Friday, June 8, 2012

A House Divided - A Look At The Spirit Of Jealousy

The spirit of jealousy has brought great division to the body of Christ, and with it, a great deal of ineffectiveness. Indeed, some preach Christ from envy and strife born out of selfish ambition, while others preach it from good will and a motive of love; but there can ever only be unity in the body through the bonds of peace and love. We are to do nothing through selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility as we endeavor to esteem others and look out for the interests of others.

When God anoints and puts leadership in place, His decisions should be honored. Regardless of personal opinions as to whether or not various people should hold a position of authority, we are to do all things without complaining and disputing, so that we may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the middle of a crooked and perverse generation. We are to be “lights” in the world, reflecting the image and reflection of Christ. Only through bonds of love for one another will the world recognize those that truly love the Lord.

The enemy of unity is jealousy, and it runs rampant in the church and in the world. Jealousy promotes strife, disunity, rebellion and competition among those affected by it. In the church, it releases a poison so deadly that it literally chokes the anointing of God and releases death in the atmosphere. It is bitterness that defiles many which is why James 3:14 warns people against bitter envy and self seeking (another word for selfish ambition). “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.”

In the Book of Numbers, the spirit of Korah refers to a spirit of jealousy that led to rebellion. Korah was a man that had a position of influence and leadership within the tribal leaders (See Numbers 16) but he was jealous of Moses and Aaron. It was this bitterness and jealousy that caused him to rise up against God’s delegated authority and incite others to do the same.

This ungodly spirit causes people to fault find, complain, and grumble against God’s anointed servants and those in places of leadership. They lack understanding of how God works and often are people that are discontent with their position or envious of others. They can be well liked, gifted, charismatic individuals that sound very spiritual, but like Absalom in the Bible, they often try to gather others to themselves in an attempt to support their own personal agenda. The problem is, this spirit, which originates from the pit of hell, only ever brings destruction.

Demonic spirits are like magnets to one another. They form an alliance of conspiracy and enlist soldiers in their army of destruction. Where envy and self seeking exist, other evil things will be drawn into that environment and negatively affect the lives of those that dwell there. The spirit of Korah is not only jealousy, but rebellion as well. 1 Sam. 15:23 likens the sin of rebellion to witchcraft, for rebellion is energized by demonic power. Those spirits murmur and complain against others, especially those in authority. They undermine the leader’s ability to lead and seek their overthrow. They defy authority, cause dissension and division, and suggest that certain people are unworthy or unqualified to lead - yet these individuals have not themselves paid the price to be refined, tested, and approved by God. They seek positions of authority yet do not demonstrate the ability to submit to authority. They want power and influence over others, yet prove by their actions that their only ambition is self serving and have none of Christ’s humility, character, love or other good fruits of the Spirit to qualify them for service. They also show an unwillingness to repent and have an unteachable, stubborn character. They are critical but refuse to be accountable. They refuse to accept responsibility for their actions and are careless about how they offend and hurt others. For them, it will always be someone else’s fault because they refuse to humble themselves. Humility, love and a desire to seek healing and genuine reconciliation are not their focus. Self preservation and appearing correct in front of others is more important to those that feel a need to live pretentiously, and they will justify their own wrongdoing in order to avoid accountability. They will elevate their spirituality (a religious spirit often tries to intimidate others and appear self righteous) in an effort to have the acceptance of others, but unity and the best interests of others are not the motive of their heart. Attempts for true reconciliation often fail because inwardly they do not feel they have any need to acknowledge fault, offense or take responsibility for their actions. Worst of all, these spirits, as they work through individuals, entice others to follow their rebellious suggestions as they lead people into captivity. The saddest part of this, beloved, is that no one that partakes of this type of rebellion against God goes unpunished. Because they make it a lifestyle of judging others and partake in wickedness, a curse then comes upon them. It veils their understanding. Pride becomes their stumbling block, leading them into destruction. The consequences of being an agent of destruction is: Families reap destruction, relationships are torn apart, some experience financial ruin, others go through unexplained and repeated illness and health issues, and many other forms of poverty and loss come upon those individuals as a result of their actions. They will never prosper because of the curse - until they have truly repented and broken the demonic alliances that gave these evil spirits entrance into their lives in the first place. Yet for all this, they often remain hardened in their sin, oblivious to the fact that they are on a path of continued destruction if they do not awaken from their spiritual stupor. This is the mind blinding influence of witchcraft and rebellion.

