Is Self Preservation Killing the Church?


In Matthew 16:25 Jesus said “For whoever desires to save his life shall lose it, and whoever desires to lose his life for My sake shall find it.”  There is a truth here which is wider and more relevant to our daily lives than most Christians seem to appreciate.

What Jesus was warning us about here is that when we seek to preserve things as they are, especially the good things, we not only tend to lose that which we seek to achieve, but also all that which we have been doing and all that which we have achieved to date. Territorialism and Self Preservation are devices of the enemy which he has used to disastrous effect in and against the Church.  Brothers and Sister in Christ, be assures the enemy still used them today!

Jesus warned us that we reap that which we sow.  Thus, leaders in the Church and elsewhere, who are deceived by the enemy and are in bondage to the twin spirits of territorialism and self preservation, will sow the seeds of territorialism and self preservation in their organisation and in due course will reap a harvest of territorialism and self preservation.

Territorialism and self preservation stop the beneficial development of organisations at all stages, and when the time come for retirement and generational changes – or when a new move of God comes upon the Church, these spirits kill the move of God, kill the new leadership initiative (if any) and eventually kill the Church.

Isaiah also addressed this issue in Isaiah 58:8-10 saying:

“Then shall your light break out as the dawn, and your health shall spring out quickly; and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of Jehovah shall gather you.  Then you shall call, and Jehovah shall answer; you shall cry, and He shall say, Here I am. If you take the yoke away from among you, the pointing of the finger, and speaking vanity; and if you draw out your soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall your light rise in darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday.”

Yes, Isaiah speaks here of the “pointing of the finger and speaking vanity.”  How apt a description is that?  That is exactly what we do when we fall under the spirits of territorialism and self preservation.  We think that only we know the right ways to do things; we think that we are the only ones who can do exactly as God needs things to be done, we think that we, and only we, have a special anointing from God and only we, can achieve His purpose.  When we fall under the spirits of territorialism and self preservation and a new move of God falls on our Church or our ministry, instead of supporting the next generation and bless whose whom the Lord is blessing, we fall to envy and jealousy as our pride screams out loudly to us, “God could not possibly have blessed them over us!  This cannot be from God!”   Suddenly it is all about “us,” and not about Him.

But it is not just the leaders of the Churches who suffer from this double demonic whammy – many, perhaps even most, congregations do.  “Who does that young upstart think she/he is!  I was attending this Church before they were borne!  How dare they….”  I’m sure you’ve heard that more than once in your life.  It’s the bane of life for each Church newcomer.  “This is my Church – this is our Church!”

Revelation 12:10 calls Satan “the accuser of the breather”; he is the accuser of our brothers and the sisters in Christ and his greatest victories in the Church are when he turns brother against brother and sister against sister.

The greatest single threat to Satan is the unity of the Church of Christ.  It is no surprise, therefore, that his greatest efforts are aimed and focussed at dividing the Church.  Yes, I truly believe his greatest effort is placed in accomplishing Church dis-unity.  In Matthew 12:25  you will find that Jesus had words to say about disunity and a divided kingdom, “And Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation. And every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.’”

It have been said that rarely, if ever, have divisions in Churches not been based and founded on the roots of territorialism and self preservation.  Look at your Church and its history and what do you see?

Now place your hand on your heart as answer this question to the Lord:  Am I part of the problems, or part of the solutions, in my Church?


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