One young woman in our fellowship was struggling with her emotions because another young woman was more popular. The popular one was new to the fellowship, so from the first woman’s perspective, it wasn’t fair that she had been usurped.
This scenario happens time and time again amongst all groups of people. The point is, how is a Christian to address these feelings?
Separation is Biblical, 2 Thessalonians 3: 6,14
The problem was, the first woman’s jealousy was disturbing the whole fellowship. Something inside her was reacting to the unfairness and everyone could feel it. If you let envy fester it will turn to hatred. It may be hidden by obedience, but it’s really hatred and defiance under the guise of obedience. Therefore, according to Scripture, I instructed this woman to separate herself from the fellowship until she stopped her attitude, and at the same time, I asked her to answer several questions in the hope it would help her see her inappropriate attitude.
Do you think you’re special? Is she jealous that the other woman has taken her position? Is she having a mood? Is her attitude Holy Spirit or demonic? Is she doing what’s she’s told by me, without any defiance in her heart? She answered ‘yes’ to every question and even agreed that she was being manipulated by a demon.
The response that got my attention was the lie that she was being obedient to my instructions without any defiance. Now, if you are being demonically manipulated, and then to think you are being obedient, actually confirms that you are under the influence of a demon and lying to yourself. It’s a contradiction to know you are under a demon and to think you are obedient without any defiance.
All the people that I’ve pastored over the years considered themselves to be obedient to my pastoral instructions. Very few however, served the Lord without some expectation of benefit, meaning that their obedience is not true obedience. Obedience that’s not true always carries with it some form of defiance, and sooner or later, that defiance will expose itself in contradicting the authority.
The bottom line
The bottom line in every person’s heart is the belief that they have the right to their own opinion and no one is ultimately going to tell them what to do. This is the heart of Satan, not God. To them, their obedience is the evidence of their willingness to be told what to do, so no one can say that they are not a good person. Their argument is … ‘surely, I have the right to my own opinion and the right to figure it out myself.’ However, from God’s perspective, it’s not one’s right that’s the issue, it’s the bite of defiance that protects that right.
During a discussion with one Christian young man, I suggested that he may have missed my point about him having a grievance with another man because his inappropriate behaviour resembled that of the man. He retorted … I didn’t miss your point. Now, it’s fine to have a difference of opinion. It’s not the difference of opinion that’s the issue; it’s the bite behind the opinion. It doesn’t matter how obedient you think you are to the authority’s instructions, a bite confirms that your heart is not obedient; on the contrary, it’s defiant.
Defiance is inherent. It has to be broken.
Every person on the planet is born defiant. It’s inherent in our spirit because of our link with Satan through our sin. When one truly surrenders to the will of God, a slow up-hill process begins whereby God changes our inherent defiant character into His self-less character. If you’re truly open to the correction of Christ, you will begin to see your inherent stubbornness and begin to sacrifice it to Him. The problem arises when one refuses to see it and ultimately turns their back on the process.
Every person is a King Saul, until they give up and become a David
In 1 Samuel 15 we read the story of the stubbornness of King Saul. From his perspective, he was doing what he was told, but from God’s perspective, he wasn’t. From God’s perspective, his behaviour was witchcraft and idolatry (v.23). That clearly means his heart was under the control of Satan at the same time as he was worshipping God (v.31) and thought he was being obedient (v.20). Whether you like this point or not, the truth is, everybody acts this way and believes this lie, until they unconditionally surrender to the will of God. Everyone is born under the control of Satan, no matter how obedient they may appear, and this control deepens until they sacrifice their pride to the will of God.
What was missing in King Saul’s obedience?
King Saul had let his humility turn to pride of position. He loved being No.1. From his pride’s perspective, he was doing what he was told, his way. When you’re ready to blame others for your misdeeds, you clearly show you’re being deceptive about your obedience. When your prime concern is what others think of you (v.30), you clearly show that your obedience is a camouflage for your defiance. What you don’t realise is that you are reinforcing Satan’s grip on your spirit. You can act obedient as much as you like, but if the Spirit of God is missing, you’re lying to yourself and others, and you’re under the power of a demon. In 2 Timothy 2: 25,26 God describes this as “opposing yourself” and under the snare of the devil and controlled at the devil’s will.
Now, if Samuel is standing with God and Saul conflicts with his opinion of what’s right and wrong, then clearly Saul is not standing with God. You’re either in God’s camp or you’re in the camp of Satan, and any middle ground is the same as not standing with God. If, by the Spirit of God, you declare that a person is not being obedient, but they contradict and demand they are, then immediately they have exposed their defiance and exposed what spirit they are really of. Defiance is simply contradicting the Spirit of God. Arguing the point against God’s representative, is defiance, and thus, demonic.
The bottom line
What was the underlying problem that stirred Saul to defy Samuel’s opinion? The answer is, he fed his heart with the pride of his position and defended that position when challenged he was wrong. Later on, he reinforced that pride by envying David’s threat to that position. Once he decided to solidify this defence of his pride, he was on his way to hell. There was nothing more Samuel could do to save him from his pride. Once you harden your heart and turn your back at the intersection of the challenge of your pride, it’s virtually impossible to find your way to God.
The real issue is Holy Spirit vs Satan
Beneath all the appearance of goodness, there’s a spiritual war going on (Ephesians 6). You either stand on God’s side or Satan’s. Pretending with niceness or obedience in middle ground is the same as neither hot nor cold, and therefore satanic. Obedience with defiance is actually hatred and demonic. It’s not God’s responsibility to fix this problem, it’s yours. If you refuse to address your pride when it’s exposed and humble yourself to the mind of Christ, don’t blame God when you miss heaven.
May God stir the hearts of his remnant to oppose their pride, not themselves, so that Satan is bound, not them.
Pastor Jonathan Wright