Don’t hold a pity party for the only guest who will turn up is the spirit of control: 5 Traits of Controlling People
Sometimes we all groan inwardly due to trials we experience, pressure we endure or even spiritual attacks. Sometimes we can even go through a season wondering, “What, do I have a sign on my forehead saying ‘feel free to give me grief’?”
Yet we need to understand that the Christian journey is one of sanctification to become more like Christ and a major part of this transformation is the renewing of our mind.
The most wonderful truth of the gospel is we can go from VICTIM to VICTOR through Christ Jesus.
You see, as human beings born into this world we inherit a sinful disposition from Adam which leaves us broken and in need. We are incomplete. Our mortal bodies and death should be testimony enough to this fact. Death grieves us so much as it is not a part of the way things should be. It is not a part of original creation. We are victims of Satan and sin and need God to save us.
When we realise our need and call out to God to forgive us for our sin, to re-birth us with His sinless nature (receiving the blessed, perfect Holy Spirit)...When we call out for salvation through Jesus Christ – the only way possible because God made it, not us – we are transformed from Victim to Victor. Our sin is nailed to the cross of Jesus, we are redeemed and we become a child of God and a Victor of life through Jesus’ victory over death.
But we MUST hold firm to this truth in our mind during our spiritual pilgrimage, for the enemy will try his best to attack our minds and keep us in a place of spiritual immaturity where we still have the mind of a victim, so that we do not bear much fruit for the Kingdom of God.
The enemy will plant unbiblical, negative thoughts in our minds and water them with controlling people. I know this from experience, yet I also choose to not feel sorry for myself from having had the experiences, rather to learn from God through them and to share what I’ve learnt with others for His Kingdom and Glory!
We need to grow in wisdom and discernment to SEE the spirit of control for what it is a tactic of the enemy to make us less productive. We need to understand that we are NOT THE ONLY ONE undergoing challenges and that we can help others from our experiences. When we are experiencing hardship remember 1 Peter 5:6-11 and 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:6-11.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4.
As a Christian when we do not have a mind of a VICTOR and retain the unbiblical mentality of a victim, we begin to hold very lonely ‘pity parties’ in our mind…we begin to entertain thoughts like;
Why am I lacking…..x, y, z? (Fill in the blank; for it doesn’t really matter we won’t be content with whatever we have)
Why did I stuff up again?
When will I ever be good enough?
Why don’t I ever get a break?
Entertaining these thoughts in our very own pity-parties keeps our minds from focusing upon the TRUTH which is we can be content in whatever situation we find ourselves as CHRIST is ENOUGH, period! We DO NOT need to strive for perfection in anything in our lives like finances or personal relationships, for Christ is PERFECTION and His work for us has been completed once and for all on the cross…We have gone from Victim to Victor no matter what anyone or the world may do to us! What we now strive for is a close and intimate RELATIONSHIP with Christ and from that will stem the fruit of peace and righteous living.
When we take our eyes off Christ Jesus and entertain these thoughts in our own private pity parties, the only guest who will turn up is the spirit of control and this is not of God.
You see God gives us His blessed Spirit who gives us the gift of self-control. He leads us is all truth and righteousness but we are not under robotic control.
I believe the spirit of control attacks us through other people (yes, even those in the church). The following observations are from my experiences and may help you discern and avoid the spirit of control infiltrating your own life. I believe controlling people can exhibit the following traits:
1. They move quick ~
Controlling people will generally move quite quickly in regards to relationship building. They will intentionally want to move through friendship/relationship stages quite quickly which can leave someone feeling quite baffled, as to how this still relatively ‘new’ person came to have such authority in their life. Some moving quick signs are people who do not follow social etiquette when they know better like; texting at inappropriate hours; making contact too often; trying too hard to make an impression. This moving quickly can be difficult to see as some great and healthy friendships can also move quickly when people ‘hit-it-off’ but this moving quick point is still very valid, as it will be accompanied by other traits. Remember there is NOTHING wrong with taking time to observe people; getting to know them well before divulging private matters and limiting contact with people when you simply choose to. Furthermore it is valid to ‘test’ people (1 John 4:1) if you feel things are moving too quickly. You could simply cancel a catch-up and don’t say why (it is fine to keep details private) while reassuring them all is well. Watch for their reaction. Is it healthy and mature or reactive making you feel anxious, insecure or guilty? People who do not desire to control you will be respectful and accommodating.
