The Jezebel Spirit
"There must be no competition among you, no conceit; but everybody is to be self-effacing. Always consider the other person to be better than yourself, so that nobody thinks of his own interest first but everybody thinks of the other people's interests instead." (Philippians 2: 3-4).
There are many things in life that a lot of people don't understand. And at one time, this subject that I am about to write about is something I actually encountered and experience in a relationship.
Although the Jezebel spirit seems to be more prevalent in women, there is no doubt that it functions just as proficiently through men. So this writing does apply to both men and women.
Though the spirit is more dominate in women let me say this to you men: A true woman of God is a woman with a quiet and tender spirit. She is not prone to angriness and roar like a lion; but can become disappointed in her marriage if her husband is not in leadership of His family. She may complain and may even reproof you for your lacking of duties as a husband. So before you start looking for faults in your wife; be very sure you are not at fault yourself. Be sure you have taken the log out of your own eye before you attempt to take the spender out of your wife's eye.
And now, let me ask you a few questions:
Does there seem to be constant misunderstandings' or even 'pauses' or 'breaks' in your marriage?
When you try to describe the problems in your marriage to someone else, do you find yourself feeling foolish, realizing that you're not able to put your finger on the problem, and may even sound petty?
Are there others who observe your marriage and think this person is 'wonderful', and can't quite understand why you have such a problem?
Not enough has been written about this aspect of the Jezebel Spirit, which is frustrating and heartbreaking when you're dealing with it on a personal level.
It's time that we begin to recognize it in the human beings that it uses, and begin to fight back with spiritual weapons which are the word of God.
Knowledge is power, and Proverbs 2:4 tells us to 'seek [Wisdom] as for silver and search for skillful and godly Wisdom as for hidden treasures...', that he may 'preserve the way of His saints' (Proverbs 2:9), 'To deliver you from the way of evil' (Proverbs 2:12).
And let's be clear: this entity (the Jezebel spirit) is evil.
It is interesting to find out that people with a Jezebel spirit is very manipulating. They like control and will do most anything to get what they want or maybe I should say, get their way.
I am not saying that everyone that likes to be in control has a Jezebel spirit. This spirit though at times is almost unrecognizable.
They seem to have spiritual gifts and will claimed to be a prophet/prophetess, or a disciple, and/or a man/woman of God, or even claim to be all of them. These individuals will seek after recognition by manipulating situations to gain advantage. They may even go as far as to conjure up dreams and visions from imaginations or go as far as to copy someone else when revealed.
False humility becomes a short lived trait that they use to get recognition.
Desiring to avoid accountability these individuals will not ever admit to wrong doing, guilt, or sin. If you should confront such a person they will accused you of defiling their character and dignity which in reality they do not have qualities of a good character.
Spiritual pride is masked at times because of poor self esteem. They may cry, wail, or mourn-claiming a burden from God.
Let me give you some concrete examples of a Jezebel Spirit:
Being in conflict with your spouse is a sure finding of such a perverse spirit. Conflict is healthy provided both spouses are accountable for their own words and actions and Jesus had taught us this.
When Jesus addressed problems, he tackled them head-on. While delivering the Sermon on the Mount (and later in Matthew 18) he dealt with the issue of conflicts brought about either by others offending us or by our offending them:
"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you; leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift."
Jesus tells us to first go to the person one-on-one. Second, go to the person quickly. Jesus counseled that, if someone is worshiping God and remembers that he or she has offended a friend, the appropriate response is to stop right there and go immediately to the offended individual. With those words Jesus made it clear that correct interpersonal relationships are more important than correct ritual. This tends to grate against religious folks who say that God must be our first priority. It is true that God should be our primary focus. However, our relationship with God is better gauged by our human relationships than by religious ritual. Although we cannot guarantee that the offended brother will accept us, we are obligated to make every effort "as far as it depends on" us (Romans 12:18).
Jesus' teaching is to take the initiative. When you have done something wrong, you go and make it right. When someone else has wronged you, you still take the first step.
