Learning to Stand Against the Attacks of Satan: Your Greatest Arsenal Is the True Word of God
Finally, imagine Christ taking both books and stripping them of their covers. Then He takes the contents of His own book and slips it between the covers of [your] book. We pick up the book to examine it. The title reads, The Life and Times of [insert your name]. We open the book and turn the pages and find no sins listed. All that we see is a long list of perfections, obedience, moral purity, and perfect love. The book is so beautiful that even God adores it. That is how to overcome the evil within your heart!
Put your trust in Christ and He does the rest. Having received the righteousness of Christ by faith, we can now put on His righteousness in practice. If we live this way, our heart is unburdened. Did you know? We are currently focused on updating the content and design for the booklet as well as reprinting , copies.
The Gospel message is the core of our ministry, and we are thrilled to give this important resource a makeover. Would you partner with us in this campaign? Similarly, our supernatural breastplate protects us during spiritual warfare, guarding our hearts from harm. But what exactly is our breastplate of righteousness, and how do we wear it? Yet in reality, we always fall short. Putting on righteousness is not reliant upon what we do, but rather upon what Christ has done for us.
He took our sin on the cross and replaced it with His righteousness. In short, those of us who are Christians have received the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. In this battle, our enemy may even use those close to us to attack us. Walking in shame and guilt ends at the foot of the cross. As humans, we still sin and must continually choose repentance as we follow the Lord. We must flood our hearts and mind with His truth in order that our actions reflect the righteousness of Christ to others.
Having been made righteous, our continued obedience and submission to the work of God is paramount to growing in Christlikeness. There is a battle raging. Putting on the breastplate of righteousness is a matter of faith and trust in the One who has made us righteous. It is an act of obedience to the same Christ who calls us to reflect His nature to the world.
We have the armor needed to win this war, but we must suit up. Dealing with the normal stress of home, work, and life is already a challenge, but at some point we'll face other pressures too: money worries, job stress, family conflict, traumatic events, addiction, caring for a loved one. If you are an adult living the world today, you have no doubt experienced stress and anxiety at some point. In part, it may be created by the technological age in which we live. We have too much input coming into our lives from sources that can emotionally drain us when instead we need moments of solitude, rest, and contemplation.
We live in a stressful world. Most of us are too busy and that often robs us of our time with God while adding guilt to our overly stressed lives.
15 Strength-Building Verses To Lean on When Under Spiritual Attack
And then for some people, they erroneously feel they are failing God in some way by admitting anxious thoughts and feelings. This is not so. God is ever-present. He knows how we feel before our fears are even uttered, and He knows the root cause, too. Whatever the cause, it worsens when we are sleep deprived. Fatigue usually raises its head during these times—causing our anxiety to intensify and making us feel weak and defenseless. It is in these vulnerable moments that Satan attacks. The prophet Elijah is a perfect example of a strong man of God feeling weak and depressed.
Talk about going from victory to defeat! Perhaps you can relate to that. Despite his temporary lapse into depression and fear 1 Kings , Elijah went on to accomplish great things for God. But even he, this wonderful prophet of God, when exhausted and alone, began to experience doubts and fears. Anxiety is not a sin; it is a symptom.
So, whenever you or someone you know feels emotionally drained or trapped by feelings of despair—Scripture and prayer are the place to begin your recovery. Considering this, here are some Scriptures to offer comfort and encouragement in those stressful moments or days. Choose one or two of these Scriptures and write them on a card as a source of help during anxious moments. Then find a prayer partner who will join with you in taking your concerns to God in prayer. What can flesh do to me? The Bible is filled with an arsenal of wisdom to help you or someone you know through the trial they may be facing.
Take the Scriptures into your heart, and then take your concerns and needs to the Lord in prayer. And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace. The shoes of peace. Peace reigns in our hearts when we remember the truth found in Scripture, when we remember our gift of salvation can never be revoked, when we keep in mind that God supplies all our needs.
Standing in our shoes of peace assures us we are placing our faith in the right thing, the right Person. We are his greatest targets. And those of us who try to stand without the peace of irrevocable salvation will fall prey. Without shoes, the solider is prone to injury, prone to falling, prone to tripping, prone to stumbling, prone to defeat.
The feet fail. Soldiers must have suitable shoes that will ensure their ability to stand strong in the face of their enemy. The same can be said for the Christian soldier. Having our feet prepped with the gospel of peace will give us the advantage in battle. When we are walking in the gospel of peace, the enemy can neither destroy us nor sideline us. Without our shoes of peace firmly in place, we will fall. Even so, we must remember these shoes are anchored in Someone rather than something.
