Under the Influence

by Morris Ruddick on August 11, 2016

UNDER THE INFLUENCE

 

“O house of Jacob, come and walk in the light of the Lord. Because they are filled with occult ways the Lord has forsaken His people who have become as soothsayers. The land is filled with treasures. They worship idols made with their own hands.” Isaiah 2:5-8

There’s a pattern. What Isaiah observed with God’s people walking in occult ways was the very matter that the resurrected Jesus revealed to John on the Isle of Patmos as the thing He hates. It is RUINS_9793the age-old, subtle influence infiltrating circles of believers today.

The world of today is in the throes of a culture war.

In our attempts to establish God’s order we place strong emphasis on sound doctrine, as we should. Yet, doctrine is merely our attempt to get our heads around something so big, in our grasp of God and His Truth, that too often we oversimplify and reduce the Truth to matters we can grasp.

Yet, we can find depth in simplicity. The genuine depth, balanced by the Spirit, augments rather than being driven by what we grasp with our intellects. It is where the power lies. Jesus prayed:
“I thank you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes.” Matthew 11:25

Without quenching the unsearchable riches of His Truth, it begins with the humility needed to follow that path in knowing Him. It is where Spirit and Truth intersect. It is also the means by which we begin to recognize the vital issue of culture.

The Culture of Influence
Over the centuries the battles for power have been foundationally spiritual with the prize being the culture. It has been the same with Alexander the Great, Napoleon and Hitler. At issue has been and is the choice of influence that defines the culture. That is why Jesus said you would be in the world, but not of the world. These words reflect an incredibly ancient Jewish statement bearing on God’s people being a culture within a culture.

From the time of Abraham, God’s people have had the mantle of being THE people, THE culture of influence.

Yet, the soft-spot in this mantle has been in God’s people wanting to be like everyone else. It is a cultural identity thing. It is where the crucible for the power lies. In this quest for acceptance, God’s people have again and again aligned themselves under the influence of the prevailing culture of the day.

IMG_0482As believers, the soft-spot in the soft-spot has been the illusion that what the culture around us needs is our doctrine. The seduction Isaiah pointed to in the opening scripture was in God’s people trading out God’s power for the subtle, occult ways of the cultures around them. The matter of acceptance had digressed that far.

Cultural Identity
Where the confusion comes in is when doctrine is used as the basis of the identity, the cultural identity of God’s people. The world is looking for the demonstration of the reality of God through a people. What is observed is in the doing. The correction Jesus gave John the Revelator for the Church was within the context of regional spiritual, cultural environments, not individual gatherings of congregations. It reflected the spiritual environments within key regions of the Church of that day. The prophetic message given through John disclosed the influence and impact being made, along with the Lord’s expectation for the unique efforts of the Church in each area.

The struggle among God’s people over the centuries has been in maintaining the focus of their cultural identity in God in their everyday lives. This cultural identity in God represents the foundation for being the people of influence for their cultural region.

The Mantle of Influence
The first century church began as a Jewish sect. This basic identity in God was affirmed by Jesus when He said that He came not destroy the law and the prophets but to bring completion to the process set in motion by the law and the prophets.

The early church was one of great power and change. Acts 17 describes the believers of the day as “those who were turning the world upside down.” They understood their identity and wielded the mantle of influence.

Jews as a people, transcending the generations, have been known as those whose cultural DNA is entwined with the God of Israel. For the most part, the long-term Jewish track record has been in being known as a prophetic people in God. These are the roots to the mantle and culture of the Christian faith.

The Challenge
Yet the very thing that Isaiah railed about with Jews becoming immersed in the ways of their host culture, was the means by which the power began waning in the generations that followed the resurrection of Jesus. It was the shift in which the culture of God became watered down with the culture of man. Revelation 2 and 3 give us a glimpse into the digressions of key regions in the early church.

Between the influence of Jezebel, those employing the deeds of Balaam that undermined basic Jewish tenets and the movement of Nicolas (the Nicolatains) that blended the new sect of Christianity with Grecian occult practices, those in the early Church were being assaulted by the accepted practices in the culture of their day.

The clash of cultures between the early church and the cultures of that day was so huge that great persecution resulted as believers demonstrated the power of God. Yet, beyond the persecution was the subtle, more serious challenge highlighted from John’s revelations on the Isle of Patmos: what was happening within the church itself.