If your friend has something against you, you go to him? And if you have something against your friend, you go to him? That has you going to him in both cases, whether you have something against him, or you know he has something against you (This is related to any relationship). When I first made that discovery, I remember thinking: That's not fair! Then I realized that God is not asking us to do anything that He has not already done. You see, God is the initiator in the God-person relationship.
Jesus is not asking us to do anything he hasn't modeled for us. He gave up heaven to come down to earth, become a servant and die to repair our broken relationship with the Father. In Jesus Christ, God takes the initiative. When we come to see how important people are to God, we will value what Christ's death makes possible. We will value it enough to take the initiative in resolving relational breakdowns.
Effective leaders don't ignore conflict. They consume it by creating an environment in which each other are enabled to work through relational friction on a one-on-one basis. Only after such efforts have failed are others allowed to enter the conflict, and then only for the purpose of bringing about reconciliation. Conflicts can't be avoided, but they can be managed. And a wise leader will devote himself or herself to learning how to do just that.
You can very easily regna and bring an ending to your conflict. But by doing so; your future with your spouse would eventually be completely destroyed. And the reason is because you have not end the conflict with your spouse on using words that are very hurtful and painful towards you and vise-versa.
God is about relationship in Himself with you and your spouse; which means, you both are accountable to God and also to one another in words and actions. A relationship is plural and not singular; which also means, both of your perspectives has value. I suggest reading "ACCOUNTABILITY" which will give you a great perspective in how to end your conflicts forever.
Let's say you asked your spouse why he/she did not keep their promise to you for any reason you may be concern with. And your spouse's response is, or similar too: "You did not keep your promise so I am not obligated to keep my promise(s)."
This kind of response is not in the word of God nor is this person being accountable. What this person is doing is shifting the responsible of their broken promises and placing the blame upon someone else; such as you. This person will not admit to any wrong doing no-matter what. You can be guilty of not keeping your promises but this does not eliminate the responsibility of your spouse keeping their promises.
Another example in conflict is your spouse is holding you responsible in keeping God's word, especially on a particular situation, and may even quote scriptures to back-up their words to you. But your spouse will not be accountable of being in God's word for them-self. In other's words: He/she will reproof you and then turn around and do exactly the same thing they are reproofing you on. That is not accountability. This person will not admit to any wrong doing in words or action but only shift the blame upon you, or someone, or something else. This is a sure sign of a Jezebel Spirit. What this person wants is control of your relationship, and/or marriage, and will do all they can too gain that control.
Another great example is when your spouse had hurt you; slightly or severely by words or action. He/She will not admit of inflicting the pain but only make excuses such as misunderstanding, or you did not understand his/her heart perspective, and continue on with this kind of garbage without accountability. A Jezebel Spirit will never, ever, ever admit to any wrong doing. They may say their sorry but will not confess their sins against you with a true broken and contrite heart. Even when they say they are sorry; they do so without any true remorse or humility. But will only turn it around and blame you for feeling the pain... With this kind of attitude your spouse will sacrifice your marriage, your relationship, and your friendship with you at ALL COST to be right; including hurting you beyond your imagination.
If you challenge jezebel, he/she will fight you. If you confront jezebel, he/she will "erupt" and often flee in a rage, but later may either forgive you because he/she knows that you had a bad day and did not realize what you said, or attack a weak area of your lifeâ€¦ will commonly stir innocent people up until their emotions get out of control. He/She will then stand passively by, saying "What did I do wrong?" Most assuredly, he/she will never take any blame. Jezebel controllers are always motivated by insecurity, and can't tolerate rejection.
So my response is to be compassionate toward people operating under the influence of jezebel, do practical acts of love and kindness as the Lord directs, pray for their eyes to be opened, and for strength to enable them to stand against this spirit and repent. But have no mercy, no compromise or sympathy toward the jezebel spirit itself. Do not tolerate the spirit of jezebel in any way!
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE JEZEBEL SPIRIT
The individual, operating under the jezebel spirit, begins to secretly spin his/her web by winning the trust and confidence of those he/she wants to control. He/She works undercover and does not want to be exposed. Once acceptance is established, he/she begins to use truth, seasoned with well placed lies, to clandestinely spin a web of deception and entanglement. Clever methods induce fear in others. He/She then draws power and authority from their fear. Such individuals have mastered a sophisticated ability to manipulate and control without physical force.
