Something happened to me the past two weeks that has shifted everything about my life. My husband has even asked me every day if I am alright. And I would say, yes. Then about the 10th time I said… I think I know why you are wondering if I’m alright… it’ because something has changed about me he’s not used to. I have finally entered into the peace and rest of God. My husband never saw this before, he’s watching me enjoy life like never before. I’m actually sitting in the backyard watching the birds. I’m actually watching a movie without doing 20 other things at the same time. There isn’t a busy nervousness about me any more. My mind isn’t rushing and filled with thoughts of “what I need to do!” I have to truly say that I have entered into His rest! And in His rest there is no drivenness.
What took place was this. I was having a conversation with my husband and he said something to me, I frankly can’t remember what he said, but something inside me jumped. I could feel something rising to the surface, not anger, just something not comfortable. I wanted to scream, run, but I knew it wasn’t me. It was something in me that was coming up and I know from ministry, that it has to go. Not knowing what it was, we just kept talking to see if we could talk it out. So I told it to GO!. My husband agreed with me. Then what happened next was no short of a miracle. I got quiet inside. Whatever was there, was truly gone. And once it left I was able to name it! It was a “religious spirit.”
So what is a religious spirit? If you feel like you aren’t doing enough “spiritual” things in your life, if you feel guilty for not being perfect, if you just feel bad all the time, if you have a hard time resting, if you are driven to be loved, if you feel pushed and manipulated by others, if you are hard on yourself because you keep messing up, if you have a hard time forgiven yourself, if you have a hard time believing God loves you just the way you are, if you are competitive with others and even yourself, if you have any jealousies of other’s successes… then you have a religious spirit. See, these were ALL me. And how tormenting is that?? Well, I can say that these things are now gone! Completely!!! I even tried to make myself FEEL guilty for working on my yard… well I couldn’t.
See the Lord told me that I am now just being. I am not being driven to do anything! Now I have a choice, because of what I want to do by following His lead, not to “do” to get something from others. See, faith leads, fear pushes… and with that spirit went the spirit of fear that pushed me. Pushed me to try to be loved and accepted by others. Well, that is gone too. In my ministry, I teach on love and forgiveness. I have been doing that one message for the past 14 years… and I do get a lot out of those teachings myself. So God had been working on me all along, So when this spirit was identified in its true form, and it left, the love that I had been seeking from God came to light! I felt it more, I saw it more clearly. That its okay to enjoy the fruit of my labors.
I’ve been in ministry for 18 years, and the last 5 years full-time. There was NO time for me to take care of my home, family or friends. I was consumed with writing, ministry, etc. That consumption was not godly! I am to be consumed only with God and His love for me, so that I have it to give to others. Not in a bunch of works. Now, those things were good, but with a religious spirit behind some of it, was very tormenting and exhausting. So now I can write a book because I want to write the book, for the glory of God! Now I can teach a class, not to be loved and admired, but for the glory of God. A religious spirit wants us to take the glory from God… we don’t say it out loud, but we sure would like to be appreciated and thanked… that is a religious spirit! As a matter of fact, I understand now why we are to “do things in secret” for others, it’s so that “we” won’t be tempted to want the glory!
Let’s just say it like it is and be honest with ourselves. As a minister of almost 20 years now… God is still cleaning the edges, purging the dross… I won’t be complete until He calls me home. And so know that we all have areas God is working on. This was mine. And now I am free from it.
Since that day I have been able to re-stain my deck, make a bird sanctuary, clean my house, etc… that I haven’t really done much before because it wasn’t “spiritual” enough. I remember saying that to my husband and he asked, “spiritual enough for who??” Hmm…. That really made me think! See, I was fooling myself… because those things are just as important as teaching the Word. Because I need to also be a good steward of what He has given me. And I wasn’t. Since that religious spirit is gone, I can actually enjoy cleaning my house, watching an old movie, making cookies, visiting friends, seeing my family, without GUILT! If you have any guilt whatsoever… it’s from a religious spirit.
If you want help in this area to get free… call on God. Ask Him to show you if you have a religious spirit…or if you have any of these signs as I did, then tell it to Go… yes, you can do it! Then thank God for freeing you – by faith, AND for Him loving you. Drink in His love at that point to replace where that spirit left so you are ever filled… We need to be ever filled with God so that there is no room for it to return, and we have what we need to live our lives victoriously.
“… He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, He restores my soul…” Let’s make this a life-style… by entering into His rest and care, we are trusting Him with our lives, our family, our ministry. We please Him by trusting Him… and with that trust we can “be.” What has He truly required of us? To love and believe and receive. Let’s keep the gospel simple.. shall we?