“Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast [the influence] of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”
The religious spirit and the political spirit are really bad influences on believers. Watch out.
They’re both about control; they’re both about about public opinion, optics: how does this look to the people watching?
That doesn’t mean to stay distant from religious people or the religious system. Jesus didn’t. He attended synagogue, temple, dinners with Pharisees. But he influenced them; he didn’t let them influence him.
He doesn’t mean to avoid politics or politicians. We’re commanded to pray for them. And we need believers in the middle of the political system; who else will influence the political system for the Kingdom, anyway? But influence them; don’t let them influence you. Watch out for that.
In fact, it was when they work together that things get really ugly. Jesus was murdered by that combination. The Pharisees worked with Herod, to murder Jesus.
Same same in our world today. When the religious spirit tells the political process what to do, watch out! Doesn’t matter which religious spirit. The Muslim religious spirit is no better (and no worse) than the Christian religious spirit, though because it’s gaining political power in some places, it’s getting more aggressive about its influence. They’re both demonic, they’re both controlling, they’re both dangerous.
We’ve seen a lot of this over the last several years.
And when the political spirit tells the religious spirit what to do, watch out! When the political spirit tells us how to worship, what life to value, when or where to pray, that’s a problem. The Liberal political spirit is no better (and no worse) than the Conservative political spirit, though because it’s “in power” in some places, it’s more aggressive about its influence. They’re both demonic, they’re both controlling, they’re both dangerous.
There’s one more territorial spirit that we need to pay attention to; in fact, this is the strongest, most territorial of them all. The Holy Spirit is the one we need to be following. The others masquerade as him, try to mimic his voice so we’ll get confused.
Watch for him.