Anxiety affects 40 million adults in the U. Yes, God allows us endure trials. Our Savior understands our weaknesses, even when others respond with condemnation. The peace that Jesus gives us is a peace that was purchased at the price of His own blood. It is our legacy because of the cross. He has bequeathed it to all of us. When we do, we know that in Christ there is no condemnation. Lindsey Carlson shares a moving story of how she dealt with anxiety and depression. She encourages us to share our own struggles and reminds us that, in Christ, we have freedom from shame and condemnation. Like one in eight mothers, Lindsey was suffering from postpartum depression, the number one complication of childbirth.
As common as it is, postpartum depression PPD often goes undiagnosed, partly because symptoms can vary. Inside the church, women who suffer with PPD [postpartum depression] may actually receive correction instead of grace and judgment instead of hope. Fortunately, Lindsey had the courage to apply the Gospel to her condition, and she sought and received medical help. Our standing with God and his acceptance of us is not based on our ability to be a good mom, to trust God enough to overcome PPD, or on how we feel.
PPD cannot separate us from God. Because Christ suffered and died for you, you are freed from the shame of postpartum depression. If you struggle with anxiety, life can seem like a battle. But God understands the extent of your worry. Even in the darkest nights of the soul, the God of all peace is with you and for you.
The only way to protect yourself is through faith. None of us wants problems. We want life to be smooth sailing. We want happy relationships, fulfilling jobs, great health, and obedient children. They hit us like storms, bringing waves of fear and disruption. But problems drive us to the Lord and teach us to lean on Him. They can grow our confidence in the unseen reality of God and His involvement in our lives. Believers understand many doctrinal truths in the mind, but those truths seldom make the journey down into the heart except through disappointment, failure, and loss.
Our default tendency is to trust in ourselves and lean on our own understanding. God uses our problems to deepen our faith in Him. But by His astounding love and grace, Jesus accepts us whenever we turn to Him. His kayak capsized, and he quickly realized he could not right his craft and make it to shore. Within twelve minutes a coast guard helicopter was on the scene and rescued Ashton-Smith. Mark was able to look beyond his problem to the person he trusted to save him.
In the same way, we need to look beyond our problems to the God of our faith who alone is able to save. When our circumstances are bleak, where do we fix our gaze—on the battle ahead or the Most High God? Satan is a master of deception, and he will do his best to trip us up and strip us of our shield. Our faith in God makes us a threat to his power. Paradoxically, problems can be the greatest asset to our growing faith. As we embrace our difficult circumstances and look to God in the midst of them, we develop a deeper trust in Him as the object of our faith. The more we trust the object of our faith, the stronger our faith grows.
Let us challenge ourselves to step back from our current struggles and see the God above it all. God desires to hold us through the storm and show us His power in more intimate ways than we have ever experienced before. Paul was describing the large shield Roman infantry used to protect their whole bodies.
These shields were four feet tall and two and-a-half feet wide. Made of leather stretched over wood, they were reinforced with metal at the top and bottom. In ancient times, enemy soldiers would dip the tips of their darts or arrows into a solution of lethal poison. On other occasions the enemy would dip their darts in pitch and ignite them before shooting them into the Roman camp, setting it on fire. If you are a Christian, then throughout your lifetime you will be bombarded by thousands of fiery arrows launched by Satan and his minions.
While the Roman shield was carried by an individual soldier, it was most effective when combined with the shields of other soldiers. As the soldiers marched forward in a tight, organized cluster, their shields overlapped and interlocked to prevent points of entry for an enemy arrow. This was called the tortoise or phalanx formation. But often He strengthens our faith through the words or presence of other people in our lives. Put yourself into a community of believers, and let God grow your faith alongside, and as part of, His people.
How many times throughout Scripture are we encouraged, admonished, told to pray with faith? Rather, how many times are we told to simply pray? In the Gospels, Jesus tells His disciples multiple times to pray and believe that what they are praying for will happen. This difficult situation will work out, or this broken relationship will be redeemed, or this mountain will be moved.
Praying with faith makes all the difference. But how many of us approach prayer every day with a measurable amount of faith? How many of us pray for the same things repetitively, not out of faith, but out of routine, out of the ease of obligation? And when we pray these repetitive requests, are we connecting our faith to them? It can become more about the practice rather than the purpose, which shortchanges our communication and relationship with God. Prayer contains our opportunity to sit at His feet with the intention of pouring our hearts out and requesting something, anything, big from Him—especially on behalf of someone we love dearly.
