Hard Talk

The Old Man Spirit

I have often wondered why certain communities, churches and groups are so resistant to betterment, progress and change. Why is it that while some communities flourish with fresh ideas, are progressive, innovative and work together for the good of their areas, others seem totally moribund – incapable of implementing even the slightest improvement or advance.

In another life I sometimes sat as an observer in community meetings which for years had met and talked – but rarely, if ever, made and positive change. But this state of death is not only passive – it is also active. There are those, and I have observed them, who, almost as a matter of principal, stand against improvement, advance and progress. True some of these have vested interests and see any progress as a threat to their position and interests. And such people very often embed themselvs in community or church groups in order to enforce the status quo.

Of course the term Old Man Spirit is one I have coined – but for me it encapsulates the problem. But I sometimes wonder if it’s more than a term – might it be a reality? And my reason for suspecting this is that this spirit is most alive in the church. And I have met him on multiple occasions!

Sometimes this spirit wears a clerical collar and appears very religious and devout. But underneath the facade there is a rapacious spirit of control. This old man brooks no dissent or criticism and sees any perceived advice or suggestion as interference and a threat to his position, authority and power – so he will cruelly and mercilessly crush it.

Seeing the example of the old man spirit in their leader – some of the old man’s underlings take up the baton – or are they infected by the same spirit? The problem is that this spirit, as is its nature, lives lurking, for most of the time, in the shadows – spreading it’s poison and bondage in whispers and innuendo – and, when that is not effective, downright lies and deceit. So at one level behind the smile and the handshake only time and bitter experience reveals what we are really dealing with.

There is no known natural antidote to the spreading of this spirit virus – it can only be exposed and dealt with on a spiritual level.

Over many years of coming into contact with the old man spirit I can usually identify it fairly quickly – although even then I have been blindsided more than once in recent years.

One of the litmus tests is outlined by the Apostle Paul in the New Testament scriptures –

‘For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.’

2 Corinthians 3:17 (NLT)

The old man spirit cannot stand freedom because it breaches his first and cardinal principle – control. It is the presence of the Spirit of God in a life that unmasks the old man spirit most effectively. The Spirit of God within can feel the presence of the old man spirit.

There was a time I would try and fight the old man spirit – but it’s an almost impossible battle because he has so many willing helpers. Today I choose to turn and walk quickly the other way – and I don’t think that’s the cowards way out – I think it’s the wisest choice.

But I have made one fatal miscalculation which is what really inspired this post today. I was of the opinion that when the physical beings who host the old man spirit drifted into insignificance, retirement from active service or through death itself, there would then be hope that a new generation could move on unhindered by the presence and influence of old man. The truth however is this – old spirits don’t die – they simply put on new clothes!

So the old man spirit that may once have inhabited a stern suit and clerical collar or one of his disciples who made long boring prayers while setting all his neighbours against one another may now be wearing jeans and a t-shirt and stalking the stage of some large or not so large new style church. The clothes may change, the surroundings may alter – but for all the appearance of youth, vigour and slic presentation the old man spirit may still lurk beneath.

Of course, in truth, this is a problem which has affected every generation – but sometimes it is more difficult to see it in our own. So I leave you with the best advice I can find on the subject –

“Let me be clear, the Anointed One has set us free—not partially, but completely and wonderfully free! We must always cherish this truth and stubbornly refuse to go back into the bondage of our past.”

Galatians 5:1 T(TPT)

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