As today began this question came to mind. It caused me to remember a friend coming to me to talk and get some wisdom and advice. I remember him says “you seem to be a religious person” to which I responded, “what do you mean religious?” As I have learned and been living in relationship with Jesus and heard about religious spirits and religious rituals and routines, when or if someone tries to label me as religious I tend to ask for clarification. Being called religious I discovered is a trigger word for me.
From the blessing of learning that it isn’t about rituals and routines but rather Christianity being about a true relationship with Jesus, anything outside of that raises a concern as I don’t to be mislabeled. From the blessing of getting to read God’s Word in various translations, orders, and studies, knowing what God says about religious spirits has helped create in me an awareness and a desire for others to no it goes beyond rules and regulations, it goes beyond rituals and routines, it goes to relationships and relationships built upon the foundation of love! Love for God first and then love for our neighbors too.
When I hear the question or comment about being religious part of the reason I respond or get triggered is that God’s Word speaks of religious spirits are more interested in judgment than forgiveness! They seem to be more interested in watching people pay or be punished for their mistakes or wrongdoing than getting to see those same people (we are supposed to be loving) turn back to God, repent, and receive the forgiveness and grace of God. For this reason if someone asked or describes me as religious I tend to have the hair on the back of my neck go up and become defensive or at least inquisitive about what they mean or are seeing, so that I can make sure that I am helping them realize it is about a relationship and also correct either the perception or the reality if there are times or places when a religious spirit does rear its head from me.
Religious spirits are demons or like demons! If you spot someone who has a religious spirit in them, you will probably spot someone who are judgmental, self-righteous, prideful, critics, legalistic, perfectionists, divisive, erroneous in their interpretation of the truth, filled with or respond with unbelief or disbelief, doubtful, confused and confusing, argumentative, more focused on works to achieve salvation than Jesus and serving or working for His glory, filled with or tries to cause feelings of guilt, condemns (even though we know that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus), fearful of losing salvation, sacred of God rather than being in awe of God (the fear of God is the beginning of understanding, that doesn’t mean we need to be unhealthily scared of God, but more in awe and reverence of God), and tend to be very intolerant.
So let’s not get stuck on or focused on useless religion or religious spirits! Let’s grab hold of the reality of God’s calling on our lives through Jesus Christ and look to control out actions and behaviors! Let’s work to control our words and be aware of and ask Jesus to help cleanse our hearts because outburst are like the lights on the dashboard, warning us about something going on in our hearts. For out of the heart the mouth speaks! Let’s not discredited or be discredited by how we respond or speak, but instead let’s choose to live out our today in a way that will glorify God in Jesus’s name. Let’s take hold of true religion and love God and love our neighbors, taking care of the orphans and widows, the outcast and unlovable, being people who look to make a difference in the lives of others for the glory of God rather than for selfish desires. Let’s walk out our today’s in relationship with Jesus! Let’s be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger! Let’s be quick to try and understand before responding or attacking or causing something that could be detrimental to the door to God being opened in someone else’s life.
Are you ready? Let’s let God in so that we can live out today in a way that will glorify Him! Let’s pray without ceasing, talking with Him throughout our days like a close friend! Let’s invite the Holy Spirit to help clean out our hearts so that what comes out of our mouths will be glorifying to God!
The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard
for August 26th
MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:
‘If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. ‘James 1:26
This is an interesting piece of text, let’s expand a bit on this to make sure we get a better context:
‘Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.’James 1:21-27
POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
- Ever realized all the connections that take place in your body?
- Remember as a kid singing the songs about the connected bones?
- Ever considered on a more spiritual basis how the heart is connected to the mouth?
- Ever considered how the mouth is like the lights on your dashboard to let you know how your heart is doing?
- Do you realize that from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks?
- Do you realize the power of the words that come out of your mouth to build up and to tear down?
- Do you realize the power of the words that come out of your mouth to bless and to curse?
- Do you realize the power of the words that come out of your mouth to heal and to destroy?
- Do you realize the power of the tongue? Ever checked out the proverbs and other readings about both the power of the tongue as well as the importance of trying to control it?
- So as you speak, what are the words you are using saying about the content of your heart?
- So as you speak, what is the tone of your voice saying about the content of your heart?
- Does it point to alignment with God because you are speaking with warmth, forgiveness, acceptance, and wisdom?
- Does it point to a religious spirit as described earlier in this post?
- Let’s not be deceiving ourselves as today’s verse warns us.
- Let’s not be living our lives with a useless religion!
- Let’s check our hearts!
- Let’s check the condition of our heart!
- Since religion is supposed to put us in contact with God, the last thing we want is to have a broken connection.
- Remember those shows “you’re breaking up…static…static…” when they were trying to talk on the old cell phone in a low connectivity area? or the “can you hear me now?” commercials?
- God’s desire is for us to be connected! God’s desire is for us to live in His presence! God’s desire is to help us transform our lives!
- That transformation is visible when we are able to control our tongue!
- That transformation is missing when our tongue goes off and starts shooting and hurting everywhere around us.
- Have you received and accepted the truth of the promises of Jesus?
- Have you received and accepted the reality of Jesus into your heart?
- Are you living connected and in relationship with Jesus?
- If not then could today be your day to get started?
- Could today be your day to have this new beginning and connection with and through Jesus?
- Are you ready to have your heart softened and healed by inviting Jesus into it?
- Are you ready to have God work on your heart and help get it cleaned up and cleaned out?
- He knows what you have been through and what you are going through. Are you ready to let Him in to help?
- Are you ready to have your heart to mouth connection fixed up so that you don’t get to the end and find out that this “religion” you thought you were living turns out to be a “useless religion”?
- The choice is yours! You get a free choice on how you will move forward! The decision is yours!
DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
- What does your speech in the past twenty-four hours indicate about the content of your heart?
- What changes need to be made so that your religion isn’t useless?
QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
Today’s reading from Tanakh:
So where are you at today? Are you aware of Jesus? Are you learning about Jesus? Are you connected to Jesus? Are you able to live your life without a religious spirit? Are you able to live your life in relationship with Jesus? Do you want to reconnect or get connected with God through Jesus? Let’s pray:
Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?
Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?