As I have also struggled with disciplining myself to attach faith to my prayers consistently, I have learned a valuable lesson: Empathy makes all the difference. How many times in our prayer lives do we lay down what we think is best for someone in order to simply think about them and let the Holy Spirit show us what we can be praying for concerning them? Pick someone in your life. Think about that person. What do you normally pray for them? How can you transform your prayer a mountain-moving prayer for them today? If someone you know is on your heart and they are dealing with a medical issue, ask God for a miracle of healing.
Pray with empathy for that person, imagine what it feels like to be outside or apart from Christ. Is their life in chaos? Are they struggling with purpose or peace or finding something to be passionate about? Do you know that a relationship with Christ would bring them peace? Prayer is a powerful tool. Oftentimes it can only be activated when we attach our faith to it. Be fearless in asking for big things to happen in your life and the lives of others. God honors and hears our faithful prayers. When we apply faith it deepens our trust in our Heavenly Father.
Talking with God on a consistent basis is vital to our relationship with Him. It keeps us connected to His peace, joy, comfort, wisdom, and power. There is much to be said for setting aside an hour or more a day to quietly commune with the Lord. So how do we pray when there is little time to be still? Pray in the car. Do you commute to work? Drive to the grocery store? Visit friends? Driving in the car can be a prime time for talking with the Lord. Pray in the drive-thru line.
Are you waiting for your Chick-Fil-A? Use that wait time to be quiet before the Lord. Pray the name of Jesus. When emotions are raw and words fall short, simply call to Him by name. There is power in the name of Jesus, and He knows our heart. Pray during daily tasks. While cleaning the house, we can give praise to God for the possessions and home He has provided. While taking a shower, we can ask God to guide our heart through the day.
Such prayers may seem mundane, but God delights in the details and He delights in having our attention. Pray over meals. We all must eat. It is already a habit for many of us to bless our meal before we eat, so take this time for focused prayer as well. This is an opportunity to take a posture of reverence and quiet within our heart. As we dine, we can drink of His blessing. Pray on schedule. It may feel awkward to schedule God into our day, but He would much rather hear from us on a scheduled basis than not at all.
For those of us who live by the calendar, we can schedule God in! Pray visually. When life gets busy, it helps to have a visual reminder. Brief prayers or bible verses written on 3x5 cards will remind us to pray and focus our heart. They can be posted in the bathroom, kitchen, or car. These ideas are merely a starting point. God cares far more that we commune with Him than how we commune with Him.
We are each empowered to pray and ask God how He wants to meet with us, knowing He will faithfully guide. Prayer is our greatest need, our highest activity, our finest habit, and our holiest use of time. Prayer changes everything. How, then, do we pray? Sometimes we pray like Hannah, moving our lips and praying silently. Sometimes we kneel like Daniel, who bowed his knees three times a day. This includes written prayers, since there are so many of them in Scripture. Most of the Psalms are transcribed prayers.
Christians of all eras have written out prayers. The Puritans, too, were famous for their written prayers. God attentively listens when we agree in prayer Matthew , and there is power in thousands of people offering prayer with oneness of spirit. This prayer for wisdom encourages us to pray anew for the wisdom we need to stand resolute and stable in times like these.
Dear Heavenly Father, Your child comes before You seeking wisdom…. May You grant me wisdom to accomplish all that You have put before me in Your strength and Your power with grace and humility and solely for Your glory. May You grant me wisdom to discern between good and evil in all that is around me in all that is within me and to know only that which is holy. May You grant me wisdom to love others as You do; to understand their value fully; to accept them unconditionally; and to give of myself wholly. May You grant me wisdom to treasure Your many blessings; all that You have given me; all that You have shown me; and, in gratitude, live my life purely.
May You grant me wisdom that comes only from above. Wisdom so divine yet wisdom that is mine and strongest when meek and lowly. For it is in our thoughts that our greatest fears, insecurities, and uncertainties exist. Once the enemy lays hold of our thoughts, he can attack us in a uniquely effective way. But if we are prepared, with our helmet of salvation firmly in place, we will be prepared to stand firm regardless of the ways the enemy is trying to break us down.
The truth of our salvation, the very thing that saves us, is found in the Word of God. Its purpose is to remind us of three things: God loves us, Jesus showcased this love by dying in our place, and the Holy Spirit never leaves us while we live in this world. The enemy and his minions can never take salvation away from us. Imagine a soldier suited up for battle without head protection. That type of incomplete uniform does not exist in modern warfare, and it did not exist in the Roman Empire. No soldier would go into battle without fully protecting his head.
