Over the years I’ve asked my congregation what they think is the role of the pastor. The response is invariably …. to listen and understand my needs, to show me the way, help me discern the Word of God, give advice, help me, to stop me from making a mistake, to correct me but only if it’s done softly and painlessly and un-embarrassingly, and some have even said that it’s my role to confirm to them that they’re right.
The question you should ask yourself is … why do I think this?
I’ve discovered that people come to these conclusions because they have a false belief about “friends“. If I ask … “what is a friend?” I get similar answers … to listen to me and be understanding, to be able to share intimately, to be trustworthy, to support me and help me, keep secrets, make me feel good, someone who likes me, be there when I need you, and not to snitch on me.
Diagnosis of a friend
You can always diagnose when someone is a genuine friend by their reaction when they don’t get the response they expect from a friend. A false friend blames a friend for not meeting their standards of friendship. A false friend has a mood when you don’t do it the way they think it should be done. A false friend tells you that you are not doing it the way they think you should.
King Saul was friends with Samuel. Samuel was a true friend. King Saul was a false friend. King Saul was really using Samuel for his own ends, to promote himself in the eyes of the people. King Saul told Samuel how he was supposed to behave towards him. King Saul told Samuel that he hadn’t really done anything wrong. King Saul told Samuel that he was being unreasonable with his correction. Notice all the ‘told’. King Saul pretended to change his attitude, but eventually the friendship fell apart because God instructed Samuel to separate from Saul.
Why did God instruct Samuel to separate from Saul? And why did Nehemiah instruct the Jews to separate from the heathen? And why did God separate Abram from his family?
Because if you don’t you will become demonically controlled instead of Holy Spirit controlled. The issue isn’t right or wrong, it’s demons or Holy Ghost. There’s a warfare over your soul, and the heart choices you make will dictate where you end up. I remind you in Ephesians 6 … we’re not fighting flesh and blood but principalities and powers, and those powers are stronger than you, especially if you arrogantly think you’re up to it (as indoctrinated by the Pentecostal church).
Friend of the world; enemy of God … James 4:4
Modern Christians know they should be sort of separate from the world so they don’t get tripped up and fall, so they keep doing what’s right, but at the same time they still like the world. This is the fruit of soft church teaching. It’s a shallow evaluation of Christ’s principles and it completely misses the real underlying reason for separation, namely, Satanic control.
Modern Christianity thinks with its head, it doesn’t understand the heart of the reasoning
When somebody is truly walking with God they will spiritually sense something is wrong (without necessarily knowing the full story), and if they are in a position of authority (such as a parent or pastor), they will want to warn you of the impending danger and seek to guide you away from it. That’s the intersection of true friendship and genuine pastoring. Up to that point everything is palatable between friends, but this intersection will either establish the friendship or destroy it.
2 common demonic issues
Whenever I sense resistance and I challenge someone’s spirit I invariably find the person wants Jesus and the world too; and I find that they’re having a mood because someone is liked more than they are. In a woman, I call it the Peninnah syndrome ie they feel for Peninnah because Hannah was more loved, but can’t see that God knew Peninnah’s heart and chose Hannah. Like Eve, demonically controlled vision can only see what one is not getting.
Resistance to authority is a sure sign of the demonic
If you respect God you will respect authority, because that’s what God told you to do. If you disrespect the opinion of authority you confirm that your relationship with God is fake, as well as exposing that you’re under the influence of a demonic power, because you’re doing exactly the opposite to what you were told.
But how can you really tell whether you genuinely respect authority or just think you do?
Disrespect is measured by resistance. The authority doesn’t have to be right; it’s the resistance that’s the measurement. It becomes a contest between the demonic in you that won’t bend and the Holy Spirit in the authority, and it’s real and tangible when the authority steps on the demon’s toes. It’s this intersection of correction that brings out this demonic influence. No wonder no one wants to be corrected … like King Saul, it exposes something you don’t want exposed, and you don’t want to be told. Yes, like King Saul you can be influenced by Holy Spirit and demons at the same time (it’s a war), and your heart choices will determine who will ultimately win.
Sadly, underneath the façade of modern western society is the reality that it has been educated to only believe in oneself and only trust in oneself, and to think everything through by yourself, and to live for oneself, and not to be told, so when God directs someone to correct one’s mis-direction, the majority of Christians, like King Saul, get offended and read it as a put-down of their capability to figure it out for themselves.
I recall a young lady in our fellowship who was exposed as lying about a certain issue. On the surface she was very helpful, hard-working and polite; but when she got found out, her outward personality changed. She apologised, but I could sense that it was out of convenience of avoiding getting into trouble and not genuine. I challenged her that she was resisting my correction and she got the huffs, defied her father’s authority because she told him that he didn’t protect her from the correction, and left the fellowship. The question is … did she leave the fellowship by faith or by defiance, because whatever is not of faith is sin?
If you judge someone to promote your own selfishness, your character will change into the demonic and you will resist correction … Matthew 7:1
This is what happened both to King Saul and Adam, and this is what happened to this young lady, and it happens to everyone who judges others to promote themselves.
Sometime later I heard that she had started a friendship with a heathen lad, was attending worldly parties, and was clearly moving in the direction of hell. Recently she contacted her father and he asked her where she stood with Jesus. Her response was “that it was too hard” and she was no longer interested. The same words had come out of the mouth of a woman I was pastoring some 10 years previously and who had resisted my authority and refused to give up her worldly passions. This girl had never spoken those words before and I sensed that they were actually the words of this woman. When I enquired further I learnt that the young lady had gotten in touch with the woman’s granddaughter and started an internet friendship. The granddaughter had followed the path of defiance of her grandmother and was now spiritually influencing the path of this young lady.
