One of the things I was hearing as I was awakening today was, “Spirit of Absalom”. I heard it clearly.
I was aware of some of what it meant, and having spent yesterday’s preaching in GVC talking about the battles of moving into a new season, I am reflecting on how this spirit works to attempt to bring division and fragmentation to churches [and organisations and workplaces], and I think it’s especially so, as God is about to move in fresh outpouring, and the shift emerges.
Absalom was David’s son, but he became inwardly bitter and jealous where he felt he had been overlooked, and he used his position in the king’s family combined with his good looks and likeableness (natural and spiritual giftings), to undermine the rightful rule of his father via stealth. He went out of his way to recruit people to his cause so that he could influence the direction of the palace in the way he wanted, and in his case overthrow his father’s rule.
This kind of behaviour is very common in the world we live in, and I believe, undermines many churches in their Divine Mandate; their unique “raison d’être”. We are all potentially prey to it. Yet it often becomes the operating ground of a spirit that is intent on division and destruction, and which seeks to derail new things that God is doing. It may promote a soulish attachment to things that belonged to a past-season, or to a particular style of doing things, but which are no longer relevant in the main scheme of where God is moving now. Or it focuses on a pet-area of life in a previous church which an individual has carried with them into a new situation, and which they want to see happening again. It will raise a discontentment or dissatisfaction with something in a church or organisation – what isn’t happening and ‘should be’ – and it will look for those who ‘agree’. It may be true that ‘so and so’ is not happening, but it may also be true that God hasn’t asked the appointed leader(s) to do this ‘so and so’ but to focus on something else. The point is, it appeals to ‘soul’ rather than the true spiritual. Gossip, a party spirit, and subtle (or not so subtle) forms of attempted manipulation ensue. At its heart is an authority-wound that has led to pride and mistrust, and ultimately rebellion and lawlessness. As we move forward may we truly have grace to flush it out of our hearts and lifestyles.
This is such a crucial issue in remaining on track as we come closer to the return of Jesus. He Himself warned that in the last days lawlessness will abound and the result will be a cooling off of genuine love. We cannot afford cold-love. We cannot afford lawlessness. The Kingdom of God operates with precise order and authority, which is rooted in perfect love. This is the only Kingdom the Holy Spirit will promote and release. I pray we can all align more with Him in His assignment.
We can see the working of this spirit in Judas Iscariot, who most likely was offended in some way with the direction Jesus’s ministry had taken, AND who had heart issues of greed that were not dealt with, even in the intimate Presence of Jesus. Both Absalom and Judas ended up hanging from trees, which indicates that they were cursed in this which they pursued.
The origin of ‘Absalom behaviour’ is seen in Lucifer himself, who became obsessed with his own gifting, image, and wisdom – not realising they were given to him to function effectively within strict parameters of ministry. These same three are potential stumbling blocks for us all:
- My giftings and skills. I can be deceived by ‘how good I am’ or ‘how good other people say I am’ and pride subtly slithers into my heart.
- My image, or looks. We step over into ‘how did I perform?’ We become too aware of what we look like, rather than what HE is looking like through us – or of being equally content – and with no change of behaviour – when we are not ‘performing’ or are unnoticed.
- My wisdom. If I have a particular understanding or revelation, it’s because God lovingly gave it to me. It’s not so I can show it off, or use it to compete with another. Humanly, we love to parade our revelations. I’ve done that myself before now! But it leads to pride, and living for the approval of men. Any ‘wisdom’ that ceases to walk in honour, godly submission, and true humility, isn’t actually wisdom, but foolishness. James says, it is sourced in the flesh, the world, and the demonic.
If you are a leader in pastoral care or mercy ministry for a group of people, or in some kind of music ministry, especially beware of this spirit. It wants to take you out. If you’ve been offended by a senior leader as well, be doubly aware! Deal with the heart issues. Forgiveness, humility, and patient honour are the keys. You have to go ‘down’ in order to go ‘up’.
If you are a senior leader, take stock of anywhere you have not listened to or followed-through on promises to others who are serving with you. If you can, humbly address the issues now, and remove what you are able to of the landing ground for this spirit. Repent and seek reconcilliation. However, you should never ultimately compromise the divine mandate you have been given on account of someone else’s (soulish) preferences. Ultimately, you’re the one who has to give account to the One Who has commissioned you.
All of us, let’s continually go to God for more healing of our hearts, and more of His softening and renewing Presence. Let’s learn to repent and to forgive really quickly, as a lifestyle. Let’s not allow any bitter roots to take up ground in our lives. Let’s walk securely knowing we are loved and beloved by the Father. We have no need to perform but can live at rest in that love.