The Holy Spirit reminded me of a word I shared almost two years ago concerning the "religious spirit" and its attack on the work of the Holy Spirit in the coming days. This religious spirit will seek to denounce the work of God's Spirit by condemning anything that doesn't fit the mold of man-made expectations or religious protocols.
Kanye West, an internationally known rapper and Hollywood icon, recently declared his conversion to Christ but is receiving harsh criticism from some in the church. Though his testimony seems genuine and powerful, some believers suspect it to be a marketing ploy or, worse yet, a counterfeit gospel. Where many want to celebrate this story of radical redemption, others are leery of embracing it.
It is apparent that we need to get past human reasoning and outer appearances in order to rightly discern by the Spirit. God is moving in unfamiliar territory these days and our old mindsets and expectations need to be updated if we are to embrace the revolutionary transformation God wants to bring to our culture. Many have been praying that salvation would come to the mountains of media and entertainment and we need to be prepared for what that may look like—apart from our preconceived ideas and familiar formulas.
In February 2018, I wrote about an experience I had where the Lord told me, "Religion is about to become unglued!" Our garage had flooded unexpectedly, and two family Bibles got wet. One was over 100 years old and was a huge family Bible that served as a table centerpiece.
The ornately decorated hardcover protected much of the book, but the spine of the Bible became unglued. And though many of the pages were waterlogged, the interior words and pictures were preserved. The other Bible was smaller but also had undergone a similar fate.
As I looked at these waterlogged family heirlooms, the Lord spoke to my spirit and described a similar spiritual reality that was coming to the body of Christ. A coming flood of the Holy Spirit is going to impact many religious mindsets from the past that focused solely on outward appearance rather than on the heart. This coming work of the Spirit will forever alter the appearance of kingdom realities and will cause many religious minds to become "unglued"!
The Bibles I held in my hands were symbols of tradition. At one time, they were highly esteemed treasures to be admired and cared for. But the unexpected flood changed their appearance—not their eternal value but their outer covering. Just like the decorative cover of the Bible, the religious spirit focuses on appearances and that which man might consider sacred. And yet when the Holy Spirit comes to flood our hearts with the manifest presence of God, we are forever changed from the inside out. The outer appearance no longer determines the value of the Word inside. The written Word becomes alive and active in our lives and we no longer live by the letter of the law, but by the Spirit!
"Also, I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them" (Ezek. 36:26-27).
The fact is, when the Spirit moves in our lives, things change. Things we once considered "normal" or "appropriate" now become subject to a supernatural God without limitations or fleshly boundaries. Things will look different and we can't judge by the cover anymore. This is what is taking place in our culture as the Lord is bringing salvation to many who have been walking in deep darkness. Just as Saul was transformed from a murderer of Christians to an apostle in the church, so is God redeeming many prodigals whose public transgressions are now becoming platforms for transformation. That which was once considered ungodly, heathen and even demonic is being utterly transfigured into a glorious demonstration of the kingdom.
Is our faith too small to imagine that such a transformation is even possible? Does our human reasoning doubt the sincerity of these new converts simply because they don't know our religious protocols or rules of the house? Perhaps it is not these prodigals who are being tested as much as the older brothers of the faith. Can we recognize a true work of the Spirit without penalizing the sinner or questioning God's mercy (see Matt 23:13)? Can we see a pure heart seeking after God, even if their methods or manners are still immature?
Those who walk in the Spirit must look past the packaging and consider the gift inside. God is calling many into the kingdom who do not look like us, sound like us or talk like us. They will not be conventional, traditional or even remotely religious. They will simply be sold out for Jesus. He is answering our prayers concerning the harvest! Their voice and influence will reach others whom those in the religious mountain can never touch. I pray we can look beyond our traditional comfort zones to consider the radical zeal of the Lord that refuses to be bound by protocols or restrained by religion.
Let us pray for these newly awakened followers of Christ and cheer them on! Let us become a household of faith that disciples these prodigals to maturity while giving them grace as they learn how to walk. Let us recognize the work of the Holy Spirit and rejoice along with heaven that the lost are coming home and the mountains of culture are declaring the glory of God.
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