The spirit of control reduces what should be an intimate relationship with the Father [through the Spirit] to nothing more than a robotic formula for the “success” of a well-oiled machine.
If you are in leadership of a spiritual community of any type please please please do not let the enemy rob you of the adventure of trusting the Holy Spirit in the lives of the “ordinary” believers who have trusted you to shepherd them.
If you catch yourself seeking to control them, or something they are doing please take a step back and ask the Father what fear is fueling that need for control of the particular situation. Chances are there are unknowns involved, which make you nervous…so you want to step in and control the situation to mitigate some level of risk…so it doesn’t disrupt the community…and ya know what, it will. You’ll control that person. You’ll keep the situation safe, and healthy, and risk-free.
You’ll rob that person of experiencing connection with the Spirit. They won’t have to learn to hear God’s voice because you’ve put so many boundaries, and rules, and walls, and policies, and “challenges”, and theologies up around them. Not to mention you’ve accidentally become the “priest” in their life…their connection to the Father, the primary conduit through which they hear God.
Talk about boring. What a terrible tragedy.
When that happens, you’re also robbing yourself of an expansion of faith that comes from watching God work in someone’s life outside of the perfect little lane ropes you set in place for them. News flash, God doesn’t need the perfect little risk-free boxes we put Him in in the name of “protecting the flock”.
*Disclaimer: I struggle with this spirit of control every day, and have for years. If you struggle with that spirit of control I beg you to practice saying this to someone as often as possible:
“I trust the Spirit of God in you.”
As you say it, beg God to grow your faith. You’ll watch as the Holy Spirit starts transforming lives in a real, organic way…and believe you me, it will be WAY better than any “nugget of wisdom” or challenge or push back you could have placed on them in an attempt to get them to do what you felt was right for the situation.
Oh, *Disclaimer #2: they’re going to be wrong….like….a lot…you’re gonna want to be the guy that says “I told you so” like….a lot. But you know what just happened? They had a real experience where they practiced listening to God…they got it wrong…things didn’t turn out how they could have. That’s the most powerful discipleship they could experience. Now they have honed in a little more on hearing God’s voice…with your shepherding and walking with them through the situation you get to help them discover where they may have heard wrong, so they can get it better next time.
I know, it’s much easier for people to just trust what you say and do what you say they should do. You don’t have to worry about them “hearing God say something” that doesn’t jive with what you think. That’s pretty lazy, though. It’s also cutting the legs out from under the church…
Take a step back…see if there are ways you may have [accidentally, subconsciously, or unintentionally] kept a leash, training wheels, etc. on those you lead in an attempt to “protect” [or control] them…I promise you that if you let go and start practicing trusting the Spirit of the Living God who dwells in the hearts and minds of each of those people your faith will grow immeasurably….and so will theirs.