Read Why I Hate Religion: 10 Reasons to Break Free from the Bondage of Religious Tradition Online

Authors: Creflo Dollar

Tags: #RELIGION / Christian Life / General, #RELIGION / Christian Life / Spiritual Growth

Why I Hate Religion: 10 Reasons to Break Free from the Bondage of Religious Tradition (10 page)

Plastic Prayers

Another way to make sure you get your prayers answered is to pray to the Father in the name of Jesus. Many Christians still pray to their Heavenly Father for “Christ’s sake,” which doesn’t line up with the Word. As a result, they are still praying religious “plastic” prayers that don’t connect with God.

That kind of prayer won’t get results. Jesus said, “And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever
ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you” (John 16:23). In this passage, Jesus clearly spells out the formula for successful prayer. Ask the Father in the name of Jesus, and the Father will give you whatsoever you ask—that lines up with the Word of God. As long as what you are praying is in the will of God, and you can find it in the Word, it’s yours. That’s why it’s so important to study the Word of God and to learn exactly what you have a right to so that you can get results when you pray.

Ask the Father in the name of Jesus, and the Father will give you whatsoever you ask—that lines up with the Word of God.

Jesus felt that men “ought always to pray and not to turn coward (faint, lose heart, and give up)” (Luke 18:1
AMP
). That means that after you have found the Scriptures that pertain to your situation, meditated on them until they filled your heart, and thanked the Father for them in Jesus’ name, you are to stand on the promise until manifestation comes.

Don’t let your present circumstances, discouraging words from others, or the lies of the devil move you off your stance of faith. You must be like the Apostle Paul and resolve to keep standing until you get what you are standing for (see Eph. 6:13–14). Let the Word of God anchor your soul and enable you to quench all the fiery darts of the devil. This strong stance in the Word will run fear clear out of your way, enabling you to stand strong in faith and be assured that your prayers will be answered speedily!

 

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man; But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

JAMES 1:13–15

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

LUKE 4:8

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it
are
the issues of life.

PROVERBS 4:23

I
know you’ve been there before. You miss the mark, and instead of owning up to the role you played in the situation, you hear the words
the devil made me do it
falling from your lips. That sin, if not dealt with, will develop into a habit that is hard to break. In a situation like this, it is often easier to blame the devil for why you did what you did because it takes the pressure and responsibility off you to make the necessary adjustments. The devil, however, is not your problem. I’ve often said that the real enemy in your life is actually “inner me,” not Satan. An understanding of how sin unfolds in your life is necessary to put the brakes on lasciviousness.

Let me be clear—God is not the tempter—Satan is. But in the final analysis, the Bible doesn’t say that the devil is responsible for making you sin. Religion may promote a different idea, but it’s critical to stay with what the Word says on this subject, not tradition.

James 1:13–15 says, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither
tempteth he any man: but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

There are two key points to note in these Scriptures:

First, God does not tempt you to sin. I’ve heard people make Him out to be the bad guy, or they say that He will tempt you to see what you’ll do in a certain situation, but that’s simply not His M.O. While God may
allow
you to go through some things to try your faith, He is not the one bringing temptation to your doorstep. He is love, and Love wouldn’t do that to His children.

While God may
allow
you to go through some things to try your faith, He is not the one bringing temptation to your doorstep.

Second, the Bible says that a person is tempted when he or she is drawn away by his or her own lust. That means Satan uses the lust that is already in you by connecting it with his “bait.” For example, if you constantly feed sexually charged images and words to your spirit through your eyes and ears, a seed of lust will be planted in your spirit. As you continue meditating on those things, that seed will begin to take root in your heart and eventually become a reality in your life.

I used to have difficulty resisting the temptation to eat apple pie. I
love
apple pie, and before I got control over the desire to eat it, I could devour a whole pie in one sitting. That was a real temptation for me. My grandmother used to stock her refrigerator with pie just for me, and I got used to satisfying my sweet tooth as I grew older. The seed was already in me, so I would fall every
time. That seed was producing bad fruit in my life—my waistline was rapidly expanding, and I was dumping a lot of sugar in my system. I had to put the brakes on before my health started deteriorating. By renewing my mind in the area of taking care of my physical body, I was able to slow that desire down. Now I don’t have to eat a whole pie in order to satisfy that craving. Thank God for His Grace!

Interestingly enough, the devil didn’t make me eat those pies. He didn’t put a gun to my head and force me to drive to the store and buy all the Little Debbie pies on the shelf. I made that decision on my own, because I had been meditating on his suggestions.

Satan is watching you to see how you respond in situations like this. Your challenge may not be with apple pies, but whatever area it is, he will try to capitalize on it. You have to know how to play the game in order to win.

When he sees the fruit of what you have been meditating on manifest in the natural realm, all he has to do is send something or someone to trigger you to act on the predominant seed in your spirit. So when the cute little secretary walks by and propositions you for sex, you’ll be less likely to respond according to the Word of God. The problem wasn’t the devil, but the lust that you had allowed to be deposited in your heart. You thought about it, talked about it, and acted out on it, plain and simple.

