Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Religious Spirit (Part V)

By Odon Bulamba (28 February 2003)

In Col 2:18-23
do not let anyone who delights in false humility in the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize, for such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen and his un-spiritual mind puffs him up with idol notions, he has lost connection with the head from whom the whole body supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews grows as God causes it to grow, since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world why as though you still belong to it do you submit it to rulers, do not handle, do not taste, do not touch, these are all destined to perish with use because they are based on human commands and teachings, such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom with their self imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgences.

Amen. So Jesus is asking us why we continue to live like people who are ruled by human beings. It’s true that we can do things thinking that they are in secret but in front of God there is no secret. God can see everything, he knows our lives better than we do, and when we do something God is there observing us and it’s too hard for Him sometimes because of our actions.

Paul wanted to tell us, why do we really accept to live with the rules of human beings, don’t do this, or do that or don’t touch this or that; why do we accept to live like that? If I decide once and say, “Jesus I give you my life, my life belongs to you Jesus Christ”; I think that from there I don’t have the right to lead by life anymore because it belongs to someone. I can never go to Pete’s place and put on his shoes, I have to ask first. Pete can say yes or no because those shoes belong to him, but as Christians we hardly ever ask Jesus, we don’t ask.

Before being born I was not whoever I am today. I was somewhere and God gave me that life, and when I was born I started to live but God has the right to take back my life. When I met Jesus I decided that my conscience tells me and the gospel tells me that I must give this life back to God, “God this is your life, lead me the way you want, I want really to live as a Christian I want to belong to you forever”. I’m sure that a Christian has ever told God that they want to become a Christian for only 2 months or I want to be yours Jesus for 2 years, never, everyone says I give my life to you, lead me.

So Jesus says, “o.k. sign here”, maybe you’ll sign and you give it Him. Now Jesus will start to tell you “do this, what you are doing is not correct do this, stop that”. You’ll start to say, “Jesus, what’s this? It’s too much, I can not handle it anymore, you are putting more pressure on me.” Jesus will say, “it’s my life, you have to do it”. Unfortunately many Christians at that stage forsake the Christian life and say, “no, I cannot carry on in that way I must do this, I must do what I want”.

It’s not really what they want themselves, it’s what their body wants, my body sends me to drink beer, my body sends me to smoke, my body sends me to steal, my body sends me to do something worse in Gods eyes. I will decide and say to Jesus, “no I made a mistake, I didn’t give you my life one hundred percent, maybe I’ll give you forty percent, maybe I told you Jesus that I will not steal anymore but I didn’t tell you I will never drink beer”.

Another man in Africa told us once that Jesus Himself is God and He knows that drinks are important for human-beings, he told us to enjoy life, and I can’t find my joy anywhere in this world except in the nightclub. That’s the only place I can go to find my joy because I can see people dancing, I can drink, music will be there, that’ exactly what I want. He forgot completely the joy in the Lord.

One day Jesus will come back to us and tell us to give Him a report of the life that He gave us, you’ll have to give Him feedback. Jesus will say to you, “You kept that life for a few years and when you were 25 you gave back your life to me, but I as the owner of the life, I found that I didn’t enjoy it, why did you destroy my life?” So you have to justify in front of God and at that time beer will never be there, cigarettes will never be there, whatever was pushing you to do it will not be there.

We met another man who preached to us in Kenya once. He was a brother and he told us that one day he went to meet a prostitute, and he was a servant of God. After meeting that lady, two minutes later he started to think, ‘what did I do, why am I here? I spent my money to pay that lady, I spent my time, my personality and then I disturbed the Holy Spirit in my life, who am I, am I really normal or not?’

And some people today can just spend whatever God gave to them. They use the money God gave them for useless things, they can spend their time talking about useless things, they can even spend the time just to criticise others. I can meet my sister here and say “oh, you know Colleen, she’s not a good lady, she’s like this and that”, “oh really, how do you know that”. “Brother Paul told me, he was there at that time and such things happened”. And then you’ll say “oh yeah, I know that she’s not good also, cause I can remember one day I saw such things”. Maybe you’ll spend 10 or 20 minutes talking about useless things and finally “goodbye”, “goodbye”. Why didn’t you pray for Colleen, why didn’t you say ok because she’s crossing a hard situation, why didn’t you say let’s pray so that God can help her.