In the course of time it became apparent that a second young lady in our fellowship was behaving like the first. She had judged the original girl for deserting their friendship and had come under the influence of the demon that was directing the soul of the first girl.
What’s the point I am trying to make?
Listening to the voice of Satan will take you further into the web of Satan, and his only plan is to kill you, change your character into his, destroy you and separate you from God, and thus mock God.
Authority and the laws of God are not set up to bind you and make it hard for you; they’re put in place to save you from getting trapped in Satan’s web and ultimately hell. A true friend doesn’t use you; they tell you the truth so you don’t go the wrong way, and a true friend doesn’t have a mood if you won’t listen to them; they serve God, not themselves. The converse is also true … if you have a mood when your friend doesn’t do it right by you, then you yourself are not a genuine friend, but a user, just like the friend who’s hurt your feelings.
Holy Spirit doesn’t have a mood; Satan does
A genuine pastor doesn’t correct you just to embarrass you; they tell you the truth about yourself so you don’t go to hell. Blocking your ears to this truth is fatal. If you have a mood because someone tells you the truth about you then you confirm that you are under the influence of a demonic spirit, and you’d better stop it pronto or it will take you to hell.
It is hard to not get what you want, but if you harden your heart and choose to disrespect the boundaries then you will unawares come under the influence of the devil’s power, and it’s no laughing matter; it’ll take you to hell.
Won’t be told what to do
Satan and his demons chose not to be told by God what to do. When you listen to the voice of Satan, his objective is to get you to be not told what to do.
In the Garden of Eden, Adam walked and talked with God. They were friends. Satan whispered in Eve’s ear that God wasn’t telling her everything and that if she ate the fruit she would get a better deal for herself. She got Adam to listen to her and consequently Adam also came under the influence of Satan’s power. Under this power he changed his character into Satan’s character, and did the exact opposite of what he has always done … he lied, he feared, he blamed, and he even blamed God for creating the woman, and he foolishly hid from his true friend. How insane! These are the characteristics of Satan, not Holy Spirit. He didn’t repent and he wouldn’t listen to God’s correction. He had elevated himself to be equal with God in his right to make his own decisions, and after all, he had only eaten a piece of fruit, so what’s the big deal.
What was the consequence?
He was separated from God
If one doesn’t find true repentance for one’s defiance and resistance to the spirit of God, then the ultimate consequence is hell. You won’t recognise defiance in your heart until you come face to face with an authority’s correction of your spirit. That’s the intersection that will determine your final destiny.
Most people won’t agree with an authority until they see what the authority is saying, and right there is the problem. Logic says … surely I need to see what you’re saying before I can agree with you (this is the deduction of pride), but faith says … I know something’s wrong so by faith in God I’ll trust your judgment of me. If you’re genuine about trusting, then you’ll see what the authority is warning you about. In other words, it’s always faith first before you’ll see, because Satan blinds.
The principle …
If, in your heart, you live by your own judgments and won’t separate from the world, eventually God will separate from you. The call of God is to come out and be separate from the world so you don’t fall fowl of demonic powers.
The insanity of non-separation
The truth is, that by de-valuing the laws of God and de-valuing authority, and indoctrinating the church into the comfortable belief that we are safe under grace without the responsibility for our sin, we’ve opened our western societies to Pandora’s box of demonic powers that’s changing the face of western society, promoting multiple demonic religions and endorsing the freedom of right to worship false gods, dissolving the family unit, tattooing our whole body and sticking pins in our faces and calling it beauty, chasing cosmetic surgery, and promoting alternative sexual preferences to do whatever you want. The church is clearly no longer the salt for society; the bacteria of Satan is flourishing everywhere.
Satan has got God’s creation in a strangle hold and demonically convinced everyone to believe in their right to not be told what to do.
Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but reprove them … Ephesians 5:11
People no longer separate from the Christian sinner who won’t be told; they comfort and support them in their sin in the false belief that you can love them through their sin and get them to see their sin. But this philosophy is a lie of Satan, because God’s instructions are to separate the sinner from you until, like the prodigal, they may awake to their sin, 1 Corinthians 5:11. But the church has gone soft on sin and it’s not cool to be harsh. It’s afraid of what the world thinks of it, because it is the world. In its ignorance it is supporting the demonic in the sinner against God’s Spirit. The truth is, the church is disobedient and arrogant and interprets scripture to its own self-advantage. Like Laodicea, it’s under the influence of Satan, not Holy Spirit.
The rubber meets the road when this principle is challenged by a son or daughter or wife and you have to choose between what God says in Luke 14:26-33 or by what the church teaches. The demonic influence of sin is greater than your ability to resist, so ignoring the leaven will cause it to spread, not wither, and it will take you with it.
Faith or sin
Faith is the evidence of Holy Spirit. The opposite to faith, is sin (Romans 14:23). Faith is blocked by pride, and pride is generally extrapolated by judgement against someone. If you can’t get back to faith, then God’s Spirit in you is either silent or gone, and the human spirit in you is objecting to being blamed or being left-out, or thinks it’s above your neighbour. You can only get back to faith by de-elevating yourself (like David, and Ahab 1 Kings 21:29), not by doing good works or justifying your rightness (like King Saul). That’s why God uses correction; it’s His tool to put you back in your place.
The enemy’s objective is to make sure you sin by only thinking about yourself even though on the surface you act as if you care for others or act as if you are not hurting; that way he can block your faith.
The true shepherd’s goal is to expose the demonic, not to silently co-exist with it, so that your eyes will be enlightened to your true hidden motive of selfishness.
When Christ comes, will He find faith? I righteously fear the path that the Christian world has chosen.
Pastor Mike Stanford