Updated: Sep 12, 2019
As we look at the subject of witchcraft, we need to realize that there are many different aspects concerning the origin and practice of it. Maybe you expect an in-depth study of the use of witchcraft in de world or even in the demonic realm. This is not the intention of this article. Here I want to focus at controlling, manipulating or forceful leadership in the church of Jesus Christ. The sin of witchcraft is mentioned in the Bible for instance in 1 Samuel 15: 23 and also in Galatians 5: 19-20, which already characterizes the person involved in it.
1. Compulsive leadership
Leadership by the leading of Holy Spirit is NEVER compulsive and will always respect man's free will. God will never force or make someone do things. Everything that God wants to achieve through man, He will do out of a free will. When we are not ready then God will help us to see and to understand what He wants from us, until we are convinced. “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure”. Philippians 2: 13.
2. Acting without conviction
Romans 14: 23 says, “For whatever is not from faith is sin”. God will never require anything from you when you are not convinced of it. He will never make you sin against your own conscience. In the same way leaders should never force you to make decisions when you are not sure about it.
Witchcraft is excluded when the three areas of man are in accordance to God’s Spirit and to each other. Jesus states in Mark 12: 30 “And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart (spirit), with all your soul, with all your mind (soul) , and with all your strength (body)”.
Jesus touches on the three main areas of man’s existence and He puts as norm a total dedication and surrender in every area.
Conviction by Holy Spirit means:
a) To see and understand what and why something must be done (with all your mind = the soul)
b) Out of free will action, having passion and vision to participate = the emotions (the soul)
c) Out of relationship with God means to have heard from God, it is being sure in spirit (= spiritual, with all your heart)
d) Acting out of your own conviction is (bodily) effort and bringing sacrifices in time and finances with joy = physical (with all your strength).
When the total person is convinced, it is valuable to God; otherwise any effort will be without fruit.
Follow me as I follow Christ, ruling and serving
Paul did not ask any attention for himself but he put a challenge to imitate him in his dedication and attitude of following Christ. (1 Corinthians 4: 16 – 1 Corinthians 11: 1).
Leadership means to set an example, to serve in the natural and to rule in the spirit. As soon as this is turned around, you are facing witchcraft. Ruling in the natural is something that the rulers of this world do (Matthew 20: 25). Jesus answers though “Yet it shall not be so among you”. Ruling over people means to demand of them to follow you, to expect things from them without respecting their conviction.
3. Try to convince
Acts 20: 31 “Therefore watch, and remember that I (Paul):
(1) For three years
(2) Night and day I did not cease
(3) To warn
(4) Everyone with tears”
Paul does not force anybody but tries to convince the people to change their lifestyle. The decisions of a person are only fully acceptable to God, once the total person is able to agree with the leading of Holy Spirit.
Vision and conviction
The one may be excited about something, but the other one will feel nothing for a certain project. Not everybody receives the same vision and passion to achieve something. This is related to the fact that not everybody is called or destined to work towards the same goal.
Visionaries and destiny
Visionaries, people, leaders who have a strong conviction and vision must realize that not everyone is called to do the same thing. Ephesians 2: 10 says that God has prepared works so that we might walk in them. It is God who determines this and every leader has to respect the fact that not everybody who is in relationship with you should also work with you.
4. Open doors for witchcraft are
(1) Not ready for a certain task
When the soul does not come along, then the emotions are suppressed because of the vision. Sooner or later the person will quit.
(2) Sense of duty
When the mind, the reason, the logic is unclear, but loyalty and sense of duty force you to go along, then there is manipulation and an open door for witchcraft.
(3) Patterns of expectancy
When your spirit is not in accordance with God’s Spirit: a person can come along with his mind, but matters might not have been confirmed in one’s spirit. The latter is often the case when you are not destined to cooperate in something. Not everybody belongs to everybody! When you cooperate because of people’s expectancy, then you are pleasing people and thus you are facing manipulation and this is an open door for witchcraft.
