The enemy has seduced many to believe that anyone who goes against their grain is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and believes it is their heavenly duty to disempower them and protect against them. While it is true that the Bible talks about those who pretend to be God’s children when they have evil intent, I believe the majority of people in our homes and churches are sheep in wolf’s clothing. A wolf in sheep’s clothing is a heart/motive issue. A sheep in wolf’s clothing is an identity issue. One requires protection and exposure. The other requires mothers and fathers to call out their real identity. The way to help rid someone of wolf’s clothing (fleshly or sinful behavior) is to call out who they are and believe in them. As you call them higher, their old nature falls off of them. Be careful what you judge to be a wolf when, in fact, it is God’s little lamb.
WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING
Many of us are fully aware there is hurt in the family. Why? Because we have spiritual orphans for parents, and they parent out of that place. One can be a believer and still operate as an orphan in certain areas. Orphan living creates a lifestyle of hardship, pain, control, confusion, lack, anxiety, worry, and fear. God knit your child together in HIS image but with YOU in mind. He knows what you did and didn’t get in childhood and knits your child together perfectly to BLESS you. Sometimes that blessing comes in the way of conflict, challenges, and frustrations because your child is made in His image, and there are things in YOU that need to come into alignment. When the parent partners with fear, the child typically resists because they do not have the same fear. When a parent partners with orphan tools like control, the child typically resists because their nature is not designed to be controlled. When a parent partners with anger, the child builds walls to self-protect. When there is a pattern of conflict with a child, the goal is to see if this is your issue or theirs. Who is the one God is growing in their capacity? Of course, that is the nature of childhood to evolve, grow, and mature, but sometimes the friction and conflict in our parenting is because God wants to align, heal, change, mold, shape, or address something in US. THE SAME GOES FOR LEADERSHIP! You can have spiritual orphans in leadership operating out of their own journey, causing hurt and pain to those under them. When there is a pattern of conflict, ask God, “Is this their issue or mine?” When it is a leadership issue – PLEASE HEAR THIS – we need to remember we are no longer little children. We are Sons and Daughters with a voice. We have Kingdom assignments and authority. God knew that leaders have blind spots, weaknesses, and orphan places when they were promoted in leadership and/or given spiritual gifts. How do you know God did not knit you together perfectly in that church to see, hear, and experience the area they need to grow in? If you have eyes to see, then you have been given a privilege by God to be a part of the solution, not add to the problem (directly or indirectly). We are not there to expose and tear them down despite the pain caused; we are there to COVER them. How do you cover them? #1. You need to have conversations with Jesus before conversations with others. #2. Resolve the hurt and pain in your heart, FIRST. Forgive, forgive, forgive. #3. If a culture of honor means a culture of silence, you are no longer participating in the right kingdom. The truth sets us free, and we need the Body to process that truth at times. Robbing people of the ministry of validation only isolates the pain, which is a breeding ground for lies. #4. Discern the spirit behind it. What is really in operation? We know we do not fight people of the flesh, but rather the spirit behind it that is influencing them. #5. Use your authority over that spirit in your own life. Expose the spirit and break up with it. Refuse to be manipulated by it anymore. #6. Pray for that leader to come out from under that influence. Release the opposite spirit over them. #7. Ask God for an opportunity to talk with them. #8. Do not rob them of your presence just because you have gotten hurt by their orphan behavior. BE THE CHANGE they need. Stand and stay until the Lord releases you from that assignment. #9. If you talk with others about it, make sure your speech is not about swapping stories but rather leading others to freedom and healing, and then together, pray for them. Stand in the gap for them and release Holy Spirit in that area of their life. #10. Allow God to use this trying and challenging season to refine and build you up in your voice and calling. God generally allows us to experience the things we have the greatest authority over. Treat the situation how you would want your children to respond to you when operating out of orphan parenting.
Go to the store, get a label/sticker, and write things like ‘loving,’ ‘kind,’ ‘helpful,’ ‘worthy,’ etc. Then, throughout the day, call out your child’s identity and remind them who they are. Ask Holy Spirit to make your ears sensitive to hear when your children call out a lie about themselves. Things like, “I am not good at this,” “I can’t,” “I am not smart,” “I am stupid,” “No one cares,” and show them their name tag and ask, “Is that who you are?” Show them it is a LIE from the enemy, and they can easily toss that lie out. It is important that children get practice hearing GOD’S words about them and learn how to toss out the lies. They will use this tool for the rest of their lives!
‘Identity’ is a very big word with a loaded meaning. This is just a tiny sampling of what we can teach our children about identity, but the most important thing is that they realize that there are two opposing views – what God says about us and the lies the enemy says. We need to choose which one we will believe and which one we will kick out the door – about ourselves and others.
Christians can often see/feel the spirit behind things yet are so ill-equipped in discernment (the ability to judge well), they respond negatively to the person instead of the spirit realm. To expect acceptance would mean to violate what they are seeing. People often attack the behavior, but what they are really standing up against is the spirit that their spirit knows is not right. We hurt people when we attack them instead of helping them.
