where once Jesus showed me through a series of dreams that, although I thought I had righteous grounds, I needed to be careful not to disrespect my father. He warned me that by doing this I would be affecting the flow of the anointing (1 Jn 2:3-7, Mt 19:19, Eph 4) and put myself into the Devil’s snare. So you’d think being warned four times of this trap that I wouldn’t fall for it, but those perfect conditions arose and I failed miserably. I humbly repented, but I was so disappointed in myself that I couldn’t really receive that God wouldn’t be disappointed in me too, and after a little while I just felt as though God had lifted His peace and presence.
This went on for about six weeks. I ended up going down for every altar call and never felt any different, until one week when the associate pastor offered to pray for me. He took me into a quiet room and, to be honest, I wasn’t really expecting anything to happen, but then all of a sudden I felt something rise up inside me, from deep in my gut, and as it travelled up to my throat, I just gave a light cough, almost just like releasing a breath of air. Well, immediately I felt the peace and presence of the Holy Spirit! And I was so excited that I leaped out of my seat as I shouted, “He’s back! He’s back!!”
See, when I messed up and repented, I was forgiven (1 Jn 1:9), but because I was in denial I couldn’t receive forgiveness, and thus allowed legal access for a qualifying spirit to enter. It’s these religious spirits that quench the Holy Spirit and try to make you think that you need to qualify to be acceptable to God and, thankfully, I received prayer from someone moving under the anointing to remove that spirit, but the truth is that you can’t un-qualify from something that you never qualified for in the first place! As I left the associate pastor and walked back into the main hall, a guy brought his girlfriend to me for prayer. I had to smile; ten minutes earlier I felt completely disqualified and now I felt back on fire again. I placed my hand upon her shoulder and before I could say “in the name of Jesus” she was on the floor convulsing! The startled boyfriend kneeled down beside her to comfort her and when I placed my hand upon his shoulder, he went out in the Spirit too! Both of them were now rolling around on the floor coughing up unclean spirits! See how these religious spirits stop you from moving in the Holy Spirit. A father doesn’t exclude his child for stumbling, as it tries to learn how to walk! Especially if we acknowledge that we’ve stumbled, so how much more grace has our heavenly Father for His sons and daughters. If you ever feel that you need to qualify in any way then you will never move in the fullness of the new man (Eph 4:17-25, Col 3:12-18).
So ultimately these religious spirits lead people away from the realm of the Holy Spirit and abort their true gifts and callings, leaving themselves wide open to wrong directions, usually from the people they look up to and class as mature. But the truth is He qualified everyone exactly the same and there’s nothing we can do ourselves except by yielding to His Spirit and allowing Him to move through our faith by our obedience in love for Him. So if anyone who recognizes that they have lost His peace and overridden the will of the Holy Spirit, they are capable of repentance and getting free by receiving prayer from people who are moving under the anointing, to get delivered and backtrack to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
1 Jn2:27 “But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.”
See, you are yoked to Him, not a denomination. You are His church, equally qualified by Jesus and where you congregate is meant to facilitate the flowing of the Holy Spirit, build each other up and bring glory to God.
1 Cor 14:26 “Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification… 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged.”
So yes, there are many different gifts and there are prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers in the body but when you hear them minister you have to listen to the Spirit of truth within you and He will witness to their teachings and make you aware what is of the Spirit and what is out of the flesh. See, you can’t serve Him unless you yield out of love in your childlike ability to fellowship with Him, then as He puts His desires in your heart His burden is light, as in easy. So don’t pass on religion, pass on only what He wants you to offer through you.
Mt 11:28 “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Kevin Dexter, Derby UK