The Jezebel spirit is sociopathic. Behaviors you might see (3 or more):
* Refuses to admit guilt or wrong.
A Jezebel spirit is never wrong, unless it is a temporary admittance of guilt to gain "favor" with someone. To accept responsibility would violate the core of insecurity and pride from which it operates. When a Jezebel apologizes it is never in true repentance or acknowledgment of wrongdoing but rather "I'm sorry your feelings were hurt." Lack of remorse after hurting someone; they justify the harm.
* Takes credit for everything.
While a strong trait of Jezebel is to never take responsibility for his/her wrong actions or behavior, he/she also is quick to take credit for benefits for which he/she contributed no effort.
* Uses people to accomplish its agenda.
The Jezebel spirit lets others do its dirty work. The Jezebel gets another person's emotions stirred up, and then lets that person go into a rage. The Jezebel sits back looking innocent, saying "Who me? What did I do?" This behavior makes it difficult for even the most ardent truth seekers to pin one down. The Jezebel spirit is clever in its agenda.
A Jezebel lies convincingly. No one can lie better than he/she can. He/She can turn on the charm and make you believe blue is red. He/She always fools those whom he/she just met while those who have been victimized by his tactics stand by helplessly. The fact that Jezebel can look you in the eye and lie just shows how strong and adamant this rebellious and recalcitrant spirit is. He/She can also mingle truth with lies and occasionally contradicts self and when challenged - claims to have been misunderstood.
* Ignores people that could disagree with them.
A classic ploy of a controller is to ignore you when you disagree with him. This tactic is frequently used by leaders when someone doesn't agree with their plans, and they isolate the person by ignoring him/her. Some in these situations have been ignored for months, just because they chose not to be a puppet and say to every idea or whim. This puts the person out of the leader's grace and forces him/her to either "come around" to the leader's way of thinking or be indefinitely ignored. One is not free to disagree with a controller.
* Never gives credit or shows gratitude.
A Jezebel will rarely acknowledge another person's actions, not even for something that turned out to greatly benefit the Jezebel. He/She just cannot bring themself to say thank you or to acknowledge that someone else did something right. There are those who have gone out of their way to bless a Jezebel by being the catalyst of sending him/her on a trip or giving a gift. Yet never will there be a thank you. This again puts the controller in a position of power.
* Criticizes everyone.
This is a characteristic of a controller. He/She has to be the one who looks good, so he/she will quickly sharply criticize anyone who makes a suggestion or plan. Even though he/she likes the plan, he/she can only criticize it because the idea did not originate from him/her. Criticizing others elevates the controller in his/her own mind.
* Talks incessantly.
Many people talk habitually, but a Jezebel uses talking as a form of control. In a typical conversation, he/she does all the talking, whether it is about sports, the weather or the Kingdom of God. Because of this form of control, he/she is unable to receive input from anyone in his/her life. All conversation with him/her is one-sided. You are doing the listening.
* Spiritualizes everything.
When a controller is confronted, he/she commonly spiritualizes the situation, explaining it off on God. This prevents him/her from owning up to responsibility required of him/her. The implication is always, "You've got a problem; I don't."
* Is pushy and domineering.
A person with a Jezebel spirit pressures you to do things, seemingly ripping from you your right to choose or make a decision for yourself. He/She makes others feel as though they don't have enough sense to think for themselves.
* Is clairvoyant.
Many who operate with a spirit of control also have a clairvoyant spirit. A Jezebel has supernatural help in knowing and sensing information. If he/she uses this against you, he/she may say "I can't tell you how I know this. I just know it." This is not the Holy Spirit, but the help of a clairvoyant or familiar spirit. Clairvoyance may be defined as the power to perceive things that are out of the range of human senses.
* Sows seeds of discord.