Those who have walked in isolation and believe the enemy’s whispers about their identity are fed up with believers who were powerless to help them, failed to validate the deep isolation and then demanded outward performance. If it is a spirit issue then the church should be ones to HELP and instead, we have been the ones to accuse, blame and shame.
Let me use this word picture. If a child is being tormented by a spirit of fear and reacts to it with yelling and crying the parent will FEEL the spirit in fear in operation yet they don’t always have eyes to discern (the ability to judge well), but they can feel it (and without discernment it normally riles up the parent too). Getting mad at the child, disciplining, isolating, scolding them or telling them to ‘stop’ is pointless because it isn’t just about their less than pleasant behavior, as in bad character. It is about something going on in the spirit realm that is influencing them. They need HELP to resolve the issue in the spirit realm before their behavior will change.
The enemy’s goal is outlined in John 10:10 – “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” He comes to STEAL community (isolation), oftentimes in our own homes, he then whispers lies to KILL their identity (who they were created to be) and then DESTROYS the thing that we all long for – community and connection.
The church should be a safe place to resolve spiritual issues, but because they have been so ill-equipped to discern the spirit and have focused solely on behavior modification, we have actually furthered the agenda of tolerance and acceptance. We have forced the world to accept what we have not been able to respond to well and help resolve. There is a time to rise up as parents and leaders in our authority, not against the child/person but the spirit behind it.
Parents need to be equipped with tools to walk in discernment when this spirit is in operation in their homes. Children who are being influenced by this spirit need HELP to resolve it. While it can surely include professional or traded help, Jesus died to give that authority and power to every believer, including parents.
In your mind, picture your bathroom mirror with steam all over it. Slowly pray the following prayer and then watch and listen to what you hear Him saying to you.
“Lord, if You could write any word to describe my identity in you what would it be?”
Now ask Him to wipe away the steam so that you can see yourself in light of that word.
Gather as a family in the living room, in the car, at the dinner table, or bedtime, and ask Jesus together. This is so empowering for children because they get to witness how God communicates with you, which increases their faith, and together you get to encounter Him. Spiritual hearing is a muscle that is strengthened by worshiping and praying. The more you do it, the stronger you become at it.
I love how God sets us up for success as parents. My daughter was really hurt by someone and needed some room to work through the messy emotions. After we were done processing, the verse of the day popped up on my phone and read, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21). Instantly, I heard in my spirit that I was to apply that in this situation and said, “Do not be overcome by an orphan but overcome the orphan by being a Daughter.” Spiritual orphans operate differently than Sons and Daughters, even in pain. There was a profound shift in her when she realized the other person’s choices were not a reflection of who she was. Teaching our children WHO they are is critical to helping them navigate life.
God sent His Son, Jesus, so we could connect to Him. He longs to connect with you deeper than your mind could fathom or heart hold. The gift of Jesus is free, yet you gain everything. I have a burning passion to help you connect to your Father and created this resource to help strengthen your spiritual hearing.
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Children who grow up with the wrong voices inside their mental bubble carry them around for years, shaping who they become. We can empower our children to reject lies and protect who God designed them to be. Proverbs 4:23.
My daughter woke up early with me, so we went on a date to grab drive-thru coffee and ended up at the bookstore. I noticed a book about the lies young girls believe and handed it to her. She spent a great deal of time browsing the contents and finally put the book down. I asked her why, and she said, “Because I don’t believe lies.” There was such an anointing on what she said. She was not saying she has never believed a lie, nor was she saying she is 100% lie-free, but she was right to say she doesn’t believe lies. I have taught my kids what lies feel like, and they have begun to self-govern when lies are being entertained in their minds. Lies always remove your peace, make your mind spin like crazy, and create feelings of anxiety, worry, and stress in your heart. When my children are feeling this, they know how to ask, “Jesus, what lies am I believing?” and they know how to ask Him for His truth. Can you imagine what this generation would look like if they knew how to stomp on the lies that come to steal, kill and destroy?
Black Sheep – a family member who stands out for being odd and different. They go against the flow of the family, often causing issues. The term has to do with sheep having white wool, and the one that has black wool not only stands out but typically has less value. They have been judged to have ‘less value’ alone, which tells us this term is not the right kingdom. Typically, the child who rebels against the family’s operating system does so with anger, resistance, attitudes, and conflict because they are young and immature and do not yet have the communication or skill sets to address the issues they are coming up against. But just because their delivery is flawed doesn’t mean WHAT they are trying to say is wrong. Countless times in coaching sessions, parents will come to me with the one child who brings so much chaos into the home. After we explore the situation with Holy Spirit, we learn that the child is rebelling against something in the parent that needs to come into alignment. God knits our children in HIS image, but with us in mind. Let’s not be so quick to label a child as the black sheep when God is using the purity of their heart to align something in us. Maybe they aren’t the ‘black sheep’ but the HERO of your story!