Saturday, January 16, 2010

Religious Spirit (Part I)

By Odon Bulamba (21 February 2003)

Our God always works and never sleeps. although our prayers are short He listens to them, although we think He doesn’t answer, He does. God is not far from us.

We are going to talk about the religious spirit to discover who we are, and to know whether or not we do things according to God or our human nature. Sometimes the religious spirit brings confusion into the lives of Christians. When we speak about the religious spirit in the church it is a spirit that enters Christians and is disguised. This spirit gives work for them to do and they think they are working for God’s glory, but they are working for another power that opposes God’s strength.

When you observe these religious Christians you will discover they are not Christians. This spirit is not from today or yesterday but it started a long time ago. This spirit stops the work of God in Christian life, and it tells Christians they are perfect. Many Christians don’t like to hear about this spirit because it threatens them, but dear brothers and sisters we are going to talk about this spirit to make ourselves ready for heaven and prepare ourselves to be workers for God.

There is nothing worse in Christian life than to hear a message knowing that the preacher knows your problem, I will never do this. It is like taking the Bible and preaching about Colleen’s life. Why not preach the Word of God? Why not glorify God instead of talking about Colleen’s life? When we talk about the religious spirit put aside the thought that the Word of God preached was for Peter or Angela or someone else I know, but I will say it again we are here to be enlightened about our own life on earth.

What is Religion? Religion is human tradition and human belief. Do we have the word religion in the Bible? When we talk about the Pharisees you will find the word religion, when you talk about the Sadducees you will find the word religion. But when it is about Christians who were brought up in spirit and truth, this word religion disappears completely. If I called Angela a Pharisee, will she be happy? No, because they were hypocrites, proud and arrogant. The Pharisees knew the law very well and studied it seriously, but hypocrisy and arrogance was with them also. Even though the law they studied didn’t allow for hypocrisy and arrogance, they were hypocritical and arrogant without knowing it. The Pharisee culture made them like this.

Not long ago a Maori man went to the United States, and as you know Maori greet one another by the pressing of the two noses. However, when it came to greeting an American man he tried to greet him but the American kept his distance. Then the Maori man knew he was outside of his country. How did the American man interpret this form of greeting?

In Arab countries it is normal for men and women to kiss each other 4 or 5 times when greeting one another. But when this Maori man wanted to greet his American friend, the American said, “No, we will be called names.” This culture placed in another country becomes something that doesn’t honour man, and it is the same with the religious spirit.

The religious spirit, is a spirit that grows in the little characters we have in the Christian life. We say, “if I do that it’s o.k”. It’s like a child, for example a child might run and tell me that he is a good boy, “I’m not like Zoe, I’m so good that there is nobody like me.” As a parent I will say, “it’s good, but is it good for that child to believe that, won’t it lead him to accuse someone else even if they haven’t done anything wrong”. If the child does something good I will appreciate it, but if I appreciate another child while the first one is there how, will the first child feel if he believes that he is always the best. He will not like it and might even hate the second child. Because the first child was not the one given honour or praise he will take some distances from his friend, this friendship will turn into hatred. This is just a simple example to help you to understand that Christians live in such an environment.

I knew a few people in my life that used to say, “why can’t I preach like Oscar, when he preaches people always tell him that the message was a blessing for them”. These people think, ‘why does the success go to Oscar, yesterday when I preached nobody appreciated me’. Maybe because of jealousy that person will come to my place and say, “did you listen to Oscar’s message?” Then we will criticize Oscar’s message and start now to count all his mistakes. However, if Oscar hears this later he might go away and say I’m not going to carry on praying with you because there is hatred and conflict. That’s why we can see that churches have split today.

To have this religious spirit is very easy, you just have to follow your thoughts and your thoughts will lead you to this spirit. Those who are truly called Christians don’t walk according to their culture or thoughts, they walk according to the Holy Spirit, they are led and taught by the Holy Spirit, and not by their culture or their teachers at school.

When you learn the Word of God by school or culture, and not by the Holy Spirit, you risk adding to the Word of God. Example: In the time of old in my tribe women were not allowed to eat chicken, if she did she was stoned or put to death. Although many of these women became Christians, this culture is still alive in them because they keep on telling their daughters not to eat chicken.

It’s like a Maori who dies in New Zealand, people gather together on a Marae, and whether you like it or not you must take off your shoes, why? Maybe your socks have holes, maybe your feet stink, so why ask people to take off their shoes? People make conditions but don’t know why they make them. If I ask Michelle why they take their shoes off on a Marae, she will say it is culture. If we are not precise in the little things God won’t appreciate us in the big things. The question we must ask ourselves is why do I do that? If it is a cultural thing and belongs to a tribe, does that tribe belong to God?

To go to a Marae is not bad, but if you don’t know what you are doing, refer yourself to the Bible. As Jesus said to the Pharisees, they have eyes but cannot see. Since we have the Word we must not be like a blind man leading another blind man because even a small hole can be a consequence, both of them will fall.

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