A Jezebel will continually belittle another person in the most subtle way. The strategy is to "gain" control by minimizing the value of another person. It is common for him/her to tell half-truths to implicate another person in your eyes. By sowing these seeds, he/she hopes to eventually reap a harvest of destruction, improving his/her position of power.
* Commands attention.
A Jezebel likes to be the center of attention and doesn't like to see others recognized and lauded. When someone else is recognized, he/she will quickly undermine the person's accomplishments verbally.
* Is vengeful.
Since a Jezebel is never wrong, if you contradict or confront one, get ready to become his/her worst enemy. As long as you are in agreement with him/her, all is fine. But if you confront or challenge him/her, then look out. You are the target of his/her fiercest venom. A Jezebel will stop at nothing to destroy your reputation.
* Insinuates disapproval.
A Jezebel will often imply disapproval to those under his or her control. The controlled person feels no freedom to express an opinion, for fear of disapproval. This often manifests in a marriage or in a working environment.
* Knows it all.
A Jezebel is usually blatant regarding his/her knowledge of everything. Quick to express his/her opinion in any area, he/she leaves little room for anyone to point out the other side of an issue. He/she has made idols of his/her opinions.
* Manipulates through gift giving.
Gift giving is a form of manipulation a Jezebel uses that always makes you feel obligated to him/her. It also compromises the victim in speaking direct and confrontive truth. Naturally, not everyone who gives gifts is guilty of control, but gift giving is a tactic used by those who have a need to control.
* Is religious.
A Jezebel dwells in the local church but doesn't like authority unless he/she is in the position of authority.
* Withholds information.
This is a form of control. A Jezebel wields power over you by knowing something you don't know in a situation. In the eyes of a Jezebel, having information you don't have is a powerful weapon of control.
* Talks in confusion.
It is impossible to converse with a Jezebel in logic. One pastor wrote a six-page letter to his elders about a situation in the church. The context was so vague that no one was without confusion. This is a way to maintain control and domination. When confronting a Jezebel, the subject may be changed five times in one minute. Confusion keeps them "undiscovered" and unexposed.
* Volunteers for anything.
A Jezebel volunteers in order to establish control. He/She seemingly has endless (nervous) energy and eagerly looks for opportunities to be in charge of projects. Although he/she will work hard, his/her motive is never pure, and eventually his/her secret agenda cannot be hidden.
A person with a Jezebel spirit will always upstage another person. He/She feels threatened by anyone who dares to steal the limelight or anyone who is a threat to his/her power and control. If you are with such a person and tell of your accomplishment or victory, you can be assured he/she will quickly tell of something he/she has accomplished.
* Sequesters information.
A Jezebel loves to be in control of information. If there is ever a situation where information is important, he/she will push to be the "first" to know it. He/She seems to know everything about everyone. Where he/she gets all his information is beyond comprehension, but he/she can dictate to you data and details about people's lives and actions in mass quantities.
* Uses information.
A Jezebel uses information as leverage for power and then shares tidbits with you, often things told him/her in confidence. This gives him/her a sense of power, even to the point of trying to impress people by "knowing things" that others do not.
* Is insubordinate.
A Jezebel never takes the side of the employer or a person in authority, unless it is a temporary action to make him/herself look good. He/she often will take credit for someone else's idea. His/Her main desire is for power and control. There is no conscience when an opportunity for recognition presents itself.
* Uses the element of surprise.
A Jezebel's main thrust is to be in control, and a large part of control is catching you off guard. Therefore, the element of surprise works well when he/she shows up a day early for a meeting, etc, etc.
* Attempts to make you look like you're the Jezebel.
A Jezebel spirit is difficult to pin down. If the person is near to being confronted, he or she will skillfully twist the entire situation, trying to make the innocent person look like the one who is attempting to control. As always, the Jezebel will do anything to look like the one who is right.
* Is ambitious.
The Jezebel has strong desire, but all for self. "I want what I want when I want it," describes his/her worship of self-will. A Jezebel leader will never use the words, "We have a vision," but rather, "My vision is thus and so."
* Is independent.
No one has input in a Jezebel's life. He/She fraternizes with no one unless it is to get you to "cooperate" with his/her agenda.
