After experiencing at least, a decade’s worth of church culture, I have finally come to some painful experiential realizations (beyond intellectual realization) about the nature of religion in general. These realizations especially include religious Christianity as a whole.
I. Every member of the human race is born into a world, a culture, a society, in which we are told to look to others for moral and spiritual coaching. As a result, church leadership personalities are elevated rather than the office and authority bestowed upon them by God.
II. There is often an over emphasis on community. Instead of having a situation where brothers and sisters serve one another for the sake of loving your neighbor as yourself; I find instead, that many church congregants serve the community itself, for the sake of maintaining a mutually assured sense of safety and comfort.
I understand, not every church community is like this, and as individuals, we all have the tendency to lose perspective regarding our spiritual priorities. It’s all too easy to take our eyes off of Christ, even for a moment, and fall deeply asleep. I recognize that both church leadership and community function largely as a safe-guards against falling into trances for too long. The fact is, we all a share in the obligation to constantly watch ourselves for error, so that we can authentically help our brothers and sisters when they drift off into sleep. The reality is, that you will likely need their help yourself one day.
So the concept of church isn’t evil. I don’t want people to get that idea from my observations. But I do think too many people have drifted off into Slumberland all at once, and it seems to be a highly contagious phenomenon…and much of what we call “The Church”—the Bride of Christ—is beginning to look a lot more like the whore of Babylon (Rev 17).
We can still reverse this trend, or at least mitigate some of the negative consequences we’re creating for ourselves. If we can wake up, and keep pursuing the “kingdom of God and His righteousness” as our first priority (Matt 6:33), then we can take shelter in God, and endure the very real judgement that Christ is about to speak upon our generation.
[Gal 6:7-9 NASB20]  Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a person sows, this he will also reap.  For the one who sows to his own flesh will reap destruction from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit.  Let's not become discouraged in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not become weary.
What can we do then? How do we wake up? The process is simple, maybe not always easy, but simple no less.
- Confess you sins to God when you become aware that you have sinned. If you do not do this, there can be no Spiritual growth in Christ. We must do this as often as necessary. It must become habit.
· [1Jo 1:9-10 NASB20]  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
· Are you unsure if you’ve actually sinned? Confess it anyways, search the scriptures and direct your questions to God in prayer. Keep yourself open to receiving His response.
· For identifying and understanding sin, I highly recommend starting your search with the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 5-7.
- Understand that Christ is one with the Holy Spirit, and in that union, Christ is your coach, your advocate, your sponsor**. Pastor-teachers serve as communicators of Spiritual information, but ultimately, it is the Holy Spirit who elects to speak through said pastor-teacher, and it is Christ’s anointing that informs your understanding.**
· [1Jo 2:27 NASB20]  And [as for] you, the anointing which you received from Him remains in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you remain in Him.
It is through prayer and Spiritual contemplation upon the Word—and the doctrines that Christ left behind for us through his twelve Apostles—that we can come to a practical understanding of faith**,** expectation**, and** love (1Cor 13:13). We must study the Christ’s own words, the words of His Apostles, and the Old Testament, which foreshadowed everything Christ came to accomplish.
As we grow in Christ, we must also test the spirits behind any message we receive. Is the message consistent with the fact that Christ came to us in the flesh? That He died to take our sins away, so that we could inherit the kingdom of God? Spiritual truth will emphasize what Christ did on our behalf in the flesh, rather than diminish it.
· [1Jo 4:1-3 NASB20]  Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;  and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the [spirit] of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and now it is already in the world.
To sum it all up, these four principles can be found in 2 Timothy: “All scripture is God-breathed, and profitable toward informing, toward discipline, toward making one spiritually upright, and toward training in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16).”
If you are a believer in Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit lives within you. It is your personal responsibly to God, to yourself, and to your neighbor to 1) be informed in the scriptures, 2) walk in a disciplined manner accordingly (else God will discipline you), 3) become Spiritually upright in all your ways, and 4) fulfill your training in righteousness.
In all, you are to be complete as your Father in heaven is complete (Matt 5:48), for the whole of the Law in Christ is to love your neighbor as yourself (Gal 5:14), and if you stumble, simply acknowledge your sin before God (1John 1:9), for Christ is our advocate (1John 2:1-2) in heaven. This is not too hard for us or beyond our reach (Deut 30:11) so long as we remain in Christ (John 15).