Jan 18 2019

Spiritual Authorities

Do you know that there are other spiritual authorities besides God? Have you ever wondered why God’s very first commandment (Ex. 20:3) to the Israelites was to not follow other gods? God knew that the angels he kicked out of heaven were going to pretend to be gods (1 Cor. 10:20), and I tend to think that he established this rule so that we would not, knowingly or unknowingly, submit ourselves to demons and end up in bondage as a result. It’s important for everyone, and especially followers of Jesus, to understand that the spiritual realm is real, and that demonic forces are actively working to confuse and disrupt what God wants to do in our lives (Eph. 6:12). We have to be constantly on guard, and we have to be aware of the schemes of these forces so that we do not fall into their traps. I wrote about discernment in my last blog, because I have come to realize that if we don’t have the spiritual gift of discernment, we can easily end up in a situation where an unhealthy spiritual authority gains influence in our lives. And once that influence is established, it can distort what God is speaking to us, and keep us from fulfilling our purpose. Those we submit ourselves to have authority over our lives. This can be an overt action, such as submitting to a Godly leader, which is a good thing to do. And it can also be a situation where someone unknowingly submits to a demonic authority through their actions, such as participating with things that are not of God, and this can lead to deception that is difficult to identify. One of the major problems with deception is that, when you are deceived, you don’t know that you are deceived. You need someone in your life who can let you know that something may be wrong. I heard someone say once that we all need a Paul in our life who can let us know when we cross the line. This is incredibly important, and I am personally intentional about giving people with good discernment the permission to speak into my life and to let me know if I ever end up in one of these traps. Having a discerning spiritual authority in your life who can mentor you, point you in the right direction, and shift your perspective when needed, is an important and healthy practice. This is something we highly suggest everyone put into their lives, along with cultivating a great relationship with Holy Spirit so he can lead you into all truth and guide your steps. This can be a heavy topic, and it is sometimes easier to understand with a visual, so we created this chart to help you visualize how spiritual authorities can have positive or negative influences in your life; feel free to share it with others.


(click image to download PDF)

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Jan 4 2019

Discernment is so important

The more I minister to people, the more I realize that there is a major need for good spiritual discernment within the body of Christ. We need to know if something we encounter is good or evil, if it is part of God’s plan or if something else is at work behind the scenes. There are so many different ideas and initiatives happening in our world today, and it’s easy to get sucked into the idea that something is good without realizing that it is actually rooted in evil. We have to be able to discern what is beneath the surface and ask God to reveal any attempt of deception or manipulation that a person, process, or system may be using against us in order to further its own initiative. Without Holy Spirit, this can be a difficult goal to achieve. The good news is that God knows the motives of everyone’s heart, and he has created a gift of discernment that is available to his children. That spiritual gift, listed in 1 Corinthians 12, helps us to quickly recognize anything that is not of God.

When we use the gift of discernment in the systems of the world, Holy Spirit will guide us towards what he wants us to be involved in. We should be excited about bringing change to the world, and to individual lives, but it needs to be grounded in the phrase Jesus taught us to pray; “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We need to be aware of what God’s heart is for any situation, focus on that, and set aside anything else that is contrary to what he wants to accomplish. Then we can pray for his will to be done, without being affected by all the other variables that others may try to mix into the situation. This method can be applied to anything. It can be applied to personal relationships, needed changes in culture, business development, something we recently learned but never heard of before, a message we heard at church, and any other area of our lives. All we have to do is set aside our own opinions and ask God for his heart for the situation. If we do this, we will have the guidance we need to make the correct choices and, at the same time, be able to avoid deception and manipulation.

I hate deception and manipulation, it’s so evil. Anytime someone tries to deceptively control someone to do their will, it is essentially a form of witchcraft. I have fallen for this myself, not realizing that someone was manipulating me, or realizing it just a few moments too late, and I have used those situations to learn how to discern even more clearly. We need to be able to recognize the spirit behind something and recognize any perspective we have that might give someone an opportunity to manipulate us. Pray for discernment. Pray for wisdom. Know when to say no. And always love, even when someone is trying to manipulate you.

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