Savage Wolves

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?” (Mt. 7:15-16)

The Devil has always tried to use people to bring division into the Congregation of the Saints. There is nothing new about this problem. In fact, James addresses the issues of wrong attitudes and a “spirit of strife” (Jms. 3:14). From the earliest inception of the New Testament Church, we hear the Apostle Paul warn about savage wolves who would be raised up even among the flock… Paul says, “savage wolves will come in among you” (Acts 20:28-31). It is going to happen… so we must not be taken by surprise.

Watch for the Spirit of Strife!

Be on guard for spirits of strife, argumentative people and division. Church leaders have always had to correct people who acted under the deceiving grip of evil intent. This is what we commonly define as a “spirit”… its often motivated by fear or offense and demonic in nature. Unfortunately the fruit of such a spirit is destructive beyond measure. It is the source of much division and strife in the Church today.

In respect to people being used by the Devil to bring division, James says, “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking (strife) in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth” (Jms. 3:14). The phrase “bitter envy” is very important. It is the Greek word zelos, which refers to a fierce desire to promote our own idea to the exclusion of others. The words, self-seeking or “strife”- eritheia which in the Greek means rivalry or ambition, can be translated as a party spirit or a divisive spirit. In verse 15 we see James expound upon the motivation for such a divisive heart toward leadership as he tells us, the wisdom that is creating strife is “…earthly, sensual (and) demonic. Note that this is not “wisdom” at all, but a deceptive perversion of wisdom that comes from an evil intent. These are the devil’s schemes and resources… and they come from the kingdom of darkness.

Stay Free!

Jesus said “the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me” (Jn. 14:30).

Of course, we know Jesus was speaking here of His betrayal and excruciating death at the cross… but the principle is real and true! We must learn to keep our hearts free from all strife and offense, because it causes us to miss the will of God for our lives. The Apostle Paul said, “avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth” (2 Tim. 2:23-25). If our hearts stay free of strife and offense, the door stays closed to the Devil so he cannot disrupt our relationships. We need to know that when we allow a spirit of strife to operate inside ourselves, our home, business or church; it won’t be too long until people who used to love each other are standing in opposition to each other. That is the way the spirit of strife operates, and that is the fruit it produces. In the end it produces death to relationships and bitterness beyond the walls of our fellowships.

What To Do:

So the key question is – “What are we willing to do?” Because it takes a certain amount of initiative and boldness to be a peace maker! Just read this difficult admonition:

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple”. (Rom. 16:17-18)

I want to point out that Paul says, these are people with smooth words and flattering speech! His command is to mark them… to avoid them and to give no opportunity for them to have a voice in the congregation. Is there hope for restoration? Perhaps, but not without true discipline and integrity among our leadership. Only then, will we see the spirit of strife removed from our fellowships.

An offense is a demonic trap – Be careful that you do not fall into it!

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