A soldier for Christ must have the same standard. No battle should be fought with minds exposed to attacks coming from the other side. The battle for our minds will be won when we remember from Whom our salvation comes and how the enemy cannot seize it from us. God has a special way of using the seemingly obscure to teach His children something we desperately need to know. To know that we need God is important. To reach out for Him is imperative. To hear what He has to say is crucial.
Moses affirmed the principle of acting on what God tells us in his final address to the Israelites, whom he led for forty years:. Jesus states in John that the thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. And to counter that Jesus says, I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. Satan doesnt want to see you living in abundance, and he doesnt want to see you walking upright with the Lord.
He comes to steal your riches, kill your inheritance, and destroy your faith in God. But you can walk in the abundant life God intended! You can fight and win! Its time to gather your weapons. Your greatest arsenal is to stand on the true word of God. Live Without Fear.
Creflo A. Walking in the Confidence of God in Troubled Times. Praise and Worship with Flags. Delores Hillsman Harris. Taffi L. Powerful Moments with God. Kay Arthur. Understanding Salvation. God's Benefit. Marilyn Hickey. Life Eternal Abundant Everlasting Incorruptible. Prophet Kobus Van Rensburg. Matthew Thedford.
Kenya Wallace William. Heavenly Inspirations of Faith, Hope, and Love. Sandra M. Roderick L. Why Satan Hates Love. LeRoy A. What is Faith? Herbert W. Choosing Wisely in Life. Waves of Revival. Bill Vincent. Built to Last. Daniel Carroll. Prayer-A Life Style of Devotion. Jae King Jr. Quotes for Singles. Under the Umbrella of God. Jerry Webb. Drawing The Net. Bennett Collins. Closer Yet. Jodi Woody. The Way Of The Cross.
Darryell W. Rev Edward Johnson. Bishop Greg Nies Sr. Obedience Rather Than Sacrifice. Cinda M. I'm Saved - Now What? Kristina M. Because, I Love You. Lynn Marie White.
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The Shrink Wrapped Armor of God. Kathy Barton. Poetic Devotions for Those In Pain. I felt confident that he will actually make my husband to return home and he did! Guilty as charged on a few accounts: I wanted, desperately needed to get involved in something greater than myself. I had no plans to go back home, was determined to stick it out in this foreign country, heal from my head injuries, sober up, and try a change of direction.
But I was really unhealthy. Without a good support network. So I crawled back to church and wrote a long email stating my qualifications, hoping to get plugged into a ministry as a volunteer. Wrote another long email to the pastor detailing both the head injury and the nightmare situation at my last job it concerned being mistaken for a criminal, which I absolutely am not.
Got plugged into a couple of volunteer opportunities right away, without really spending much time going to church. Thrown into the deep end. And then things started changing. I got a lot more humble, was willing to put a lot of toxic feelings and attitudes away with the help of God , started working on a couple of ministry projects, and started meeting a lot more people. The religious leaders deemed John the baptist and especially Jesus and His disciples to be toxic.
One could almost always say that every one of the OT prophets was deemed to be toxic. Often is the case today that church leaders cannot handle the truth. We are warned to be watchful for false teachers. Yet all to many pastors are not. They will unwittingly endorse the wrong people. Any lay person who knows better will be labeled as a toxic person for the sin of telling the truth about them. The humble will always receive wise council the proud will not. Many so called church hoppers did not leave the previous church, rather the church veered off the narrow path and left them.
The modern churches are all to often hip deep in some form of apostasy. At the same time leadership is as blind as a bat. They dismiss every discernment ministry as being toxic trouble makers. They deem them as being divisive and yet the truth is always divisive. Many pastors see themselves as shepherds tending the flock.
In reality they love the seat of honor and the respectful greeting and the job security more than they ought. I could not have said it better myself. Pride and selfishness seem to be leading more and more congregations. Any truth being told to them is dismissed, confidentiality is ignored and if you have the slightest disagreement you are labeled as a trouble maker. I hope it helps! Over zealous for Christ is never toxic. The litmus paper is to identify the fruits of the tree. May the LORD continue to shine upon you and show mercy….
Yes, very well said. My pastor is running the church with pride and no Godly counsel. Others began asking and were escorted away also. Who was toxic? Seen it time and time again and in the end, truth prevailed each time. They will know that we walk to the beat of a different drum. We walk under the love of God shed abroad in our hearts so richly through Christ Jesus.
