How to Recognize a Controlling Spirit

Identifying Jezebel

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23

The Body of Christ is being plagued by a Jezebel spirit. What is a Jezebel spirit? In short, it is a spirit of control. The name derives from Jezebel, wife of Ahab in the Old Testament, who was a control freak.

Isolated hand control business man

A spirit of control has its roots in fear. Those who are dominated by a spirit of control always act out of fear, not out of love. When such a person is in a leadership role, the results can be disastrous, resulting in broken relationships and even church schisms.  

Here are some signs of a controlling spirit:

  1. Assuming authority one does not have.  I have seen this especially among pastors’ wives (or husbands) who believe that they have the rights of a co-pastor just because they are married to the pastor. A young woman came to me recently who had been hired for a paid position in her church. Her boss was the pastor, and she was told that she reported to him alone. The pastor’s wife, however, who was not this young woman’s boss, began to give orders to the young woman regarding how she was to do her job. When the young woman politely explained that the pastor was her boss and had given the young woman freedom to make basic decisions regarding her job, the pastor’s wife became irate. Upon closer investigation, the young woman discovered that this particular pastor’s wife continually interfered in her husband’s role as pastor, even though she was not ordained. The pastor, by the way, was afraid to confront his wife. While the young woman really liked her job, she could not continue to function under a controlling spirit and eventually left.
  2. Inability to admit that one was wrong. A controlling person will rarely, if ever, admit that he was wrong. He will not allow room for the viewpoints of others and insists that his viewpoint alone is the correct one. While displaying a false sense of confidence, controlling people are really very insecure.
  3. Taking matters into their own hands–especially matters that do not belong in their hands. A controlling person believes that no one can handle a matter as well as she can. This attitude is rooted in pride. A controlling person cannot bear to think that others may know more about something than he does. 
  4. Manipulating circumstances. Manipulation is one of the chief characteristics of a controlling spirit. A controlling person will go out of his way to get others to do things his way. Because control is rooted in fear, a controlling person attempts to maintain control of her environment by controlling others. In so doing, the controlling person is deceived into thinking she is safe and secure. 
  5. Casting blame on others. A controlling person will blame others for rifts in communication and for problems resulting from her controlling spirit. She must maintain a superior position in order to feel good about herself. She refuses to look at herself as the one responsible for the problem.

Dealing with a controlling person can be extremely difficult because the controlling person refuses to admit she is the problem. If you are involved with a controlling person, it is imperative that you establish your boundaries and express them. If you are under the authority of a controlling person, it is imperative that you not allow yourself to be abused. Pray for the person in authority over you, but if things don’t change, remove yourself from the situation. 

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