Verse 15 says that lust gives birth to sin. You see, Satan isn’t so much concerned with getting you to sin, as much as he is with getting
you
to plant lust in your spirit. Because of the way the system is set up, he knows that if he can just get that lust in you, sin is inevitable. Lust
will
cause you to sin, and once you sin, you are on the pathway to death (see Rom. 6:23).

You most likely have never heard the sin process broken down this way before, but you’re seeing it straight from the Word of God, which takes a lot of the responsibility off Satan and puts it
on you. The real question is not why the devil keeps causing you to sin, but what are you giving him to work with?

The real question is not why the devil keeps causing you to sin, but what are you giving him to work with?

No More Excuses

I’m tired of religion making excuses for people’s failures and inadequacies. The biggest way to keep them from getting free from Satan’s clutches is to get them to focus their attention on the wrong things. The devil is a master deceiver. He would love for you to focus all of your attention on him. He wants to take your mind off how you can take control over your own life. Instead of looking to Jesus for the way out, religion just covers up the truth.

Matthew 7:18 says that a good tree can’t bring forth bad fruit and that a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. That’s because the condition of the roots of those trees determines the type of fruit they bring forth. I’m concerned with getting to the root issues of life. If I can get you to locate the root to why you do what you do, the
fruit
of your life will begin to change.

So let’s take a look at the reasons why you are where you are. Very simply, it is your mind-set. The mind is the arena of faith and the battleground where Satan will wage war against you. It is also the control center for your life. Though your spirit was reborn when you accepted Jesus as your Lord and personal Savior, your mind didn’t get saved! Here again, the responsibility is yours.
It is up to you to get in the Word of God and let it change your thinking.

Romans 12:1–2 says:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Here again, the responsibility is yours. It is up to you to get in the Word of God and let it change your thinking.

Quite simply, the results you’re seeing in your life are the result of your mind-set. Whatever you set your mind on is what will become a reality for you. That’s why the Apostle Paul admonishes believers to actively renew their minds. This is not a one-time event but an ongoing process that requires diligent meditation on the Word of God. It’s the only way to purge your thinking of its old patterns. Someone may have told you not to spend
too
much time studying the Bible because it’ll do something to your mind. Well, I want that Word to change my mind about things; I think of it as spiritual “brainwashing.”

Washing bad thought patterns out of your mind with the Word is the best thing you can do for yourself. Proverbs 4:23 lets you know that the issues of your life flow out of what is in your heart. Your soul and spirit are connected, and this Scripture also refers to the soulish realm, or your mind, will, and emotions. It says,
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Your mind helps to set the course of your life.

Proverbs 23:7 also says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” What you think about on a constant basis forms the foundation of your life. If you meditate on worldly ideals and behavior, your actions will line up with those ideas. If you meditate on the Word of God, your life will be a reflection of that Word, and you will bring glory to the Father. Remember, the devil can’t
make
you do anything. He can only
suggest
that you go in a certain direction. It is up to you whether or not you’ll follow his leads.

If you meditate on worldly ideals and behavior, your actions will line up with those ideas. If you meditate on the Word of God, your life will be a reflection of that Word, and you will bring glory to the Father.

The root of your behavior may be something you experienced in childhood, or even a value system that was imparted to you by your parents, friends, or church. If it doesn’t line up with the Word, it needs to be removed.

Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The Word is stronger than any seed that may have been planted in you from childhood or anywhere else. Once you’ve located the roots to why you do what you do, allow the sword of the Spirit to cut them out so that you can begin to grow fruit that is pleasing to God.

Live Righteously

One of the fundamental keys to completely avoiding “the devil made me do it” syndrome is an understanding of who you are as the righteousness of God. Believers shouldn’t be looking for a way to sin, but rather a way out of it. When you understand your righteousness, the tendency to follow the devil’s plan for you is less likely. You don’t have to yield to his attempts to lure you out of the will of God.

Believers shouldn’t be looking for a way to sin, but rather a way out of it.

When you were unsaved, you were under Satan’s jurisdiction; you really had no choice but to sin because your spirit was connected to him. But since you’ve come out of darkness into the marvelous light of Jesus Christ, you’ve been set free from that mess. Romans 6:18 says of believers, “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” One of Satan’s biggest deceptions is to try to convince you that you’re still subject to his authority, even though you’ve been born again. He wants you to think that when you miss the mark, God doesn’t love you anymore. The most effective way to influence you to believe this lie is by keeping your mind bound in sin-consciousness.

Actually, religion is good at helping people hold on to their old sin tags. It preaches sin more than it does righteousness and focuses on beating people over their heads with a bunch of rules on what
not
to do instead of teaching them what
to
do. I believe that by focusing on the “do’s” of the Bible, you’ll gradually move away from all the “don’ts.” You’ll want to do right because
God says it’s right and you love Him too much not to obey His commandments.

Righteousness has nothing to do with how well you perform in church, how many outreach ministries you are part of, or whether or not you operate in the gifts of the Spirit. Rather, it is all about what Jesus did for you on the cross. He died so that you could be
made
righteous. This miracle happened instantaneously when you confessed Him as Lord and Savior. There’s nothing you can or can’t do to earn or lose this gift. God sees you through a new set of lenses—Jesus lenses. He doesn’t view your sin the way you do.