From the era following John, there came great division within the church between those adhering to the Jewish foundations and those representing the blending into the cultures. Persecution ended with the Emperor Constantine decreeing that the Christian faith, in its blended form, would be the religion of his domain.

Today’s generation has become one of restoration, one in which the cultural roots and complete identity of the faith are being restored, along with its power. Yet this restoration is not without the MVC-246Fchallenges faced by the early church. The bar for leadership is higher and the responsibility for grooming leaders greater.

I’ve previously written about a prophetic word targeting leaders involving an assault of spiritual deafness, spiritual blindness and a perversion of spiritual authority. Revelation speaks about a time when peace is taken from the earth.  Evidence strongly suggests that we have entered the time described by Jesus in Matthew 24 as the beginning of birth pangs.

Examples of Spiritual Perversions
The following modern-day examples from the Western church parallel the challenges pointed out to John by Jesus on the Isle of Patmos. With an intent to illustrate rather than expose, I have masked some non-essential facts to insure we’re not engaging in finger-pointing.

One particular dynamic congregation was experiencing the hunger of people being drawn by its active role in serving the underprivileged. Yet, beneath the surface was a groundswell of discontent. Some concluded it was tied to a seedbed of loose tongues. However, within the leadership, short of the senior leaders, there seemed to be too many who were leaving either abruptly or with serious issues.

Within one two-year period, two CFOs quit. Overlapping that time period, in little more than three years, five pastors and another CFO left under questionable circumstances. It was like a dark cloud that followed in the wake of many, otherwise very positive spiritual agendas. Even within its leadership circles, transparency seemed to stop with these departures.

Again and again, the prevailing but cloaked answer came as being “an integrity issue” or “a doctrinal issue.” The reality was soul issues operating just beneath the surface at the most senior level, which overriding any input from sanctioned leadership, a shadow leadership was justifying by masking and refusing to address them.

What was happening was a sequence of scapegoats being sacrificed to justify an unworthiness of one who manipulated the power. The complicity of this justification put them under the influence of something far less than what they sought to be operating in. The influence of the influencers was being wielded from the wrong place. The size of the congregation, as well as the contributions began experiencing a steep decline.

The leadership required to navigate a following of people through a spiritual environment toward spiritual renewal requires a standard of the highest order. This standard for leadership is punctuated by the fact that in ancient Hebrew, there is no word for “rights” or “entitlements.” In biblical culture, true leaders serve. This standard reflects both the heart of God and the expectation from those called to serve in leadership.

Yet, in another instance in our blended twenty-first century culture was a high-level leader who suddenly had serious soul issues because of unmet expectations. Prior to this, this person had one of the more highly-developed prophetic gifts I have observed. It began with misguided influence. The fruit was this person being convinced of having certain entitlements ignored and becoming angry with God. The prophetic gift was distorted to where most threads of communications focused not on the plans and strategies of God, but the inroads and accomplishments of the devil.

In still another setting, the community’s leadership genuinely sought for more of God, but became trapped by elements of the leadership exercising a subtle ambitious pathway in which the end justifies the means. It also reflected a serious lack of transparency and what might be viewed almost as an eagerness to believe unsubstantiated rumors.

Confusing the cleverness of the clever with the prophetic, seeds of division were sown with ulterior purposes to first divide, slander and then dismantle the repute of one whose efforts had founded and built a very effectual social program. The real victims were those never helped, as attempts to replicate these efforts never achieved what had been pulled down.

In each case, honor was lacking. In each case, trust was betrayed with great levels of deceit. Believing communities designed as safe places were war zones. In each case, sheep were scattered or left unattended. In each case either hiding behind doctrine or the release of an undisciplined ego, the “flesh,” was being justified as either a means to an end or an entitlement. In each case there was an overstepping of the boundaries of the calling. In each case, it reflected a short-circuiting and perversion of a spiritual authority that was intended to change the spiritual climate and bring restoration of God’s purposes not unlike what Joseph did in Egypt.

wreck1These are a smattering of examples of what happens when God’s people lose their cultural identity and come under misguided influences.

