This is the season when our thoughts turn to new beginnings. What a blessing that our God is in the business of new beginnings!
Our pastor reminded us in church last week that it’s important to expect and be ready for God to do a new thing as He promised in Isaiah 43:19. But, earlier that morning in a dream, the Lord made me aware of something else we need to expect and be ready for.
I dreamed the church was visited by a man well-known as a spiritual leader. He was very attractive and charismatic, and the church leaders were in awe of him. He had their full attention.
But, when the man had left, his true nature was revealed. He was a perverse spirit, and the leaders were angry and ashamed that they had been fooled.
It was then that the leaders saw the tangled mess of destruction and disorganization the church had become, because the young flock had had no direction while the perverse spirit had the leaders’ attention diverted.
It was like parents who are so absorbed in a television program or Facebook that they pay no attention to their children, allowing them to do what pleases them, even doing things at their demand that they would normally never do. Anything to keep the kids from interrupting what the parents are immersed in. But when the show is over, the parents are left to clean up the mess. At first they are angry with the kids for the mess they have made. But they can’t deny their own responsibility. So it was with leaders of the Church.
Everything had to be put back in its place, and things that they had sewn in their distraction had to be torn apart. In particular, I found the right sleeve of a jacket sewn shut. This is symbolic of being spiritually powerless and ineffective. This had to be ripped open. As the leaders worked to set things right, they continued to be bombarded with messages trying to distract and frustrate their efforts. They had to make a conscious choice to stop listening to every message that came in and focus on the task.
So, what exactly is a perverse spirit? A perverse spirit takes God’s truth and turns it into something it was never meant to be. It can be anything from believing that since God is good, no one will go to hell, to relying on works instead of grace, to seeking the gifts of the Spirit instead of the Person of the Spirit. Whatever form it takes, its presence and power is always determined by one factor: lack of the knowledge of the Lord. Jesus said,
“And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” John 10:4, 5
It is imperative in this age that we know our Shepherd’s voice! To the untrained ear, the voice of the perverse spirit can sound like the voice of the Shepherd, but His true sheep can tell the difference instantly. The only way we can learn to differentiate is to seek the Lord with all our hearts, spending time alone with Him, waiting on Him! We need to build intimacy with our Shepherd, and that takes time and discipline.
At first I thought this dream was a warning of an attack by the enemy. But as I asked the Holy Spirit for clarity, He led me to Isaiah 19:14.
“The Lord has mingled a perverse spirit in her midst;
And they have caused Egypt to err in all her work,
As a drunken man staggers in his vomit.”
Yes. It is the work of the Lord. But, this chapter is about Egypt. How can this have anything to do with the Church? And why would God send such a spirit into His Church? As I read all of Isaiah 19, I was amazed by what the Spirit showed me.
In my next post, I’ll share more of what I’ve learned and talk about what we as believers can be doing to keep from being taken in by a perverse spirit. In the mean time, as we enter a new year of possibilities, let us focus on change that is eternal, not just temporal. For God has promised us:
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
In other words, seek the cake! God will do the frosting!
God’s grace and peace be yours,