For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
Last week we began our three-part blog series on the spiritual climate of this election season and the importance of recognizing the enemy’s agenda against us. We talked about a “spiritual swirl”, which is a way of describing the increased intensity of the demonic influencing how people think and react. Our first focus was on fear and how we need to be attentive to the ways this could be impacting our hearts, and thus our prayers. If you haven’t read that first installment, you can do so here.
The second focus and the topic of today’s blog is noticing the increase of accusation and its twin— blind loyalty— as tools the enemy is using to promote selfish ambition, which leads to division. One of the twins, (accusation) can only see the negative and the other (blind loyalty) will only admit to the positive, and although this might sound good, they both have, at their heart, the motive of selfish ambition, so blind loyalty is not at all the same as true honour.
WATCH FOR THESE TOOLS OF THE ENEMY
Accusation and blind loyalty, driven by selfish ambition, are feeding the spiritual swirl in the political campaign. It’s not hard to see them in action. If there is a candidate from an opposing party, they are met by severe scrutiny, every association, every action, word, or even the things they don’t do are mercilessly criticized. However, if they are from our favoured party, not only are they generously given the benefit of the doubt but blind loyalty pushes us to deny their obvious faults, even to the point, in extreme cases, of an irrational promotion.
However, accusation and blind loyalty are not just found in the political arena, these can actually splash into the Church and influence how we see each other, how we treat each other. Particularly right now, let’s be vigilant! Selfish ambition is more subtle and hidden when it’s in our midst, but as James teaches us, where it exists, it opens a door to darkness.
We can be enticed to divide and promote our “tribe” at the expense of others. Our “tribe” could be our denomination, our generation, our gift-orientation— those most like us. We can start looking at our tribe with rosy glasses, seeing only how God is using and blessing us, seeing only our strengths and virtues. This leads easily, if we are not careful, to believing that we are at the centre of what God is doing, and our language shifts into referring to our tribe as the forerunners, the remnant, the cutting edge of where God is going. We stumble into, on one hand, a similar thinking as the blind loyalty of the political arena, and on the other, an increased critique of those that are not our tribe. As we slide down the slope into accusation we see many more things to be disappointed in or concerned about in other parts of the Body of Christ.
We think to ourselves: surely these glaring shortcomings must disqualify these other tribes from being used of God or being groups that he would pour out his Spirit upon. We begin to believe: if they were truly walking closely with the Lord, they would be more like us!
TRUTH AND HOLINESS MATTER
Now I am not saying that there aren’t some very real sins and issues in the Body of Christ, nor am I saying that orthodoxy doesn’t matter. Absolutely that is not the case and obviously, some have blatantly compromised morality, while others have strayed from the truth into deception and liberalism. But within our huge family of those who hold to an orthodox faith and are earnestly following Jesus as his disciples, let’s not allow this tribalism to divide and diminish us.
A VERY GENEROUS GRACE
Let’s watch for the subtle drift towards spiritual elitism and accusation. It aligns us with the spirit of the world, making us vulnerable to be caught up in the spiritual swirl of the hour. It grieves Jesus, who’s longing for us to walk a different way, a way where we see the whole Body of Christ with a clear eye of reality and with very generous grace. It’s his longing that we resist the swirl trying to pull us to separate in subtle ways, and fight, in our hearts and in our intercession, for deeper, authentically humble, unity.