“Whose spirit speaks through you?” Job 26:4 (NLT)
As discussed last week, Job was an upright man who faced the tragedy of losing his children in a natural disaster. That same day, his entire business property was stolen and his employees killed by Sabean raiders. Meanwhile, on that day his only means of food was wiped out by marauders and “fire from heaven”. (See Job 1:13-19) He lost everything.
Today’s five simple words are found in Job’s reply to Bildad, a friend who had come to console him through the terrible time of loss. In an effort to remedy Job’s plight, Bildad and two other friends who had arrived together sought to comfort Job and end his misery by suggesting he repent: that his troubles may very well be a result of some act or pattern of evil or sin in Job’s life. Job would have none of it. He knew he had lived an upright life and was quick to dismiss his friend’s sincere – though erroneous – accusations. Job’s friends, in effect, were sincerely wrong.
The question Job posed rings through time to reach our hearts today. So, what spirit can speak through us? Perhaps, a brief biblical search will surprise us to the influences we may unwittingly allow through our mouths: (I don't claim to be exhaustive in my treatment of the subject)
1. The spirit of an accuser: Revelation 12:10 exposes satan as the accuser of the brethren, an effort to divide and conquer the church - the Bride of Christ, whom Jesus commissioned to carry His message of love and reconciliation to the world. Jesus described the results of satan’s tactics in Matthew 24:10 when followers of Christ fall under the spirit of the accuser, betraying friendships and responding in hateful words and actions. I have personally experienced such hurtful acts in a church where I served as pastor. It is the complete antithesis of Jesus’ description of the church’s reputation before the world in John 13:35: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (NIV) (also see Revelation 2:4)
2. The spirit of false prophesy: Revelation 2:14-15 reveals the corruption of a church led by one or more who enable the church’s ‘flock’ into patterns of licentiousness and idolatry. These ‘believers’ cleverly disguise their behavior while seeking out the weak members of the flock who would fall to their advances. They use worldly wisdom to justify their rationale for worldly enticements.
3. The spirit of Jezebel: Revelation 17:6 exposes those who seek to gain control through any means necessary. Once in control, the effects on the church are destructive and divisive. It is most evidenced in efforts made to ‘defrock’ a pastor’s leadership in the church and the division it creates. People who allow this spirit to speak through them are aggressive, intimidating, and use clever insinuation to spread their poison. Like Jezebel in the Old Testament, those who allow this spirit to speak through their mouths seem to always target the pastor and seek to destroy the biblical connection of one called to ‘effectively handle the Word of Truth’. (also see Revelation 2:20-21)
4. The ‘spiritual zombie’ spirit: Revelation 3:1 discloses a dynamic often ignored or dismissed through denial of its possibility. The surest evidences of this spirit in the church is the absence of spiritual fruits and gifts in the lives of the flock, as well as the plethora of excuses made by followers of Christ for not sharing their faith or even for caring for their neighbor.
5. The luke-warm spirit (see Revelation 3:15-16) speaks to the church by tempering the zeal for God’s way to new converts, and by creating delays within the church’s governance for ministering to the poor and needy. These are those who speak of their church being free from debt while ignoring the cries of those in desperation.
Any one of us is susceptible to falling to these spirits, especially during a period of extended absence from the Word of God. It is when one sets life on cruise control and resists the spiritual disciplines of Bible study and prayer that one’s life gets derailed to wreck on the banks of self reliance. The fully devoted follower of Christ is intentional in seeking God’s face daily through Bible study, prayer, and worship. In so doing, we can be more fully aware that His Spirit can be the voice coming from our mouths. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
So, whose spirit speaks through you?