But you’ll never find the time to pray for people; we are just there to know things like what’s going on in Peter’s life. “Hello Michelle, where’s Peter?” “He went to work” “is Peter working actually, where does he work, how much does he get?” You can see that we really spend our time on useless things and that’s a big fruit of the religious spirit.

When we are going to church on Sundays every Christian wants to be really clean, maybe you’ll prepare a shirt or trousers to put on and then you’ll go to church to pray with other Christians, it’s good to gather together so that you can praise your Lord, it’s not bad, but what’s your purpose when you prepare your body. Maybe I can ask that question, today is Sunday you wake up and say I have to go to church, you’ll have a shower and after that you’ll get your clothes ready and then put them on and go to church. Why are we preparing ourselves before going to church? Why do we clean our bodies, why do we put nice clothes on? What’s the reason for that? Is it culture, is it because the Bible says we have to do so, why? Peter, when you go to church why do you look really nice? Maybe you don’t know. Many people don’t think, they just think that because it’s Sunday I must be there so let me put this on. Maybe we just want people to comment and praise us.

It’s good to embellish our bodies, but our hearts also need care. You know that you are going to pray, find some time to wash your heart, to wash your soul and then try to find really nice clothes for your heart. Let your heart put on those nice clothes and then go and meet God. Human-beings will only see the physical aspect, but God will look inside you, many souls are completely naked in front of God, they are really dirty and when God is looking at them He says that they are wasting their time, they are not praying, they do not really know what they are doing, God’s presence will never touch you, never ever.

When we are praying as Christian’s we all need to hear or listen to God’s voice, we all want to feel God’s presence, we want to feel that God really touches us, everyone wants that but why don’t you hear God’s voice, why doesn’t God touch you? That’s the first question every Christian must ask himself. When I’m praying sometimes I can have some feeling, sometimes I can listen to God talk to me, sometimes even God touches me, sometimes I can even see things, but sometimes also there is nothing, I can pray for 2 or 3 months. The book of Acts tells us that God is not far, He’s here at this moment, why doesn’t he touch us if He’s here, it’s not hard for God just to raise up His hand and start to touch everyone among us, it’s a matter of one second, but why doesn’t He do it? The main thing is because of the religious spirit.

When Paul was called Saul and he met Jesus for the first time he discovered that he was living that religious spirit, he was doing things thinking that he was acting on behalf of God but he discovered that what he was doing was not from God it was from himself and the people who were sending him. So from that day Paul accepted that he was nothing, he recognised that he was not acting on God’s behalf, and God touched him. So we are here and God can touch us also if we will recognise that we have something wrong in our lives, and that thing in our lives that is wrong is maybe criticising others, maybe it’s pride, maybe it’s abusing people or God, we have just small things and those small things can make us become useless in front of God and God will never and ever talk to us.

We have some insects called termites, which eat timber. They are really small, they are not strong, they do not even have bones but they can start to eat timbers and finish them while with my teeth, which are stronger, I cannot eat the timber unless I want to break my teeth. But those small insects will start to eat them slowly but surely and then you’ll sit on the chair and fall, meaning that Satan doesn’t use strength because he’s weak, but if we’ll give him the chance he’ll come into our lives and start to eat slowly.

For example, you can know something in the Bible like Jesus who healed a blind man. Someone will ask you where it is in the Bible. You don’t know, however, two years ago, you knew where it was written in the Bible. You can start to lose little by little small things and ten years later someone can give a story from the Bible and it’ll become like a new story for you, you’ll start to doubt, is it really a new story or not. Sometimes a preaching can become like a story you’ve heard for the first time while someone actually preached that story ten years ago. Why is that? It is because we are not feeding our spirits, we are not reviewing what we are learning, Satan is there and will start to eat what we receive and then we’ll lose.