2. They will not respect boundaries ~
Controlling people will perhaps at first seem to respect boundaries but will begin to not respect your ‘fences’, rather hurdle them with seemingly effortless ease after they’ve tested and perhaps found they are made of straw rather than brick. A boundary I have experienced being tested is one of physical intimacy. I had a Christian man at the beginning of our friendship try to put his arm around me and later move in for a kiss with no prior discussion or much thinking. Controlling people will take advantage of kind, good natured people; it may be simply not respecting your schedule and ask you to run all their errands too. They may expect you to skip church to do a different Christian activity with them and tell you that their idea is more important. They will expect to be able to cancel plans with you or not commit to a plan of yours, yet not extend the same grace to you. They will conduct themselves with a subtle arrogance which even when unspoken conveys their boundaries matter while yours are invalid. This disrespecting of boundaries can even be in professional relationships; the controlling person will not keep the relationship professional and will often treat the other person as lesser than, rather than as a colleague.
3. They will be arrogant ~
Arrogance was mentioned in point no.2. However it does deserve its own specific point. Controlling people may say all the right things, especially in the early stages of a relationship as they will want you on their side. They will want to eventually control your decisions, so they will begin by winning your thoughts over, to convince you they are always right. This will begin with flattery rather than true encouragement. Be wise and pay attention to the negatives. This may sound harsh but we are to be as gentle as doves, yet as wise as serpents (Matthew 10:16) as we live out our Christian lives among wolves. A controlling person will flatter you, yet also subtly degrade your self-confidence and autonomy in Christ. For example, “You are so beautiful and therefore vulnerable to deceitful men!” Or “No I don’t believe what you heard was from God…you defiantly have a gift of blah, blah but I have the gift of discernment!” You will find controlling people find it difficult to admit when they are wrong and also to apologise.They will also find it difficult to submit to others and will therefore be predominantly loners (because everyone else in their opinion you will come to realise is wrong). They will not be involved as a member of many groups and insist they are more of a leader. Controlling people will if able, control your activity and participation in even Christian service. At the beginning it may seem as if they are entrusting you with a task but you will come to see that you will be only able to participate at their discretion. For singles this point is important, as we can think making friends with another single who doesn’t associate with many others is a good idea as they may be lonely too…NO, it’s not! Stick to group activities to find healthier friends.
4. They will exhibit some traits found in 2 Timothy 3:
You must understand this, that in the last days distressing times will come. For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, brutes, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the outward form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid them! For among them are those who make their way into households and captivate silly women, overwhelmed by their sins and swayed by all kinds of desires, who are always being instructed and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth. As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these people, of corrupt mind and counterfeit faith, also oppose the truth. 2 Timothy 3: 1-8.
For example, I went to dinner once with a person who said all the right Christian things yet had an air of arrogance and complained about the waitress while treating her with rude indifference. The same person when I said that I desired to live a simple life free from the love of money told me that this wasn’t true and I deserved the best! I have experienced conversations with people where they are happy to be heard, actually very happy to be heard, and while they sprout they are open to discussion, have quickly downplayed my remarks as simple or old fashioned. Controlling people will not encourage you to do good deeds, being led by the Spirit, rather they will stifle you and inhibit your Christian growth. Some people will even work against you serving in a way they don’t think is right!
5. They will want to be Christ for you ~
I have intentionally left this point till last for I believe it is the most important. A controlling person may seem at first to be so full of godly wisdom, and they actually may truly give some, but it will become more and more so that they will get you to a place in your life where you seek them above Christ and this must NEVER be so. I have been blessed to experience true, Christian encouragement in my life and I know this is interaction which builds me up; does not leave me questioning my integrity or worth; and never confuses me or tells me what to do. It points me ALWAYS to spend more time with Christ for clarity and confirmation not a person. I believe a true encourager will foremost listen. They will then offer a scripture or word based upon scripture which helps (never tears down). They will pray with you and exhort you to not worry but continue to stay close to Jesus. They will be happy to let you have time alone with God, even if they never see you again – they will be healthy individuals, secure in their own relationship with Jesus and never desire to replace God in your life and also have the wisdom to step away from people who desire them to be so.
To conclude the fruit of the spirit is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, Look for this fruit as evidence of genuine Christian people. Remember God will never confuse you. Sometimes we may feel it is difficult to hear His voice when competing ones are so loud in their effort to gain control over us. God will not push us beyond what we can handle and will confirm His will through more than one person! Don't let controlling people pull you away from a strong relationship in Christ, be wise in the scriptures so that you walk as you truly are; a VICTOR in Jesus!
In His love & Peace, Melanie.