Love is selfless it rarely thinks of itself,it is edified in seeing another doing well and their life changed. Love is truly a powerful thing able to having life changing effects on the believer as well as the receiver. The God complex is a mental illness. A severe mental dysfunction putting any god, religion or religious commandment or law above people. You need to see a phycologist. I love living! I enjoy life. I love God and everyone else! It matters to me…. I love Jesus…. Tracy did his own work.. Rooted in the Word. What about a neighbor who will not allow you to excuse yourself from a casual over-the-fence conversation?
The one in question has kept me as long as 90 minutes standing in the hot sun, never once acknowledging my hints that I need to get moving along even as I start backing away as far as 30 feet!! Is this passive-aggressive behavior on her part… or mine?? I come across these people all the time. Usually selfish or in a toxic relationship. Be strong, butt in and say you have to go. No shame in that. I am here to give testimony on how I got my husband back. My husband left me for no reason 3 years ago. He moved in with another woman, I felt like killing myself, my life became very bitter and sorrowful.
Then 1 day, a friend of mine told me about a great spell caster that is very good and, he said he gave him some lucky numbers that he played in a lottery and he won. I used the spell he gave me and the next day I received a call from my darling husband Thomas last month. He apologized and came back to me. He even gave me 10,USD as a means of compensating me.
I know that I certainly would not I want my cheating husband to return back to me oh, no matter what the circumstances were. I feel sorry for someone that relies what is called a doctor, to determine your outcome and to provide the winning lottery numbers? Very sad. My teacher is being so friendly with me and it is a TOO friendly relationship and he smiles at me and invades my personal space and he is starting to scare me. My friends tell me I need to confront him and tell him to stop before it gets bad.
If you are a minor, you really need to tell your parents or trusted adult family member. Take this to Lord in prayer first, of course. I will be praying for you and this situation! I was just 18 and a very innocent girl. I ran back to my dorm and boo hoo ed. My 2 roommates laughed their heads off. I was scared!! Fast forward. End of semester, Summer. I headed home to Upper Montclair, NJ. I freaked out. My parents thought he was weird. I wish I had spoken up to someone at the college. All these years later it still creeps me out. Everything worked out. Susan L. She should tell someone immediately!!!!!!!!
Rachael, Please tell your parents about this, as well as the counselor at school. This type of behavior may be predatory. If the teacher will not stop after you asked them to… Tell another teacher better yet the Prinable. Jesus came to save sinners, not the perfect. You are in the church to serve sinners. Telling someone this is not the church for you because you fear they are a threat to the status quo in your church sounds like you are more concerned about yourself than their souls.
Why not see past their so called toxicity and instead see someone who can be guided , with help, to see and repent of sin that may be causing the so called toxicity? Last time I checked, Jesus was the head of the church, not you. He loved all, even the difficult to love. I mean agape love that gives mercy, grace, compassion, rebuking, correction and forgiveness.
And just as the religious leaders of that age did not want to take godly criticism, they hate it even more today! Wake up pastors, because the first problem Christ addresses when he returns is with the church! Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
Revelation Wow, that was a strong, angry reaction to a very useful article. In my experience toxic people hate to hear or read advice to others that may influence the effectiveness of their manipulations. Like you are the great prophet speaking for how you think HE is thinking. Many moons ago, I belonged to a church that was considered a cult. I agree, Dee Dee. Powerful, practical, very useful information for those in ministry or not. Thank you, Carey Nieuwhof! Thank you. Jesus is the head of the church but you better hope for a Pastor with wisdom and discernment, otherwise the church is gonna be in shambles.
Thanks Lea for your comment on this post. I agree with you. Its no wonder the church is so dysfunctional when the leadership is so insecure. This is the perfect example of secular-psycho babel that has gotten into the church, with terminology such as toxic. Jesus came to seek that which is lost, he came to help the sick. Could it mean you lack the patience and the people skills, Carey? Or perhaps you prefer to deal with people that are the quiet types and agree with you all the time..
The author of the article showed his true color. It is a disgrace to the name of the Lord.
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Attitude like this prevents true believers from joining a church. Is that person toxic or is that just their personality type. Agree with Janine. Only God knows the true intent and personality of each of us. Totally agree. The person writing the article needs to be educated and be led by Jesus to be loving and show mercy without fear of wasting their time or hurting their church.
Yet so many are!!! I understand both concerns, however considering it is the church I agree. If it becomes an issue that affects the entire congregation negatively then offer other solutions. Peace be with you. Well said. Thank you Lea. Carey NewHoof has stuck a big horse shoe in his mouth with this article And is obviously getting a little too big for his britches!
