True Enemies of RevivalBy Todd Bentley

I believe this prophetic message and teaching will truly help you be free in a greater way and encounter the grace of God as well as overcome the greatest enemies that oppose revival today.

The only true key to overcoming a religious (law) and political spirit is grace. These spirits are two of the greatest enemies of revival today. The answer to revival is grace. It empowers us to live free and victoriously. The beauty of grace is truly irresistible. Once you taste it, nothing will satisfy except more grace. Grace is Jesus! A fresh revelation of the grace of God will humble us and help us overcome the pride of a political spirit. This will help us walk in the true heart of kingdom culture and release true revival.

"This grace of God is a very great, strong, mighty, and active thing. It does not lie asleep in the soul. Grace hears, leads, drives, draws, changes, works all in man, and lets itself be distinctly felt and experienced. It is hidden, but its works are evident." - Martin Luther

Jesus always spoke of three different leavens. They were religious, political, and the leaven of the kingdom (grace). "And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod" (Mark 8:15 KJV).

The religious spirit is anything that says "I must do something in my own strength to please God or my own attempt to become like Him." It will hold on to that which is familiar and comfortable rather than moving on from glory to glory. The law is dead religion, and it always puts rules and laws above relationship and intimacy. A political spirit is more concerned about appearance and protecting the message. The political spirit says, "I must do something to please others and at all costs maintain my position!" It is more concerned about what others may think if we associate with someone or something that may be perceived as negative than be concerned with true love. The political and religious spirits (law) work closely together to oppose true grace and revival.

The political spirit is man's attempt to please others. The political spirit's agenda is always to rally men, preferably leaders, around a message of perceived correctness and to protect that message. A political spirit is more concerned about a perceived rightness and association. It works through fear and concerns itself with what people think rather than showing the heart of Jesus. When presented an opportunity to fellowship with certain members of the body of Christ, the political spirit asks what will people think if it associates with them. It is more concerned about protecting a false appearance and message rather than kingdom unity. A political spirit will attempt to secure its position no matter what. It is truly rooted in the fear of man, alliances with money, prestige, and power. One true key to overcoming a political spirit is the government of God and living with a kingdom message-letting the rule and reign of the Spirit in our hearts.

I love how Bill Johnson describes the religious and political spirits: "The political spirit washes its hands like Pilate did in order to appear righteous. The religious spirit takes up stones to kill the sinner, forgetting their own sin and need of mercy, in order to appear righteous."

These spirits are willing to compromise all that one holds dear for the sake of gaining and maintaining power through the political and religious systems at any cost! The political spirit appeals to our lust for power and fame. It is rooted in the pride of man and is what Satan offered Jesus. The political spirit is an attempt by man to elevate himself and create of a platform of the highest power and influence.

When political correctness takes precedence over uprightness before God, the church is in danger of falling prey to the political spirit. "The political spirit is the mastermind that forges alliances with the religious spirit to forward its own hidden agenda. It is masquerading itself as a quest for the greater good." -Dr. Ronald V. Burgio

The only true key to overcoming a religious (law) spirit and walking in freedom is true grace. It empowers us to live free and victoriously. A fresh revelation of the grace of God will humble us and help us overcome the pride of a political spirit and walk in the true heart of a kingdom culture.

How To Treat People Bound By A Religious Spirit

People think that because they go to a church that is religious, that makes them religious by association. We tend to think that if something or someone, especially a leader, is religious then everyone in the church is religious. I believe that we can walk in freedom in any place that we are in. Jesus was in the same places that the Pharisees and Sadducees were. He was able to go into their churches and synagogues and be around the people without Himself becoming bound by the spirit of religion.

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, 'You will be made free?'" Jesus answered them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. I know that you are Abraham's descendants, but you seek to kill Me..." (see John 8:31-37 NKJV).

They sought to kill Jesus because they were bound by the religious spirit, and they were working under the power of the devil. But Jesus realized that they were in bondage. That is why He said to them, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Most people who are in this type of bondage do not know that they need to be set free. We should pray that they might see so that they might be set free. Jesus knew when the Sadducees came that they were looking to trap Him and ultimately slay Him. Realizing that they were bound by the religious spirit, He tried to reach them by bringing them into truth. He could have gotten an attitude with them and even exposed them and their motive publicly.