I knew a church that went through this sort of rebellion. It started with a couple of people that had been trusted intercessors, but certain life events had left them bitter, disappointed and critical. They turned that critical spirit towards their church leadership, and brought it into their prayer meetings. It started small, of course, like questions over finances, but they also sought someone to blame. They kept declaring there was 'sin in the camp' and that must be the reason the church wasn't prospering according to their expectations. Prayer meetings turned into gossip sessions. Instead of praying for God’s love, protection and wisdom for their leadership, they brought their judgments into their prayers and began praying word curses and judgment against their leadership and others. Suspicions grew and finger pointing and accusation took off like wildfire. Prayer meetings became an opportunity to pray about taking down the current pastor and “setting in” a new pastor. What they really wanted was to remove the prophetic anointing in their God given leader and be able to control the church their way. It is the anointing and the ability to hear from God and receive revelation that allows God's delegated authority to lead the people. Pride had convinced them that they knew better than God how to run the ship. They felt they knew better than current leadership and the power struggles among them resulted in a church stuck in the wilderness. They wanted a puppet leader, one they felt would be sympathetic to their agenda and ultimately one whom they thought would give them what they wanted, so they appealed to the pride in others hoping their overthrow of authority would succeed. The prophetic anointing and gifts of the Spirit allows people to discern motive and heart of individuals, not just what appears in the natural, but it is precisely this gifting that puts fear in the heart of the enemy. Satan knows when he is in danger of being exposed, and he will almost always attack the prophetic anointing that discerns spirits. If he is to succeed, he must remove that presence from the church, or discredit those with that gifting so that they lose all credibility. To them everything they did was justifiable because they felt they were doing God and others a service. Gossip and accusation grew out of control as everyone sought a scapegoat for the problems in the church. As is the case with gossip, it never gets repeated the same way twice, and the whispering, slander and suspicion were unable to be harnessed . The enemy was having a grand old time. Many people allowed themselves to be used as his pawns, and their tongues to be used as instruments of destruction, as they gave themselves over to ungodly speech. 

Demonic spirits were working to destroy the sense of family, and the power and grace of God. Some sinned blatantly, others by their silence, but no one could plead innocence. The power of witchcraft was stronger than the power of holiness, and trying to resist evil while struggling under the weight of all of it became very difficult indeed. The pastor knew he was fighting a losing battle and was worn out trying to manage an unmanageable church with people that weren't interested in real spiritual growth. Everything he tried to do was undermined by others. When situations escalated and the mob tried to back him into a corner, he took a stand and left.  He struggled with trying to keep up appearances, knowing something had to change. For this particular man, it was a weight that was too much to bear. He had been set up to fail and judged as guilty of many of the accusations. Public opinion became truth in the eyes of everyone concerned. And so, he lost the support of many long before the battle was truly over. There was so much going wrong all at once, and many of his personal struggles were such that he felt he had no one he could turn to without being judged further. This too, is how the spirit of Korah works. People under this demonic influence work to create a large majority of opinion in their favor long before a situation arises to bring confrontation. They work to put a leader in a corner and when they feel they can not lose, they will force a situation to come to a head. This most often causes a church split; if in a business or corporate setting it will cause business partnerships to fail. Power struggles and rebellion towards God can cause divorce, broken relationships and so much more but it always causes great offense. All power struggles do. The oppression, accusation and power struggles had gone on for several years before it finally came to an end. What the people seemed not to realize is that they were choking the life out of the church, weakening their ability to overcome the enemy's attack.. They pointed the finger at specific people, but they all contributed to the problem through quenching the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was grieved and hindered by the lack of love and forgiveness. The growing rebellion caused His presence to depart, which made room for ungodliness to flourish. God vindicated Himself by stepping back and withdrawing His presence, and Satan was worshiped on the throne of rebellion. Whichever spirit we give life to is what will grow strongest. While it is true that the gates of hell will not prevail against God’s church, the Holy Spirit is also a gentleman, and will not violate people’s will. He will not stay where He is not wanted, respected and given a place to minister to His people. He will not compete with anyone. If people want to honor the enemy with their actions, they can't expect God to share an altar with him. Every single person failed miserably in some area of righteousness, yet those overtaken by a spirit of jealousy and rebellion were only interested in finding a scapegoat to pin the blame on. This is how people avoid accountability and try to deflect attention away from themselves. A spirit of accusation always points the finger at others.

 This is the way of Korah, Cain and Baalam. (read the Book of Jude). Korah represents a spirit of jealousy and rebellion; Cain represents a spirit of murder, and Baalam represents false teachers and those that are willing to exploit their gifts, talents and position for selfish gain. Those in rebellion often remain convinced that the ends justify the means of the things they do to overthrow authority. Jesus was clear when He said a house divided cannot stand. A house that allows jealousy, backbiting, gossip, envy and selfish ambition to prosper will implode upon itself. A house where competition among members causes a warring for approval and control, will fail. A house that disrespects God’s leadership and rebels against HIM must receive correction and discipline. This particular church situation mentioned above needed to come to an end because of the corruption. Beloved, never assume that God will not take a knife to slay that which is overtaken with death. He will not allow His name to be represented by such. He will start over and create something entirely new. A house that allows corruption to flourish will fail. A house that is out of divine order is divided. The authority structure must come under God's authority and plan for order.