Once termites eat something it is impossible to replace it, it’s not easy. When someone loses Jesus Christ in their life and goes far away, Satan will not give you the chance to come back easily. The Bible says that if someone had 7 evil spirits and are cast out of his life and he gives those spirits a chance to come back into his life, 49 evil spirits will return.

So you’ll now see that Christians are living worse lives than pagans. Pagans believe it’s better to live the way that I am instead of living like you. At court, in our society, pagans can say that if I see what Christians are doing it’s better to live the way that I am. This is because the spirit that doesn’t belong to God leads us and we are out of line.

We must really pray for our souls. To pray for others is not bad but we have to pray for ourselves, “God, do I really belong to You or not? Jesus, help me to understand, the spirit that’s leading me, is it your spirit or not, whatever I’m doing on this earth does it please you or not?” I know that God is good; no one will say that I don’t know if I’m a good person or a bad person, no one. Everyone knows whether the actions they do please God or not. Your conscience will tell you what you are doing is not good, your mind will even tell you this is not good, but your body will push you to carry on.

So we have to tell God that before everything I ask you to help me so that I can be able to overcome the temptation of my body. That is the first thing, tell God, “I want really your help, your help is to make me overcome what my body is pushing me to do, I accepted to die with you and I rose up with you, I gave my life to you so why is my body leading me instead of you? Jesus, help me to understand how we can lead people.” Then you’ll hear and listen to His voice, Jesus will talk to you, you will know what you are doing is not good, come back to Him. He’ll talk to you and you’ll reply and you’ll feel that joy will start to grow up in your life.

There is nothing more encouraging for a Christian than to hear the voice of God. You’ll feel really that you are filled with joy, you’ll testify to people and say I heard God’s voice this morning, and then you’ll really feel encouraged to keep praying everyday. But if you never hear His voice and you are waiting for Jesus to come down, you’ll never hear it. Come close to Jesus and He’ll come close to you, go far away from Him and he’ll go far away from you, that’s the principle.

We’ll stop there and end by saying that the religious spirit is not a good spirit to have among Christians, it’s not a good spirit to have in the church of Jesus Christ, it’s not a good spirit for ourselves because it does not enable us to co-operate properly with God. All parents need to have a good relationship with their children and vice versa. No parent will be happy if his child or children are crazy, who can not submit or except what he is saying, but if you have nice children who respect what you are saying, you will be proud of your children. God is also proud of us when we respect Him, He’s proud of us when He can testify and tell people, “you know Joan she’s my daughter, because she respects me, she does whatever I want her to do”. At that time God will start to speak to you. It’s not hard, it’s a small thing; try to avoid the religious spirit.

Let’s pray:
Thank you so much our God because You are the same yesterday, today and forever. We thank you God for Your presence among us, we need You Lord Jesus to help us because we are weak, we need Jesus our Lord to touch our hearts so that we can live according to your will. It’s true that many times we can go far away from your will, we can forget about your word, we can forget about your presence in our lives, we can even forget that the life that we are living doesn’t belong to us. Oh Lord Jesus God of mercy, we ask you God to touch us, to transform us, to take away from us that religious spirit, to take away the pride, to take away whatever doesn’t please You, God help us, give us strength, we need your strength God, we need the Holy Spirit to lead us, we need your power to be with us everywhere, we need God to hear your voice, we need God to feel your touch, we need God to see your presence in our lives. It’s true that Satan is attacking us, it’s true that Satan is against our souls to be saved but God our Lord You are the only God who can protect us, God we call upon you, come and protect us, don’t allow Satan to protect our lives, we want to be led by You from now up to the end of our time on this earth. Thank you God because you are here, bless every person who is present here; bless also people who are absent among us. Lord our Lord we will go back home now, we need you to lead us, we need you oh Lord to protect us, we need you Oh Lord to touch our activities to touch our studies to touch our jobs, to touch everything that we are doing, our families, our husbands and wives, our children so that everybody in our family, everybody in this world can be saved through us. We need oh Lord your light in our lives so that we can be a light for others. We are praying in Jesus name who is our Lord, Amen

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