The religious spirit breeds fear and intimidation. To those who are not religious, religion can breed a rebellious attitude. Our automatic tendency when someone says, "you have to..." is to say, "I don't have to do anything, man. Forget that!" We are just as wrong as they are because of our attitude. We are responsible to react with character, grace, and integrity to a person bound by the religious spirit. When it looked like Jesus was dealing harshly with men who were religious, He always dealt with the spirit behind religion and not the person. That is why when Jesus was on the cross, put there by religious people, He asked the Father to forgive them for what they were doing.

We need to realize that we do not wrestle with men, churches, or ministries. We need to reach those that have not yet come into the grace. We are not better than them; we are just free. We should never use our freedom to cause unnecessary offenses. I love to dance before the Lord in worship. However, if I go into a church and the pastor asks for people to not dance, I will not. If I do, then it is not freedom but rebellion. I believe the only way to truly help people be free is grace. The way some people present God today creates an impression that His mercy only lasts for a moment, but His anger lasts forever. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Passion Versus Obligation and Duty

Much of what we do as Christians begins with fiery passion and a drive from the Holy Spirit. Then it becomes an obligation and duty that we perform because we know it is what we are "supposed" to do rather than by grace. Grace is the Holy Spirit's influence helping us deny ourselves so that we can receive everything that Christ gave us!

The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, saying: "Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were with us seven brothers. The first died after he had married, and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother. Likewise the second also, and the third, even to the seventh. Last of all the woman died also. Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her." Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?' God is not the God of the dead, but of the living" (Matthew 22:23-32 NKJV).

Religion keeps you in control. We like law because it tells us what to do externally and when we do it, our conscience feels a whole lot better. This takes the place of inner peace that comes from being in right relationship with God. With this religious mindset we feel like we are right with God, and yet it is the complete opposite of how Jesus walked. Though some of us are not as steeped in tradition like many religions, we still have rituals of our own that we do to make us feel better. And through this process it loses the passion and becomes obligation.

The religious spirit (law) likes to keep us from the things of the Spirit. Under its influence, we often become so law-focused, or doctrinally obsessed, that we lose the passion for power and anything that involves feelings. We also can easily walk in law instead of love. When we become more determined to punish someone for not following the letter of the law than to love them and see human need, it might be a good sign that we are operating under the influence of this spirit. Many times when we are giving ourselves over to this judgmental heart, we ourselves are doing the same or worse things.

At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, "Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!" But He said to them, "Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. But if you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath" (Matthew 12:1-8 NKJV).

The religious spirit has a voice. It speaks in this way, "You have to get up early in the morning and pray. You have to tithe. You have to bless your meal each time you eat, before you eat. You have to have a good outward appearance. You have to be at every prayer meeting." These are all things that I do or have done. However, I don't want to do anything because I feel I have to. We do so many things out of obligation and duty. It is called pretense or hypocrisy when we draw near to God with our lips, but our hearts are far from Him. There is nothing wrong with doing the outward things. Many of them were commanded in the Old Testament. However, none of them were commanded with the intention that obedience would take place based on duty rather than passion and thankfulness of heart that God gave man a way to be forgiven.

Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?"-that they might accuse Him. Then He said to them, "What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." Then He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other (Matthew 12:9-13).

Nothing is more damaging than a religious spirit binding a life. By placing rules and expectations on people, especially unbelievers and new believers, it cuts them off from wanting anything to do with God. Many times we are more worried about what we are going to look like rather than the value of a person's soul. How quick we are to come against people's outward sins and forget about our own inward darkness. If we value the heart of God toward His people rather than our own judgmental opinions, we will seek to guide with a gentle heart those who are bound by religion into truth and grace. Grace is needed to do anything good! Grace empowers the believer to do His will and grace enables us to believe and be hungry so we can walk in freedom.

In Him,

Todd Bentley