Everyone is looking at the terrorism and insanity being evidenced in Western political arenas. However, as we approach the Ninth of Av (Tisha B’Av), the annual Jewish remembrance of the destruction of the temples and other significant tragedies against God’s people, it is appropriate to look within and to look with a humble heart. These sad examples match the occult ways described by Isaiah and the tendencies to conform by the major regions of the church in the days of John the Revelator.

Facing the Realities
There is a spiritual inebriation being released today that is affecting important segments of the Body. Spiritual blindness, deafness and perversions of spiritual authority are indicators of being under the wrong influence. Transparency is critical. Humility and repentance must undergird a systematic restoration of spiritual maintenance for all, but especially at leadership levels. The answer lies within.

The challenge, especially for leaders, is to press into the Lord more fervently, avoid spiritual clutter and give priority to the personal time needed to be spiritually in-tune and prepared for times of heightened spiritual activity. It is a time to get the cultural identity thing right that we may be found worthy of rightly wielding the mantle of influence.

For those experiencing the grip of such assaults, don’t hesitate to dig in and push back. As you do, it may get worse before it gets better. But push beyond your comfort zones and cross new thresholds to reach harder for Him. Activate the spontaneity of prayer with those you encounter in your workplace and everyday life. Restore the simple things.

Without an unblemished identity, the destiny of God’s people will be short-circuited and hindered. The world is looking for the reality of God being demonstrated through a people. The prophetic is the pathway to demonstrating God’s power. This pathway forms the foundation of authority that impacts the spiritual climate of an area. The power and change of the early church operated through the demonstration and practice of the reality of God.

What also is needed are more gatherings to seek Him, spontaneous gatherings that draw those hungry for God among diverse segments reaching for it within a region. Cross generational boundaries. During the Charismatic Renewal in the late sixties and into the seventies, God surprised many as He brought doctrinally diverse segments of the Body together in the simplicity of their quest for more of Him. What is needed is the unquenchable Fire of His presence. Seek out those where the Fire is in evidence.

Cultural identity will determine the influence under which a people live. More importantly, it determines the influence they make on the culture around them. It is the gateway to true spiritual authority and the release of the full destiny that lies before this generation.
“O God, do not remain silent and do not be still. For behold, Your enemies make an uproar, and those who hate You have exalted themselves. They make shrewd plans against Your people and conspire together against Your treasured ones. They have said, ‘Come and let us wipe them out that the name of Israel be remembered no more.’ For they have conspired together with one mind; against You they make a covenant.” Psalm 83:1-5

___________________________________________________

Morris Ruddick has been a forerunner and spokesman for the higher dimensions of business leadership since the mid-90s. As founder of Global Initiatives Foundation and designer of the God’s Economy Entrepreneurial Equippers Program, Mr. Ruddick imparts hope and equips economic community builders to be blessed to be a blessing where God’s light is dim in diverse regions around the globe.

He is author of “The Joseph-Daniel Calling;” “Gods Economy, Israel and the Nations;” “The Heart of a King;” “Something More;” “Righteous Power in a Corrupt World;” “Leadership by Anointing;” and “Mantle of Fire,” which address the mobilization of business and governmental leaders with destinies to impact their communities. They are available in print and e-versions from www.Amazon.com, www.apple.com/ibooks and www.BarnesandNoble.com.

Global Initiatives Foundation (www.strategic-initiatives.org) is a tax-exempt 501 (c) 3 non-profit whose efforts are enabled by the generosity of a remnant of faithful friends and contributors whose vision aligns with God’s heart to mobilize economic community builders imparting influence and the blessings of God. Checks on US banks should be made out to Global Initiatives and mailed to PO Box 370291, Denver CO 80237 or by credit card at https://strategicintercession.org/support/

Likewise, email us to schedule a seminar for your group’s gathering on the Joseph-Daniel Calling or on anointing the creative in business.

2016 Copyright Morris Ruddick — sign@strategicintercession.org

Reproduction is prohibited unless permission is given by a SIGN advisor. Since early 1996, the Strategic Intercession Global Network (SIGN) has mobilized prophetic intercessors and leaders committed to targeting strategic-level issues impacting the Body on a global basis. For previous posts or more information on SIGN, check: https://www.strategicintercession.org

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: