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Passion or manipulation? Witchcraft?

Ministry is like every other endeavor in that, especially when you first begin, there is a lot to learn.

Do you want genuine passion or hype?
Many years ago when our ministry was just beginning, there was a married couple who attended our congregation. Everything they touched seemed to turn to gold. They were quite well off financially.

They were generous with what God had given them. They were excited to be a part of something new that God was doing. They even seemed invigorated by it.

However, I was quick to learn what they were about. It was quite the lesson for someone who was just starting out.

Nearly twenty years later I remember giving that first teaching at the new location we were meeting; the first meeting of this new congregation that was just starting.

I still remember seeing that woman gasp and look away in disgust as I quoted Apostle Paul saying “follow me, as I follow Christ“. In context, what I was saying was “follow me, ONLY as I follow Christ”. I was admonishing the group to keep me in check. I encouraged them not to follow me or anyone blindly. Everyone should be held to the same standard according to their commitment to Yeshua and the Word of God.

Following that gathering, after some pretty significant drama, those people abruptly left our ministry. We never saw them again.

I had seen signs of it from them before, but that gathering REALLY revealed their intentions. In time I began to understand that they saw the opportunity of participating in this new and budding ministry. They wanted to exert their influence in molding and shaping this new personality (me) that was just coming onto the scene and showing great promise to be a rising star.

To manipulate the (potential) manipulator
For them, I had appeared to be a pretty good prospect to exert their influence through; but when I failed to pass the charisma test, while I was in front of everyone, they were exceedingly disappointed in me.

Uncharismatic can be uncool
What this couple failed to recognize is I was not incapable of being more charismatic. In fact, in earlier years I had been quite robust and expressive: But when it comes to the Word and Spirit of God, even before that first teaching that so greatly disappointed these people, I made the decision to purposely refrain from anything that could be construed as manipulation and to try to let God do His work.

Nothing wrong with charisma
Let me be clear: There is absolutely nothing wrong with being passionate and enthusiastic about the things of God; in fact, we absolutely should be.

After all of these years, I can honestly say that it has always been my desire to be genuine and authentic. While I wish I could say that I have not made mistakes, I can honestly say that my intentions have always been to serve God well. When errors have been made, it has never been with evil intentions.

Passionate preaching is not necessarily bad
So the idea of passionate preaching has always been at the forefront of my awareness. However, especially since incorporating a radio station into our ministry, and considering others to be included, because of the verbal nature of radio ministry I have been particularly acutely aware of the need to discern between passion and hype. It is an issue that becomes particularly notable in radio ministry.

Manipulation is a form of witchcraft
The Scriptures are clear that manipulation can be as witchcraft and that witchcraft is not to be tolerated.

Nahum 3: 4 says “You were nothing more than a prostitute using your magical charms and witchcraft to attract and trap nations”.

Witchcraft is the exercise of counterfeit spiritual authority to manipulate, dominate, or control others. It is entirely possible to personify these attributes without even realizing it.

Even as rampant as manipulation and deception are, it will become even much more prevalent as time goes on.

Witchcraft is a sin
Witchcraft is sin and According to the Bible, those who practice it are on the wrong side of right.

When it comes to discerning passion from hype or manipulation, there are ways to know the difference.

How to distinguish genuine from fake

  • First and foremost pray for spiritual discernment
  • Is the person exalting Yeshua as King?
  • Are they exalting themselves or someone other than Yeshua?
  • Are they suggesting you partake in activities that the Bible identifies as sin?
  • No one is without sin but do they uphold the Bible as the Word of God in word and deed?

Sometimes these things can be difficult to ascertain but it is the responsibility of each of us to do due diligence in the Kingdom of God.

For the Remnant of God, discerning passion from hype or manipulation is very important, maybe even be life-altering. It could even be the determining factor of life or death.

Blessings in Yeshua
Parson Rayphe
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