Hello brothers and sisters and Heartdwellers family.
May we discern the spirit of the Lord, so that Satan doesn’t have a foot hold to steal our joy in this journey as we work out our salvation.
Psalms 51:12 says, “Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free spirit.”
You see, I came to find out early in my walk with the Lord, that the devil cannot steal your salvation. I don’t subscribe to the ‘once saved always saved’ because I don’t believe it’s scriptural, however – once a believer gives their life to Jesus and decided to follow him, the enemy will try all manner of assignment to derail him, cause the soul to turn back to the world, and once he realizes he can’t do that, then he goes for your joy.
He does this by using these two tactics:- He will try to make Jesus a harsh taskmaster, a God that is never pleased with what you do and so demanding that you have no joy in your Christian walk serving him. Or he will cause you to look at yourself constantly, your failure, your weakness and sins and make you feel you can never measure up. Both will leave you always under condemnation. Jesus once said, that condemnation is the food of the devils, that they love to feed us with but Jesus will never condemn us – rather, he has come to save us
John 3:17: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
So you see, Jesus rather comes to save us time and time again from ourselves and saves us from the enemies lies and oppressive ways. I felt inspired by the Lord to do a teaching on this, because many heartdwellers and believers have been struggling with the stronghold and oppression of a religious spirit or self-focused attitude that makes you so inward and constantly focused on yourself. I have experienced the oppression of both the spirit and the attitude, and I want to share how you can identify when this spirit and attitude is stealing your joy and how you can be set free from them when oppressed.
In Psalms 51, the scripture speaks about the joy of our salvation, so you may ask – what comes with our salvation in the Lord which should bring us joy? These are a few scriptures I want to share with you, to give us a better understanding of how our salvation in Christ brings so many blessings.
Romans 3:23: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
With salvation, you won’t be free from sin and you will fall short in many areas.
Isaiah 12:2: Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.
With salvation, you gain trust, courage to not be afraid, strength and grace to worship the Lord because of what he has done.
Acts 2:38: Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Salvation comes with the gift of the Holy spirit, not an evil spirit or a religious spirit.
Matthew 7:21: Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
With salvation, you get direct access to the Father, to Papa God, through Jesus.
Titus 3:5: He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
Salvation gives us access to Gods’ mercy, not because of our righteous actions.
Matthew 19:25-26: When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.”
Salvation gives us the ability to do the impossible.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith; and this is not from yourselves; it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast.
Salvation is not of works.
I share all these scriptures of truth because this is what the enemy will bring lies to counteract each of these truths, to attack our faith in salvation in Christ and then to steal our joy.
A religious spirit comes with a strongman of fear and demons of harassment, judgment and condemnation. If Satan cannot stop you from following and serving the Lord, he will try to make you miserable doing it. He works with your self-righteousness and many times you may not realize you have that. You have a natural and heartfelt desire to serve the Lord and please him by not sinning against him or your neighbor. So you are trying your best to do His will.
A religious spirit is demanding and condemns you when you fail. The Holy Spirit is rather; always inspiring, will suggest things to you and encourage you, even when you fail.
A religious spirit clouds you with fear and sometimes even terror of failing or sinning against God. It also gets in the details; let’s say for an example you want to fast, or you feel led by the Lord to fast for 3 days. After the fast is done, a religious spirit will tell you that wasn’t good enough you should fast longer. It will tell you not to eat this but eat that, to pray longer, it will stop you from what you’re doing, just to do something that seems more religious and pious and make you feel very guilty about it if you don’t do it.
It’s the guilt that you should discern if it turns rather into condemnation, then before you know it, you are under the oppression of a harsh taskmaster that constantly demands more of you and condemns you for always falling short. But remember the scripture above Romans 3:23 – we have all fallen short and it’s grace that gives us the ability to do anything good and pious in the first place.
A religious spirit also comes with a spirit of legalism that makes you feel that pious things have to be done in such a strict or certain way, and others have to do it that way too and if they don’t, then judgment and self-righteousness enters. You see how toxic this can be; I know because I have been oppressed by this spirit and it was not fun.
I realized earlier on in my walk, the Lord had set me apart from other believers. My trials were more intense, lasted longer and He was always calling me higher. There were things other Christians could do but the Lord wouldn’t allow me to do because he was calling me to a higher degree of holiness, consecration to Him. Which is a simply a higher degree of love, to imitate Jesus in love and in the way I live. It wasn’t about my righteous acts or deeds which I thought was what holiness is all about, but it’s not, it’s about love.
So you may be very likely called to a higher degree of holiness than others around you, therefore the Lord may demand more of you but when He does, He does it with much grace, gentleness and much mercy. For Jesus is meek and humble of heart and so is His spirit.
Matthew 11: 29: Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.