Righteousness grants you access to every promise and provision God has made in His Word. From healing and deliverance, to household salvation and debt cancellation, it’s all yours if you lay hold of it by faith.

Let’s say you miss the mark or sin by doing something that goes against the Word of God. As the righteousness of God, your responsibility is to take that thing before God and exchange it for His cleansing and forgiveness. Know your rights! Don’t wallow around in self-pity and get into guilt and condemnation about it. The devil would love for you to do that. No, just get up, brush yourself off, and keep moving in the things of God.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you use your righteousness as an excuse to keep sinning. That’s trying to take advantage of God, and He won’t be mocked (see Gal. 6:7). If you sow to your flesh, you’ll reap a fleshly, carnal harvest that you don’t want, whether you are born again or not. I’m simply saying that when you do miss it, exercise your righteousness and move on.

Righteousness even goes a step farther. At some point, you have to reach the level where you don’t have to keep exercising your righteousness because sin is ruling your life. All of us miss it at times, but when you find yourself in lasciviousness in a particular area, it’s time for some serious mind renewal.

God wants you to get to the point where you realize that you don’t
have
to sin if you don’t want to. Righteousness should be a consciousness that restrains you from doing things contrary to the Word in the first place.

God wants you to get to the point where you realize that you don’t
have
to sin if you don’t want to.

I can hear someone saying,
I hear what you’re saying, Brother Dollar, but I just don’t think it’s possible not to sin.
I’m here to tell you that the grace of God will teach you to live a godly, righteous life (Titus 2:11, 12). Trust Jesus!!

Child of God, righteousness is right standing with God. Essentially, it is a stance that is aligned with Him. In other words, you’re not the same person you used to be. The sin that dominated your mind and body has been disconnected from you. Meditating in the reality of your righteousness will change your mind and give you a revelation of your true identity as a born-again child of God.

When you understand your relationship with God, there is nothing the enemy can do to entice you to go back to that old way of life. He can throw suggestions and temptations at you all day, but he’ll end up bumping into your righteousness every time. After a while, he’ll find someone else to harass. It’s the guy who knows he’s righteous who’ll be able to successfully defeat the enemy.

Righteousness is an integral part of the believer’s existence. It is even listed as part of the armor of God. No soldier would go into battle without being adequately suited up with the proper protective gear. Well, the righteousness of God is part of your “spiritual battle uniform” that you can’t afford to leave at home.

Ephesians 6:11–14 says this:

Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness.

Righteousness is a vital part of your spiritual covering because it protects your position in God. What I mean is that everything you do for the kingdom of God has to be covered by your being in right standing with Him, or else it is worthless. When you pray, you have to know that you have a right to get your prayers answered. When you sow a financial seed, your confidence in your righteousness through the blood of Jesus assures you that harvest time is right around the corner.

Everything you do for the kingdom of God has to be covered by your being in right standing with Him, or else it is worthless.

Notice that the word
righteousness
is used to describe your spiritual “breastplate.” This part of your armor covers and protects your heart, or your spirit man. When you don’t know who you are in Christ (as the righteousness of God), you’ll become easy prey for the kingdom of darkness. You won’t have confidence in your prayers being answered, or even the fact that God loves
you. When your breastplate is out of place, you’ll do a lot of good works to get God’s attention, and you’ll fall for every trick of the enemy in the process.

Your right standing with God is not something you can gauge by your feelings. There will be times when you don’t
feel
righteous at all, particularly if you’ve missed it. But God doesn’t operate in the realm of feelings. He operates in the realm of faith, and righteousness is something you have to lay hold of by faith (see Rom. 9:30). That means that no matter what is going on in your life, no matter what you’ve done or haven’t done, and no matter what anyone tries to tell you, you know that you are rightly related to God because Jesus is your Lord. Knowing this enables you to stand in the midst of life’s trials and tests with the courage and confidence that are necessary to be an overcoming Christian.

No matter what is going on in your life, no matter what you’ve done or haven’t done, and no matter what anyone tries to tell you, you know that you are rightly related to God because Jesus is your Lord.

God has set a standard in place by which He wants you to live. It includes the abundant life full of blessings and prosperity. But a righteousness-consciousness is critical to tapping into it. You have complete control over the direction you want your life to take, and by reprogramming your mind with the Word, your course will be set.

It’s time for you to step up and take responsibility for where you are. Know yourself, know your issues, and get in the Word of God to find out what the prescription is for whatever you’re facing. Locate your areas of weakness and make a decision to dig
up any bad seeds you’ve sown in your spirit by diligently applying the necessary Scriptures to those areas.

Remember, blaming the devil for your problems is just a religious way to avoid having the trust and faith to maintain a life of holiness. Making excuses won’t solve anything; it will only keep you trapped in a cycle of continual sin. However, by allowing righteousness to reign in your life, you’ll be equipped with the confidence to know that you can get out of Satan’s sin traps, and stay out forever. You don’t have to fall because you are more than a conqueror!

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