(4) Isolated leadership
This is the leader who runs ahead and who does not seek confirmation among his co-workers. He does not dare to be dependent on their conviction. In fact he does not want to take the risk that his plan is not going to be confirmed. He does not seek unity of spirit and conviction among his co-workers. In this way he is busy isolating himself and slowly moving into dictatorship. Hence there is manipulation and an unruly behavior, leading to witchcraft.
(5) God’s vision or good ideas
There is a big difference between God’s vision and our own desires (vision). In many situations people are afraid to hear God’s instructions through the prophet. People do not want to give space to the prophet to speak in order to avoid the risk that God might want something different than their own ideas in giving leadership. These leaders are so much controlling their church that God does not even have any space to give direction. This is human control and manipulation. It is unruly behavior and thus witchcraft.
5. Symptoms, phenomena and attitudes of witchcraft
(1) Somebody with witchcraft has no relationship with God and leans solely on the instructions of the prophet or from the occult world. See Saul in 1 Samuel 28: 1-25. Because Saul did not have any relationship with God, he had to hear from Samuel.
(2) Somebody with witchcraft is self-opinionated and impatient, anxious and insecure and often has a big mouth in order to hide his insecurities. See 1 Samuel 15: 17-26.
(3) Witchcraft is a spirit, who will suppress David, via the insecure leader, Saul. It is the older ministry who feels threatened because of the younger generation arising with a strong anointing. See 1 Samuel 18: 6-9.
(4) Witchcraft is capable of killing priests, brothers because of anger seeing that he does not get what he wants. See 1 Samuel 22: 6-23.
(5) Witchcraft characterizes itself in evil outbursts and is often emotionally out of control. See 1 Samuel 18: 10-14.
(6) Witchcraft has no power over the prophetic anointing and therefore prophets are not welcome in churches, which are controlled by people. See 1 Samuel 19: 24 – Saul amongst the prophets. The prophetic anointing unveils and brings witchcraft to the light.
(7) Witchcraft is very misleading; this spirit will fight on behalf of God’s people in order to show how much the person is dedicated to the people of God. Through this he gains a position of trust, enabling him to operate in the body. See 1 Samuel 14: 47-52.
(8) Witchcraft tries to get everything under its power by playing people off against each other, thus avoiding that any relationship be built among the subordinates, who could become dangerous. See 1 Samuel 20: 30-34.
(9) Witchcraft makes co-workers think that they have a better relation with the leader than the other workers. This is because the leader gives the impression that you are more important than the rest. The result is that everyone is disconnected from the other and feels more important than the others. The result is: divide and rule (dominate).
(10) The spirit of competition begins to strongly influence the group because everybody feels more important than the other. It is clear that the leader is being exalted above the others.
(11) Witchcraft works out that the leader becomes very self focused and operates and behaves very individually. He has no interest for the situation of the other person. He often speaks about himself in order to promote himself.
(12) Witchcraft means that the leader imposes his will on to others in such a way that the other person can hardly get away from it even if he would try to do so. See 1 Samuel 20: 30-34 – Saul in relation to Jonathan.
(13) Witchcraft makes a person become so much independent and isolated that it is very hard for co-workers to approach him in order to give correction or advice and this because of a lack of relationship. In this way every approach becomes almost a confrontation.
(14) Witchcraft is looking for power and reputation and does not shun deceit nor lies, not being willing to give in to wrong behavior. See 1 Samuel 15: 20-22.
(15) Witchcraft, once cornered, does not shun repenting for the sake of appearance by so-called confession of sin, lying in order to show how good he is. Later, when it appears that more stuff is revealed, then it is clear that the confession was only limited to the most necessary things while all the rest was still hidden. True remorse or conviction of sin makes someone confess everything that went wrong and not only that which was revealed.
(16) Self-pity and painting oneself as victim is a tactic by which the person once again tries to make an impact on his credulous environment. This manner of manipulation is very recognizable when somebody is ruled by witchcraft.
(17) Witchcraft will resist plurality of leadership, like apostolic teams. In this form of leadership there is no possibility for absolute power.
Let us at all times search ourselves and watch never to become compulsive, manipulating or controlling when working with people, who are entrusted to us.
May God bless you in this,