Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 1:15-24
“Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy; for by faith you stand” [2 Corinthians 1:24 NKJV]
Paul made it quite clear that he had no desire to have dominion or control over the church in Corinth. He could advise or warn them but they had to be free to make their own decisions. The direct translation from the Greek is “We do not want to lord it over your faith”. It is the same word used by Peter when he says to elders, “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” [1 Peter 5:2-3].
The meaning of words “dominion” and “lord it over” is to control, manipulate, and to dominate. This is exactly what Jezebel did in the Old Testament, and the spirit operating within her was witchcraft [2 Kings 9:23]. This is the same as sorcery. When we control or dominate people we open the door to the demonic. To offer sound advice if it is requested is good but not to control!
Paul asked the Galatians, “Who has bewitched you” [Galatians 3:1]. Here is the same issue of control and sorcery. In the margin of the Spirit Filled Life Bible Jack Heyford comments, “The Judaizers are like evil sorcerors diverting their victims eyes from the Cross to the Law.”
It is quite revealing to see how the spirit of witchcraft affected others who came in contact with Jezebel. Most obviously, her words to Elijah sent the prophet into deep depression [1Kings 19:1ff]. But we also find other effects of this controlling spirit. She controlled her own husband [1 Kings 21:15]. She controlled other male rulers and nobles so that they did whatever she told them to do [1 King 21:11,14]. She hated and killed God’s prophets [1 Kings 18:4,13]. She always sought to get her own way by whatever means necessary. A prime example of this is the way that she had Naboth killed in order to obtain his vineyard [1 Kings 21:5,7,11,14].
Paul warned Timothy not to be intimidated by false teachers in Ephesus [2 Timothy 1:7]. When we allow others to control us we lose our spiritual power and effectiveness, and we become more concerned with what men want than obeying God. Perhaps the greatest reason why control is so deadly is the fact that it is the very opposite of the nature and character of God. He releases people and does not control them, and has given us the freedom to make our own choices. We are not puppets on His string, but have the freedom to obey Him or disobey Him, and to make choices that make His heart glad. In tomorrows devotional we will look at two reasons why people want to control others.
Why is the control and domination of people so wrong? What are the consequences for people who do control others, and the effect on the people they control?