We've exchanged that great hymn "Onward, Christian Soldiers" for a subtle but telling substitute, a song that is currently being taught to thousands of children in Sunday school each week, which goes something like this (sung in a very happy, upbeat tune):
I may never march in the infantry,
ride in the cavalry,
shoot the artillery, I may never fly over the enemy
but I'm in the Lord's army, yes sir!
There is no battle and there is no war and there is no Enemy and your life is not at stake and you are not desperately needed this very hour, but you're in the Lord's army. Yes, sir. Doing what? may I ask.
The reason I bring this up is that if you want the real deal, if you want the life and freedom that Jesus offers, then you are going to have to break free of this religious fog in particular. "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery" (Gal. 5:1). So here's a bottom-line test to expose the Religious Spirit: If it doesn't bring freedom and it doesn't bring life, it's not Christianity. If it doesn't restore the image of God and rejoice in the heart, it's not Christianity.
The ministry of Jesus is summarized by one of those who knew him best when Peter brings the gospel to the Gentiles: "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and...he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him" (Acts 10:38). The stream of Spiritual Warfare was essential to Jesus' life and ministry. It follows that it must be essential to ours if we would be his followers.