Word ArtEarlier this year I was at an event. There were hundreds of people there. I began to feel extremely claustrophobic. Not just because the room was stuffy and full of people. I’ve been in many rooms that were stuffy and full of people. No, this was much different. I was on the verge of tears. Why? No one around me seemed bothered and yet here I was surrounded by a crowd of people wondering if I was the only one who was struck with this sense… I couldn’t put it into words. Not right then. It took a while, but here I am attempting to put into words a message that I believe needs to be shared.

I began to pray about this as the day progressed and I would be hit again with this tremendous sense of claustrophobia, heaviness and grief. As I was praying I sensed God say, “When people are ruled by a spirit of religion, they put Me in a box, and whenever someone puts me in a box, it allows no room for My Spirit to move in their lives. That is why so many people live in a box.”

I began to think over my own life. I too, have attempted put God in a box. I have lived in a box afraid to step out of my comfort zone. God does not fit in a box, and His people were not intended to live in a box either. Inside the walls of these “boxes” there is much pain! Outside of the box there is tremendous freedom and healing.

God does not fit in a box and His people were not created to live in a box!

The life inside the box is stagnant and allows all kinds of abuse to grow and be covered. People are not allowed to choose or think for themselves, instead they are taught what to think, how to feel, what to believe. My heart began to weep for these people, yet I wondered how do I even begin to reach them? They have been taught to close off and not speak. Many of them have been controlled into silence since childhood. They have been taught that surrendering to this fear is what brings them happiness. If so, then why are so many sad? Why then do so many of them depend on herbal supplements or medications for depression and anxiety? Why are “witchcraft cures” such a common occurrence? Why is sexual abuse so rampant and hidden in these cultures?

Could it be that this spirit of religion has given many people such a false sense of security that they have only learned to follow this spirit of fear instead of the true God of Heaven who fathers us and loves us with an everlasting love? Many of them preach and warn about the antichrist as if it were some person or figure that will rise up and challenge what they have taught. Could it be that the antichrist spirit they have warned so many people about is even now running rampant in their life and within many churches today, but is hidden. The definition of anti is strongly opposed to or against. And if religion is the ruling factor then it is anti to the working of God.

Many churches of today are in a deep sleep and fighting against their very Savior? Just as the Jews once fought their own Messiah and did not recognize Him even when He was right there under their very noses even though they read and memorized prophecies of their coming Messiah. What will it take to awaken the church of today?

Just after Pentecost, some of these Jews suddenly understood as Peter preached. They were pricked to their core as they realized that they had just ordered to have their Messiah crucified. They were terrified! Imagine! The One who came to save them, and they wanted Him dead!? (How the cries of “Crucify Him!” must have rung in their ears.) They must have thought that was the end for them, yet when they asked what to do Peter’s answer was short and to the point. Repent and be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit. That was the answer. Repent, be forgiven, be baptized, receive the Holy Spirit. No long list of rules to restore favor with God. The work was already finished. Although they thought they had messed up the plan, God simply used their mess-ups to restore humanity to relationship with Himself. God Himself would be born into their hearts and His Spirit would direct them how to live. (See Acts 2)

To be continued… In Part 2, I will share part of my personal testimony and my tangle with religion…

I’d love to hear from you! Give me your feedback or share your story if you like. Comment below or email me at jenni.yoder224@gmail.com.