Stand down Carey and get some humility! Exactly what I was thinking. Author of this article just trying to make a buck off insecure pastors who use google instead of the Bible. Stop judging people and start helping them. The lists that are given are basically blue prints as to what to look for based on what The Word says. Shauna, what an insightful and knowledgeable person you are. You helped me address the guilt that I feel for wishing someone would pass away. My sister has had a boyfriend for over 30 years. His mother is 94, drives a big van, goes to her little store every day, and is in better health than most year olds.
My sister loves her boyfriend, and he loves her, but his mother will not let go of him. He lives with her. They have had a business for eight years but have failed to turn a profit. It is a very beautiful, classy gift shop but the area in which it is located does not have a great customer base.
If they relocate, his mother would assume she had to come along. If she were a nice person, my sister would agree, but she is a non-stop talker, a bragger about her good health, wants to be the center of attention, and says the wrong things at the wrong times. For example, my sister lost her son unexpectedly. He was a great young man who did not do drugs, drink, womanize and was a great dad. His son was only years old when Brian passed. My sister has had cancer, lost her only son, and wants to spend what years she has left with her boyfriend.
I am very close to my sister and want to see her happy in her retirement years. She is 73 years old. The other day, when we were talking on the phone, both my sister and I agreed that it was time for this toxic woman to die. Is that evil? I hate her. This is really very informative and I believe it to be the truth! I was dealing with someone like this at work and was really seeking advice.
I know it is applicable in many settings, including church. Thanks for this! Those people need the reassurance that they matter, they will tell anybody anything because they have not friends or family member to tell about their private worries and joys. If anybody waits to be asked, the leader will be the one who first steps up to decide something a conversation topic for starters.
I grew up being very shy and almost never talking to people who did not invite a conversation. Then I learned that I can just talk to strangers, initiate a conversation, ask people things, share my interests and yes, my stories, too. Life became much more relaxed. Today, I notice that some people more and more, it seems? If you are afraid to cause offense, not only will YOU miss this, but most tragically the lonely people who truly have nobody, whose day will brighten if they have had one single positive conversation with some stranger will miss this opportunity.
Ironically, I made the experience in a church. After service, churchgoers are invited for a cup of coffee and so you get to know other churchgoers which hardly was the case in my previous church: After service, everybody left as quickly as possible. This way, I have gotten to know a lot of interesting people who told me about their life, their believes, their holidays.
One woman started to bring little presents for my disabled brother — my brother started to bring little presents for her, too. They were decades apart but they got to know and like each other quite well, only by talking after service. He made a lot of friends outside, by talking to strangers, service people, salespeople, anybody he could.
This was very well received. A week before his death I was asking a couple of people to send him postcards to the hospital which I had prepared with the hospital address. He received a couple of cards and one from a woman who sells hotdogs at Ikea. This woman formed a real bond with my brother, later sharing private information and photos with my mother. All this would not have happened if he had not hung around the hotdog stall, chatting to strangers. Another time, by the way, we were shopping for clothes when he offered to wait in a bakery of the store. Outside, there was a stall where someone sold items for charity.
My brother talked to him, asked him what he was doing and then proceeded to help, stopping people to tell them about the items they could buy to help children with cancer. When my mother and me returned, we first wanted to apologize for my brother bothering the salesperson, but were answered that he had never sold so many items as in the 30 mins when my brother was helping and really appreciated it. And, no kidding, when my mother told our pastor that he had died before service, because we were asked what was wrong , he received the best spontaneous epitaph I can imagine.
The church was not in the village where my brother lived. We did not attend service every Sunday. We only knew people there from the conversations after service, about 30 mins at most per Sunday. And yet, due to his openness and eagerness to get to know people, and some other antics such as imitating the blessing — because he felt that this was the thing to to — a lot of people who regularly attended service there did know him.
All this would never have happened if he had patiently waited for someone to approach him. I just read your comment and I agree with you about talking and laughing with strangers. What makes us strangers is the fact that we put up a blockade. I just want to tell you thank you! I have a new gentleman join our group. At the first meeting he insulted one of the members, he said he needed a job and two men gave him information on two jobs.
One man is very well connected in the work force, he told him the guys name to meet with and he had to be their the next morning. The at the end of the meeting the brother that is well connected told him his friend would meet with him at seven thirty in the morning to get him a job and his comment was that was really early to get up.