People that pray to expose people’s weaknesses will have their own weaknesses exposed. Those that ask for judgment, if it is not by the Spirit of the Lord, will receive judgment if their life warrants severe correction. People that demand new leadership and demonstrate ungratefulness towards God, those that despise the leadership He has put in their life may get leaders that take them deeper into captivity and misery. What they can count on is that no one will leave that wilderness until genuine repentance takes place. They will still be just as stuck regardless of whether or not God gives them new leadership.When people ask for the harshness of God they too will be evaluated for judgment because their heart and motive for asking is void of love and compassion.

The unfortunate thing about people that get caught up in situations like what was mentioned above, is that they often remain in captivity because they do not see their own part in aligning themselves with rebellion. One can never feel justified in speaking against others or taking an active part in destroying someone else's reputation without suffering the consequences. When seeds of death are sown, they reap like kind. God equates this to murder. Be very careful not to partake of the sins of others. Don't put your loyalties in the wrong camp.  Remain loyal to the ways of God. Never believe what is circulated as gossip and take it for truth. Don't repeat it and add fuel to the fire. When people listen to others more than they listen to God, they can be moved by offense and emotion rather than the Spirit of the Lord. That is what the enemy wants! In the situation mentioned above, the people were led to the slaughter by those that cared not for their souls, but were motivated by a lust for power, control, ambition and self preservation. Sadly, they didn't just shame their leadership, they shamed themselves. They brought reproach to themselves and the body of Christ by willfully exposing the weaknesses and sins of others and delighting in the gossip and pain of others. They didn't just expose other people's sins, they exposed their own lack of love and ungodly fruit in their own life, oblivious that the rest of the world was taking notice. Beloved, how can God put a blessing on that? If we choose to drag other people's name through the mud, we do the same to Christ.

The key to all warfare is the art of deception. When the enemy has a smear campaign going, stories contain some elements of truth because that is what makes it believable, but the enemy never reveals what he has done in secret to set people up. He never reveals the deception in the slander and rumors. He strives to keep motives hidden and smoke screens in place so that others cannot discern what he is really up to. There is usually something else going on that he does not want anyone to take notice of. It is the deception that convinces good people to do foolish things and take part in his schemes, thus becoming his pawns. Yet, if there wasn’t something exploitable in their hearts to begin with, they would not become his willing accomplices. There is much to be considered there. This is the danger that all people must guard themselves against, and pray for discernment. The enemy is patient, and never seeks to take down just one or two people; his goal is to take as many people as possible into captivity, making slaves of his prey. The effect of a curse is released upon them and Satan works diligently in an effort to bring discouragement, defilement and turn the hearts of his captives away from God. The enemy of your soul is cunning and he tailors his bait to the fish he wants to catch. Think about it. He knows what pushes your buttons. He knows what offends you and will get a reaction. He wants people to be offended! He thrives on discord for it gives him the worship he desperately craves. The Bible warns us that the sins of some men are clearly evident, but some will not be known until much later, perhaps not even until they stand before God in judgment. Guard yourself, beloved, and do not be entangled with those that have bad fruit in their life or questionable motives. Do not associate with those that enable and encourage you to rationalize sin. Don't pick up other people's offenses. Keep your heart pure. Too much is at stake. From such people turn away.

Beloved, this principle of division applies everywhere: it includes individual homes, churches, businesses and goes as far up as the White House. A divided house or a divided nation will fall. A divided church will forfeit God's blessing and often come to a place of being completely stuck. Some will fail. Others will go through church splits. A divided marriage will fall. A divided family will come to ruin. We must come back to genuine repentance and be motivated by the concerns for others above ourselves. Only repentance can change a person's heart and allow them to receive a different motivation for their actions.


Every person can be swayed by the influence of ungodliness if they have areas of their heart that can be tempted by the enemy. Let’s face it; we are all human and we all have areas of personal weakness and vulnerability. There is not one person above temptation or above falling, so refrain from judgment. We must each stop blaming others for our own problems. We must stop looking for someone else to blame and take responsibility for our own heart and life. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit. Do not resist His conviction. If there are things you need to confess to God, the sooner you do so the better it will be, for there can be no restoration until genuine repentance comes between you and God. Beloved, you are not under the dictates and demands of others, needing to plead for their approval or forgiveness. Some people will never forgive and desire only to make captives of others. If you call yourself a child of God however, then you must allow your Father to be the true authority in your life. You must make sure your relationship with Him is in good standing. Leave no stone unturned, no room in your heart darkened by unconfessed sin. He loves us to much to allow His children to continue in rebellion. “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Eph. 4:31,32). “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long suffering, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another, even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things, put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” (Col. 12-14).

3 comments:

  1. This was a moving article.

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