Sunday, January 17, 2010

Religious Spirit (Part II)

By Odon Bulamba (21 February 2003)

Romans 10:2; I can testify about them that they are zealous for God but their zeal is not based on knowledge.

This is the first characteristic of the religious spirit, those who have this spirit have wonderful courage, love God’s word and have good Christian actions, but when they do something they put aside God’s knowledge.

Example; I am here with my children and one of them steals. When another child tells me that my child is stealing I will accuse that child for accusing my child for stealing. The child you talked to will never tell you again that your child has done wrong.

The spirit that God gave us always talks to us, but we are the first ones to take authority against that Spirit and shut up Spirit of God or shut up the conscience. I want to this, and the Spirit of God and the conscience must stay silent.

With the religious spirit, we are Christians when we meet together to share God’s word, but when we separate some of us will speak to others as if we are not Christian. Example, We wives know that each woman must love her husband, and to accept him as a husband. The Bible says in Ephesians 5 that a wife must submit to her husband as to the Lord, so do you wives submit to your husbands or do you consider him as a toy or friend? Sometimes some women compare their husbands to children.

Many people want to work for God and will even ask other brothers and sister to pray for them, “God I want your hand to touch me,” they have zeal but when it comes to knowledge they are hindered by darkness. Although they have eyes they cannot see, and with this religious spirit it will prevent them from seeing the truth.

When Michael comes to you and says it is written in God’s word my dear friend this and that, you will say, “I know that!” With darkened knowledge we want to take God’s place in explaining this knowledge.

There was a Pastor who fell into a sin, and when he fell into this sin one of his sheep went to see him. This sheep said to the Pastor, “Pastor, I know you are zealous for God and I’m afraid to tell this because you are God’s servant, but the Bible says we must help one another, so I ask you Pastor to change this.” Do you know what the Pastor did? He dropped his Bible and said, “If God exists then let Him be the judge between me and you?” This sheep felt intimidated and started shaking, “forgive me Pastor if I have done wrong but I felt in my heart that I must tell you,” and the Pastor said, “do you know how long I’ve been a Pastor? Don’t you acknowledge my experience? Don’t you know that God anointed me? Be careful because God might punish you like He punished Miriam who spoke against her brother Moses.”

This brother started crying and asking for the Pastor to forgive him. The one who came to help the Pastor was put into confusion by intimidation. The Pastor didn’t accept his forgiveness and said he wasn’t part of the church anymore. In the morning the Pastor excommunicated and condemned this man in front of everybody, a curse was on this brother. Imagine, this is the spirit of religion.

This Pastor hadn’t realised the value of one soul before God. When we do things as Christians is our knowledge enlightened or not? When we are outside of our fellowship is it real or not? If not then we must observe ourselves.

James 4:6 says that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble

We still have this grace with us and it is enough, but sometimes we ignore it. Maybe it is because we don’t know what grace is; maybe we don’t have time to meditate on this Word grace although we confess everyday that we live in a time of grace but we don’t know what it is, maybe it is like a baby trying to speak?

Many Christians confess the word grace but don’t know its meaning or origin, they don’t even know why God gave grace to man, and if you don’t know about grace then you won’t know its importance. Once a person receives God’s grace and knows it, they will live a wonderful life, but if you don’t know grace, then you are like a man who looks at gold and thinks it’s just a stone.

The word of God says that God is always against proud people, and when James is talking here he speaks to those who know God. A lot of Christians on this earth are proud one way or another. Maybe they are proud because of their marriage or maybe they are proud because of their children. Sometimes we influence our children to become proud.

In the Christian life we too can despise others thinking they don’t know anything, and sometimes we walk on them. You can accept what Oscar says but not Steve, this is the spirit of religion. Sometimes when the Spirit of God speaks about the truth we as Christians always want to quench this truth, and before God we prove to be proud.

What is the dictionary’s definition of pride? Pride is a small word that is often associated with the world, but this word has brought a lot of evil into the church of God. Pride is a feeling of satisfaction, which you have because you or your people close to you have done something good or possessed something good. First of all pride is a feeling, a bitter feeling, it is not a feeling of joy, it is not a feeling of knowledge but a feeling of bitterness, it is not a feeling controlled by anyone else but the person who is feeling it, and last of all this feeling always works when there are people around.

Some Christians say it is their nature, “I was born that way, and I can’t change”. I don’t think there has been a child who was born proud, I don’t think there has been a child who was born a thief, but many Christians say this is their way or our churches way.

Question. You talked about culture being an influence on us; the example you gave us was when people go onto a Marae. My question is; as Christians, is it bad to follow to the protocols of certain cultures, for example the Maori culture?

1 Corinthians 11:16 says that if anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice nor do the churches of God.

We don’t have other customs, and when we don’t have other customs we become a new family. It is not for nothing that we are called children of God, so we must follow God’s customs. It is not bad to be invited onto a Marae, I can also follow the bereavement ceremony but when you have to follow certain conditions which you don’t know, be careful, you might adore what you don’t know.

I’ll give you an example: There was a famous servant of God who was invited to see the Pope, and because he is regarded as a holy father he had to kneel down and walk on his knees. Before he did this he had to have a piece of fabric cut from his pants, but he didn’t know why, so he asked, “why do we have to do all of this?” The answer was, “Everybody who went to see the Pope had to do it” but he didn’t accept it because he didn’t see the purpose. When we belong to God we have to ask ourselves before doing anything, does this belong to the family of God or not? If it doesn’t belong to God’s family then don’t do it because you might adore what you don’t know.

The Maoris have gods and the Marae is considered a holy place, you have to be very disciplined and quiet, you don’t play at a Marae the way you would play at your house; this is adoration. When you put something on top of yourself or equal to God, automatically you start adoring. If a Maori brother or sister is going through bereavement, what will they say if I ask them why are you going to a Marae? It is our culture and custom. I am already informed that what I am invited to is their culture or custom, so I must think if this custom pleases God or not? Why not teach them about God’s culture? (Reference to Romans 14).

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