This person has been in many churches and was kicked out of the churc and small group for his actions. Any thoughts? People should be able to find God in any Church and see Jesus in just about any believer in and or outside of the Church. Maybe some have decided to start checking out each different denomination and perhaps that is a valid reason for attending a handful of churches im not sure. However, I think i get where the Pastor is coming from and the type thats being referred to — its that personality type with a lot of church baggage who has a critical spirit and instead of letting the Lord lead , personalized everything and makes it all about them and how they think they should feel etc.
Until a person gets over themselves , they wont feel at home anywhere lol. But seriously. But where there is pain or a discomfort i say stay there and let HIM heal you. Just my two cents. Im not perfect by any means. So those of you who read this article and get all bent out of shape and get a guilty conscience , take a deep breathe, relax and put your defenses back down. Toxic people criticize. A lot. They consider themselves experts on everything and believe everyone else needs to be blessed with their wonderful wisdom.
People who move around a lot is also another red flag. Not just people who move from one church to the next, but just move around in general. Have lived in five different cities in one year.
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No explanation as to why. Be very careful around these people. Yes, we live in the real world and needless to say will deal with toxic people along the way. We are all fallen, sinners, imperfect people. I see that by attending a church sale, and then I never go back because the values of most religious women do not match or even add up to mine. I broke up with a very abusive Christian friend using the very words Christians use against people like me. I told her we are unequally yoked and her religious beliefs and the women she associates with are her very very heavy yoke.
I do not have a heavy yoke, I am in perfect understanding with the powers of the universe and do not need a man to interpret them for me. Needless to say, I will not be a member of any of the human male created religions in my area. As long as the churches assign socioeconomic status based on the gender the universe gave them, the churches will continue to attract the toxic sorts listed above.
My mother IS this person. She has successfully chased away pretty much all of our extended family and is a breath away from me packing up and moving and never looking back. Her latest pastor suggested to her a few months ago that the relationship between me and her is suffering and she should try to rectify that. You guys could filter posts a lot better. To Naaz, is there a reason you made over posts in ONE google thread? This subject of identifying or dealing with toxic people is for those in leadership positions, preferably for those serving in pastoral positions, and for mature believers.
As leaders our mission is to assist those whom Christ puts in our lives, regardless of who they are, or where they come from. The article also gives some pointers on identifying the characteristics of people who are more interested in controlling the leaders rather than submitting to them. Also people working in secular organizations put up with whatever attitude or character flaws a person may encounter, why?
Because they need that paycheck, and these organizations pay for talent and experience, in a church our workers will be from those who walk into our churches, those who have been redeem, many times it will be a drug addict, a homeless person, a single parent, a backslider and by the grace of God, sometimes a college educated person also, nevertheless they are volunteers who have caught the vision and the mission of Christ and the Church.
I have been told by police to reach out to church and when I do, the boudaries and ignoring start and I generally move on from a church were many are perfectly pleased with. At best she says I need to speak to counselors most of whom have demonstrated in word or deed they don;t like me, some have sugarcoated me, others have told me I have a tough row to hoe and they have nothing for me. Yikes, not for me.
But you might get labelled as co-dependent or ultra-needy with some of the same results. A couple of suggestions: make friends with someone for a month before you start sharing your problem s.
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Ask yourself if you are giving to the friendship as much as you are taking. Who is toxic? The one who judges or the one who is being judged? I am beginning to wonder if our former pastor read your article and took it to heart. The elders of our church recently placed our pastor on sabbatical for doing the things you suggest in this article.
All of this divided a once united congregation and has been a painful experience for everyone. Apparently, by doing what this article suggests, he was the most toxic member of the church after all…. I agree with you…. I have been on both sides, and what I see is Carey is cautious and that leads to control. Carey is talking about trying to avoid being burned by people who church-hop and cause problems wherever they go — which is a very real problem in churches.
They need to demonstrate some sort of commitment to the body before they lead the body. Maybe because it was a significant problem then too! When we seek Him and follow His Word, then we are on the right track. We need to respect the pastor and his leadership and wisdom. I think this pastor is right, we do need to be able to recognize this type of person.
Satan really does seek to steal, kill, and destroy and he often uses these types to do it! Not everyone who comes into the church is there for the right reasons and therefore not willing to change anything about themselves and a discerning pastor and body will recognize this person. Mature Christians will seek God and follow His leading about what to do with such a person. Jesus had no problem calling a spade a spade, lol.
I agree with this article. I also think that there are absolutely wrong ways to go about taking the advice of this article. This article empowers the judgmental Christian that turns so many away. I am beginning to wonder if our former pastor read your article and took it to heart in the wrong way. He recently left and started his own church bringing some of his so-called nontoxic members with him.