* Controlling and manipulative.
A Jezebel will manipulate you to control something you have that he/she wants and he/she will manipulate you very smoothly and conniving until you feel guilty in giving up what he/she wants. May it be money or any possessions that you have?
A Jezebel spirit is very, very demanding in getting his/her way. They gain power by destroying others. It is like an adrenalin rush when they "win" over someone. They manage to get in positions of demanding, and are difficult to displace, once there. This Person is an "outlier" or non-conformist. Has their own way.
They can either be war-like in their personalities, so that they are intimidating,
So "sweet," "perfect," deceitful, "timid" and sneaky; sometimes they can be very charming and charismatic.
* Gets very angry when interrupted in a conversation.
A Jezebel spirit will demonstrate anger in his/her attitude and voice when he/she is interrupted while he/she is talking and may even demand for you to "shut up".
* Blame others for her mistakes, errors, and sins.
He/She will not ever blame themselves for any error, mistakes, or sins in words or actions; but will literally blame someone else for his/her own sins. And be much manipulative in doing do.
* Dramatic and freely uses emotions to advantage.
While they can tend to be oversensitive themselves, they have no concern for the feelings of others. They are not sympathetic to their victims, and tend to play the role of victim themselves, in order to gain sympathy. This way the real victim is left stranded, and opposed by others if they ask for help. Being the center of attention really pleases them.
* Builds up and then tears down; stirs up or pacifies; is very negative.
A Jezebel spirit is probably the most negative person you would encounter in your life time. He/She is negative about everything in their life. People, situations, circumstances, and even in conflict. He/She will blame everybody and everything including his/her well being and everything else that is not agreeable with their life. He/She will find fault in everyone and talk very negative about everyone in their life including their own family. When he/she needs something from someone he/she will build them up - get what he/she wants - and then tear them down. Be very alert of this type of person.
* May use silent treatment at times or pout.
A great defense mechanism a Jezebel will use for control is the silent treatment. If things are not going his/her way he/she will ignore you completely with the silent treatment and pout until he/she does get his/her way. No matter how long it takes.
* May repent verbally, but not from the heart.
A person with a Jezebel spirit will not ever repent from the heart. They will verbally say they are sorry for hurting anyone but not with humility, or with a deep remorse for hurting that person. If they did; then they would admit guilt. And a Jezebel spirit will not ever admit guilt.
* Presumes God will not judge him/her - the fear of the Lord is absent - opening the door to his/her own destruction.
Each individual person has the freedom of choice. Everyone has the freedom to make decisions, to make mistakes, to think for himself, to communicate, to like or dislike and to express his taste and creativity. But those who control people are in worship of their own will and their own ways and do not fear The Lord. They do not humble themselves before God. They do not desire God's standard of righteousness and holiness. They only desire to control and manipulate other people with no desire of humility and truth. Their only desire is for themselves and for themselves only.
We all want to believe that the person with a Jezebel spirit is delivered. The person may seem "normal" for a period, exhibiting none of the classic traits. Then suddenly, without warning a situation will arise, once again with the spirit taking control and wreaking havoc over lives. Hopefully, true repentance will come. Only then will the person be delivered.
This is the time for both you and your spouse to discuss your problems and search deep into your hearts for anything mention above that could be the root of your problems. A Jezebel spirit is a killer in any relationship and it has no mercy. And both of you must be honest with yourself and each other in order for reconciliation. You both must be completely transparent with yourself and with each other in order to reach God and for His blessings being brought upon you both. If you cannot be transparent and honest with one another then you have nothing. Because then, you are not being honest with God.
Now - let's talk about our Christian perspectives.
Ignoring the emotions of anger, sadness, and fear (e.g. not being honest with yourself and/or others about the feelings, hurts and pains beneath the surface of your life).
