Are you susceptible to religious spirits?--(a post conspiring with the inestimable Billy Joel)

Religiosity wears a lot of hats.

Religiosity wears a lot of hats.

So, religious spirits despise humility, by the way:   because pride is what they eat and it is therefore how they survive.  

Religiosity comes from a root system meaning `to bind with rope'.  

So do you find yourself feeling bound/ "religious"?

Do you believe that what you believe is what there is to believe, period?  Lot of spiritual nuance out there, pals.

Is judgment a faster draw for you than love? 

Is it your authority that people generally need to submit to?

Do you despise immaturity? 

Are you critical of most all leadership?

Is gossip a favorite pastime?

Do you kind of feel like "we" are right and "they" are wrong?

These are fun questions, aren't they?

Religious spirits live in the realms of politics, the church and the marketplace, by the way.  Saduccees and Pharisees--one political, the latter religious.  Mammon is a marketplace religious spirit that snakes into our woodpile-beliefs about money.  They just add that little extra bit of hate/fear-fuel.

Paul said of his "we" that they were not unaware of his (the enemy's) devices; but I think actually a lot of times here in deep distractaville, we are. 

Ever been with someone really intoxicated?  Pharmakia is the drug and alcohol spirit (think wine and spirits was an accident?)--whose name originally meant the summoning of evil spirits through the use of chemicals.

Man, people get flipped out when you start talking about angels and demons and spiritual forces of wickedness and light--but they're all over Scripture and God is a Spiritual Being.  Like Jesus cast out demons.

And if there is a real enemy and I'm not just filling space here--is it possible, as USUAL SUSPECTS suggests, that one of the greatest tricks the devil ever played is convincing man that he doesn't exist..?

Because candidly, believers are His favorite targets--if he can get us bummed out at each other--people who don't know God think He is a big-jerk like some of us and some of our loveless antics.

Religious spirits are the forces of darkness that enflame our too-susceptible beliefs.  

We aren't rooted and grounded in His heart or love (as we learned at our retreat this weekend--the Book is our Life Textbook and God is Love) and so we are pretty easy targets.

I realize there is a lot I'm not even going to address is this post that may bum one out--fair enough?

But religious spirits love super secret special sauce that rhymes with "I'm right and you're stupid and wrong and Jesus loves me and you're probably going to hell."  Which really when you stop and listen past all the religious-or-spiritual-sounding, actually sounds a lot like accusation.  

Satan is called the father of lies and the accuser.  Perhaps it is no mistake that Revelation 9:11 reads They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer).

1 John 4:1 reads, Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

I discovered the word `antichrist' doesn't only mean `against' or `opposed to':  it can also mean `instead of'. 

Man, we are well-intentioned; aren't we?  But apart from His heart, we are so likely to be part of the problem because we represent Him and so if we do a schlock job of it, it makes the father of lies job easier which he is all about.

Many yrs ago I sat in the room with a minor league cult leader who was absolutely convinced that his was the way, the truth and nothing and no one but:  oodles of disqualification-y language.  You've got to say God's name a certain way and don't celebrate that and no trees for Christmas and whatever on and on.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free.  

His belief disqualified maybe ninety-eight and a half percent of believers and made me feel literally unclean (insert high-pitched Ruxin voice on repeat from The League, "Unclean, unclean!!!") to be around.

But that it isn't all "it" (Scripture says we battle not against flesh and blood but rather against spiritual forces of darkness--it wasn't him, it was the darkness/what he was agreeing with) made me feel.   It also made me feel--or as I like to say, it tempted me to feel--like I sort of wanted to Jack Bauer him in the throat a little more than just a little. 

And as I was processing what all that was about with the Holy Spirit later, He was kind to reveal to me that my own lovelessness towards that man was actually opening the door to my own religiosity called:  the need to be right/fighting back.  And He said, essentially, "You'll never win that spiritual fight by being goaded into the fight--you simply don't answer a fool according to his folly." 

#BUTLORD I had so much I wanted to say!

Mocking is a sign you may be wrestling in this arena.

Sarcasm comes from `to tear at the flesh'.

Lovelessness is one of the primary entryways.  Lack of humility is another. 

Shawn Bolz describes one of our strategies as seeing people at the end of the race with the blue ribbon in their hand.  Seeing after the spirit or seeing as God sees will always be bright with Lovingkindness regardless of the moments' seemings.    

York, right now, is practicing the nine word game-changer I touched on some posts ago three words at a time:  

quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.  Actually a great antidote to religiosity.

It turns out religious spirits love to goad other religious spirits into cage fights:  so all of a sudden instead of me disagreeing with someone from a place of honor and quietly listening to/praying for them:  I become angry, dismissive and condescending.  Dot:  Not awesome.  I not only don't invite the brightness of God into the situation, I help drive Him away by adding to the darkness--even though at the moment it seems so "true".  It may be:  it is just isn't the truth or it would move to set free.   

Remember:  where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.

Not knowing what spirit we are of wanting to call down fire on entire villages for not digging our spiritual angle is part of the spiritual immaturity and zeal package.  It is part of growing up and it is why He says WE have the mind of Christ.  Ask for help in discerning.

So:  when is my genuine smile easier than my snarky glance?

Is love easier than judgment? 

Do I see people as they could be or do I define them by their has been/are behavior? 

Am I patient? 

As a finale to ponder--the immortal Billy Joel from a record once banned on a lot of stations.  

I'm not a rousing endorser of all his Thoughts, here--but the line about her momma and prayer is the challenge I want to leave you with as it is what we ought to all be keeping an eye out for in our walks.

"Well, they showed you a statue, told you to pray
They built you a temple and locked you away
Aw, but they never told you the price that you pay
For things that you might have done
Only the good die young
That's what I said...

So come on Virginia show me a sign
Send up a signal and I'll throw you the line
The stained-glass curtain you're hiding behind
Never let's in the sun
Only the good die young...

You got a nice white dress and a party on your confirmation
You got a brand new soul
Mmm, and a cross of gold
But Virginia they didn't give you quite enough information
You didn't count on me
When you were counting on your rosary
(Oh woah woah)

They say there's a heaven for those who will wait
Some say it's better but I say it ain't
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
The sinners are much more fun
You know that only the good die young
I tell ya
Only the good die young
Only the good die young

Well your mother told you all that I could give you was a reputation
Aw she never cared for me
But did she ever say a prayer for me?

oh woah woah..."