Arresting the Spirit of Jealousy Among Your Congregation
As disappointing as it may sound, jealousy exists among some congregations. The factors that lead to jealousy are somewhat the same for the different congregations.
The story of Simon, the former sorcerer, in Chapter 8 of Acts is a typical example of the grounds on which some persons might become jealous within the context of the church. Simon was used to having a following while he performed his sorcery in the city of Samaria. But according to scripture, this following was greatly disrupted when the Samaritans finally received the Word of God.
When Peter and John came to Samaria, they laid hands on all those who were baptized. All those who were baptized received the Holy Spirit. “And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Acts 8:18
The Relationship Between Jealousy and a Move of God
Based on the scripture, you can see how the move of God through certain individuals can influence others to desire to be used in a similar fashion. You can also see that their desire may stem from selfish ambition, where deep down they want to be the center of attraction.
Although we’re uncertain of the exact reason Simon was desirous of power, we know that his desire was not coming from a good place. Otherwise he would not have gone to the extent of literally placing a monetary value on the power of God.
People who understand the move of God will celebrate with others when they’re being used by God. They seek God for certain spiritual gifts rather than allow the spirit of jealousy to control them.
It is highly possible for people within congregations to be jealous of others without even realizing it. In some cases their original intention was never to be jealous. But since jealousy is a spirit, it targets people who particularly find themselves in what I call a ‘jealous-prone’ situation.
Can We Stop Others From Being Jealous?
The short answer to that question is no, we cannot stop others from being jealous. Whether they are in the church or outside of the church, we can’t control others’ behavior. As a solution to controlling the spirit of jealousy, pastors and church leaders can put several measures in place. One common mistake is the emphasis church leaders place on certain ministries and spiritual gifts as if to imply that the others are not as important. The first step to controlling the spirit of jealousy within the church is to ensure that we do not give the members of our congregation the impression that some offices in the kingdom are more prestigious than others.
Spiritual Gifts are Intended to Unite us, Not to Divide Us
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 to this issue. “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of hearings by the same Spirit, to another prophecy, to another discerning of Spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.”
Key Biblical Counsel & Warfare Strategies for Your Victory
~ Seek biblical counsel and consultation. As pastors and leaders of congregations, you can seek out wise biblical counsel and consultation. It will strengthen your ability to develop strategies to eradicate the spirit of jealousy within your congregation.
~ Assemble as a church body as often as possible and encourage each other in whatever way you can. Hebrews 10:25 instructs us, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching.”
~ Remind the congregation that spiritual gifts are meant to edify the body of Christ. Spiritual gifts were never meant to set up a hierarchy of importance. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 14:12, “Even do you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.”
~ Call the congregation to periodic prayer and fasting. When the spirit of jealousy enters a congregation, it does not affect a single individual. Its main goal is to influence as many individuals as possible. Before jealousy spreads like a virus among your congregation, it is very important to get in the habit of calling your congregation to prayer and fasting on a periodic basis.
~ Call intercessors to spiritual warfare on particular issues. Not every member of your congregation operates in the office of intercession and spiritual warfare. As a result, when you observe the manifestation of evil spirits in your congregation, bring it to the attention of the prayer warriors and intercessors. Handling it this way as quickly as possible will minimize the influence of the spirits.