Temporary Reign of Our Self Will
I was thinking how this world is saturated with “evil”; philosophies, ideas and beliefs full of deception that cause all kinds of pain, destruction, horrific acts, and death to our spirits. The extent of evil became overwhelming, but then I realized, most of the world is going to be evil because for the time being God has put Satan, the personification of our self-will, in charge of this world. 1 John 5:19, Ephesians 2:2 I think for two main reasons; to show us that following self doesn’t work and the power of God’s love to redeem us out of this world into His Kingdom.
Satan, our self-will, doesn’t submit to God therefore he can’t bring about anything that is truly good, pure and of love because only God’s ways produce these things. As prince of this earth, our self-will governs all the major powerhouses; politics, education, business, media, and religion. (Here I am defining religion as the man-made system and doctrine supposedly established on truth which creates a belief structure dictating certain behaviors.) Most of us don’t think about our religion, our safe haven, as overrun by evil, but if you open your eyes you will see it is one of the worst as the Bible states repeatedly.
For example, in the man-made system that blankets true Christianity lies bondage, legalism, focus on self, and customs that separate us from God – the formula of religion, which reads: if you were a good Christian you would be in church, tithe, baptized with the right amount of water, walk the aisle, honor this day, don’t drink that, and so on. Evil, anything contrary to true goodness, disguised as good is the worst form of evil – because people are easily led astray. Any belief system that goes against God’s truth is evil.
Evil in religion is most damaging because people put their trust in it. It forms the foundation of people’s beliefs and views about them, others and God. When it is full of lies and deception it is incredibly destructive leading to spiritual decay and death.
We are here in these bodies to learn that following self or man’s will, in religion and everywhere else, doesn’t work. For creatures with a free will, we have to learn whose will to follow. We are all seeing the ramifications of the reign of self in our lives and the lives of others and it isn’t a pretty picture. God created us to be united to Him, dependent on Him and for Him to be in charge not us. Any other way destroys life, physically and spiritually.
So what do we do to avoid being consumed by the evil around us particularly in religion?
1. Cultivate a relationship with God not with religion. Many of us have spent more time nurturing a relationship with the church and ministries than with God. This flip flop leads to one thing, spiritual death. God called us out of religion and into a relationship, because religion, man’s list of should do’s and have to’s, is easily corrupted.
2. Develop a relationship with God so we can submit to His will. We can’t submit to someone we aren’t personally acquainted with. Without intimacy, there is no true knowledge or trust and therefore no submission.
3. Abide in the truth, the Word of God. Self-will, the cornerstone of evil, is built on a foundation of lies because it promises things it can never deliver because only God can; truth, freedom, peace, rest, joy and love. Therefore the only way to come out of it is by countering it with the truth. The truth sets us free. Without reading and meditating on the Words of God on a daily basis, we won’t know the truth to be able to discern what is true and what isn’t. When we do abide, we gain discernment in all areas including religion.
God’s people are the ones He called out to show those lost in deception that His ways lead to true life, joy and love – everything we desire. However, without the Word as the cornerstone of our lives, our self-wills will reign and our spirits will be overtaken by the world and we won’t stand out. Without the Word there isn’t truth and without truth we remain in bondage to our self-will. We will continue to live in fears, afflictions, lies, depravity and lack of love manifesting our own evil.
The result of Satan’s governance in religion is churches have put our life source, the Word of God, at the bottom of the priority list. It has been tossed aside, interpreted instead of read, and is no longer the priority. Why? Because it has power, life, and transforms lives – the one thing Satan doesn’t want. Most churches are bypassing the requirement for our lives that Christ is our Lord. People have tunnel vision about what the Word says about Christ’s Lordship. Because they are listening to their leaders and not in the Word themselves, they believe the gospel is about a ticket to heaven and that is a lie that causes death to our spirits. Going to heaven is a result of His Lordship in our lives. We need to examine what it means for Him to be Lord. When He is Lord of our lives, then the Word is at the center of our days because He is the Word, and we stand outside of evil as a beacon of light, truth, hope and love.