And thou Beth-lehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel (Matthew 2:6, KJV)
There is a monster that seeks to erode our relationship with God called the religious spirit amongst us, the believers. I sometimes call it “Christian religion.” The truth is that all of us have traces of this spirit operating in us. It is only a matter of degree and how much we put it under control.
A classic story of the effects of the religious spirit occurred at the birth of Jesus. Wisemen from the east, gentiles, came from a far county to Jerusalem to ask where the King had been born. Herod, with the Pharisees, priests, high priest, scribes and lawyers of the law were in Jerusalem and did not know that the Messiah, King of Israel, had been born. When King Herod asked the Jewish leaders what the scriptures said about the birth of the Messiah, they quoted a verse that was 100% accurate, as shown above, stating the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Yes, He was already born there, but they did not know it. What happened?
You see, these Jewish leaders had become experts in the law and lost their relationship with God. This is one prime effect of the religious spirit. It can happen to us if we do not watch it. Cherish your intimacy and relationship with God and not focus on the form and routines of Christianity.
Why did the Jewish leaders not even any clue that the King had been born? ( Matt. 15:8).
APPLY THE WORD
Have you met a minister who knows theology and ministry but does not know God’s heart? That is a typical present-day example of the story of the Jewish leaders above. It can also be any one of us, when we are “good Christians” but have no direct fellowship or intimate relationship with God, and go ahead doing our things thinking we are living for God. The examples of this spirit are endless, and space will not allow me to list all of them. Just beware of the religious spirit!
Ask the Spirit to help you never to lose sight of His heart and focus on the form.