This divided a once united congregation and has been a painful experience for everyone. I agree completely. This article is written from a pseudo psychological judgementalist objective. Heaven forbid that you should discover that perhaps that person is offering you advice up front because it is glaringly obvious to anyone with an outside perspective what needs to be fixed… and perhaps that is why God brought them to you in the first place. And stop judging.
My golly. The church has become a petty power struggle forum for children shouting across the marketplace. Grow up. I would like to gently point out from my experience that not everyone who is enthusiastic about getting involved is toxic. Some people honestly want to jump right in. I think there is room for different personality types in the Church, and the diversity of personalities is needed. There is a guy I knew who was part of a Church congregation I was a part of many years ago. A person in the Church approached him afterward and told him they were discouraged he did that.
He fell away. He also said it just felt like his mission was to show up at Church and straighten his tie. I wish the person who said that to him knew the effect of their words on this young fired up Christian, who is no longer a Christian anymore and is now deep in the world. I would also like to ask the person whoever it was, what was so discouraging about a brother in Christ making a noise to express his joy. I hope that none of us ever foster an environment where a person feels there is no room for the authentic expression of their natural personality, leading them to feel more accepted in the world instead of the Church.
I like that other examples were given in this post. I think zeal or eagerness to contribute should only be looked at with concern if other behaviors indicating toxic motives are present. Thank you so much for this response. The article set me back. As an older person who was a member of a church for 18 years before we moved, I had just begun to serve at that church—God had done a work in my heart, and I had found service joyful.
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We knew God had brought us to this smaller church. Maybe the writer should have bounced his article off of different people to gain more perspective before sharing it. I also have noticed that people who are extremely forceful in the beginning often cause immense problems quickly. I think it would be beneficial to talk about two types which are especially dangerous and some behaviors that are often not recognized as sinful. My comments are from the perspective as an assistant worship leader. First is the perfectionist. They are highly destructive and people will be damaged by them.
There will be a trail of wounded wherever they serve. They create bad morale and they are unbearable to work with. If they are also rote musicians, they are exponentially harmful. They can put whole churches to sleep and all the while, the music will sound very adequate. Toxic baggage resulting from abuse especially sexual abuse is particularly dangerous to a worship team. The stage is like a magnet for these folks and they are often being run by dark forces despite being redeemed.
For those on the outside, this probably sounds strange but think of it like an addiction and it will make sense. I wish that more pastors would recognize that ambition is counter to the Christian paradigm and that an excessive desire to be on the team is actually a form of coveting. You nailed it though. Excessive excitement at the beginning is the tell. Also, note that this behavior is divisive and it served to split the relationship between the worship leader and the pastor.
Way too many pastors enable this one. Sounds to me like you have leadership inadequacies. Your judgementslism is an offense to God. There are worship leaders that are toxic too and many pastors will put up with whatever the worship leader does to these non-paid musicians. They surround themselves with yes people and people too afraid to stand up and say anything.
This type of abuse happens and the house musicians are often times not paid, not treated with respect, no time to hang out together and even though they get told they did good, through actions are just viewed of as disposable. Except, to be balanced, you can burn through a lot Churches these days—especially if you come from outside the bubble—just desperately trying to find a Church that will accept you and love you.
I heard one person say she can feel the moment she walks in a Church if they are earnest or not. Also, Churches are not managed as well as professional, secular organizations, in general. When you see the favourtism and perhaps the amateurism—or flagrant conflicts of interest that would never be okay in secular institutions—it is easy to get frustrated and walk out the door.
However, for many of us, hope springs eternal. Part of fitting in is finding where your gifts will be welcomed. If one is not allowed to participate, people will often on. And to be fair some of the MOST toxic are the folks who have been around forever and run new folks off. What would Jesus do? Well of course none of us are Jesus but supposedly wanting to become like him. You explanation of a Toxic person is so repulsive that I am sure it even hurts Jesus. Why so many churches are dying. Christ cannot deny himself. Why I love Him so much. Same yesterday, today and forever.
Thanks for this article. Attraction and promotion of church followers while trying to serve each other sure can be problematic when there are some people in attendance who are feeling unstable and acting out. I like the idea of not giving them influence. I would love feedback on what to do when this blows up. It was a bit of a nightmare and created a lot of turmoil in the young church. So here is my question — what recommendations would you give on a how to communicate to the congregation that them holding on to this couple is continuing to cause turmoil, or is this even the right approach?
How do you know when they are safe to come back? If ever? Direction, experience and feedback from those that have gone through this would be greatly appreciated.