Many of us Christians believe wholeheartedly that anger, sadness, and worry are sins to be avoided. They indicate something is wrong with our spiritual life. Like most Christians, I was taught that almost all feelings are unreliable and not to be trusted. They go up and down and are the last thing we should be attending to in our spiritual lives. It is true that some Christians live in the extreme of following their feelings in an unhealthy, unbiblical way. It is more common, however, to encounter Christians who do not believe they have permission to admit their feelings or express them openly. This applies especially to the more "difficult" feelings of fear, sadness, shame, anger, hurt, and pain. When taken in its entirety the practical implications of such an imbalanced, narrow, biblical belief system are enormous. It leads to a devaluing and repression of the emotional aspect of our humanity that is also made in the image of God. Sadly, some of our Christian beliefs and expectations today have, "merely deadened our humanity, instead of setting it free to develop richly, in all its capacities, under the influence of grace."
Dying to the wrong things (e.g. denying healthy, God-given desires and pleasures of life (friendships, joy, music, beauty, laughter, nature) while finding it difficult to die to my self-protectiveness, defensiveness, a lack of vulnerability and judgmentalism).
True, Jesus did say: "If anyone would follow after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23). But when we apply this verse rigidly, without qualification from the rest of Scripture, it leads to the very opposite of what God intends. It results in a narrow, faulty theology.
We are to die to the sinful parts of who we are - such as defensiveness, detachment from others, arrogance, stubbornness, hypocrisy, judgmentalism, a lack of vulnerability - as well as the more obvious sins described for us in Scriptures.
We are not called by God to die to the "good" parts of who we are. God never asked us to die to the healthy desires and pleasures of life - to friendships, joy, art, music, beauty, recreation, laughter, and nature. God plants desires in our hearts so we will nurture and water them. Often these desires and passions are invitations from God, gifts from Him. Yet somehow we feel guilty unwrapping those presents.
God never asks us to annihilate the self. We are not to become "non-persons" when we become Christians. The very opposite is true. God intends our deeper, truer self, which he created, to blossom freely as we follow Him into His will.
Denying the past's impact on the present (e.g. not considering how your family of origin and significant people/events from your past have shaped your present). This falls into bitter-roots.
When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, whether as a child, teenager, or adult, we are, in the dramatic language of the Bible, born again (see John 3:3). The apostle Paul describes this way: "The old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The work of growing in Christ (what theologians call sanctification) does not mean we don't go back to the past as we press ahead to what God has for us. It actually demands we go back in order to break free from unhealthy and destructive patterns that prevent us from loving ourselves and others well as God designed. This does not mean we are unhealthy mentally or emotionally.
Spiritualizing away conflict (e.g. Missing out on true peace by smoothing over disagreements, burying tensions and avoiding conflict - rather than disrupting the false peace like Jesus).
Nobody likes conflict. Yet conflict is everywhere - from law courts to workplaces to classrooms to neighborhoods to marriages to parenting our children to close friendships to when someone has spoken or acted toward you inappropriately. But the belief that smoothing over disagreements or "sweeping them under the rug" is to follow Jesus continues to be one of the most destructive myths alive in the church today. For this reason, churches, small groups, ministry teams, denominations, non denominations, and communities continue to experience the pain of unresolved conflicts.
Very, very few of us come from families where conflicts are resolved in a mature, healthy way. Most simply bury our tensions and move on. I have learned this from past experiences.
Jesus shows us that healthy Christians do not avoid conflict. His life was filled with it! He was in regular conflict with the religious leaders, the crowds, the disciples - even His own family. Out of a desire to bring true peace, Jesus disrupted the false peace all around him. He refused to "spiritualize away" conflict.
Covering over brokenness, weakness, and failure (e.g. not speaking freely about my weaknesses, failures and mistakes).
The pressure to present an image of ourselves as strong and spiritually "together" hovers over most of us. We feel guilty for not measuring up, for not making the grade. We forget that not one of us is perfect and that we are all sinners.
The Bible does not spin the flaws and weaknesses of its heroes. Abraham lied. Hosea's wife was a prostitute. Peter rebuked God! Noah got drunk. Jonah was a racist. Jacob lied. John and Mark deserted Paul. Elijah burned out. Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal. Thomas doubted. Moses had a temper. Timothy had ulcers. King David was an adulterer. And all these people send the same message: that every human being on earth, regardless of their gifts and strengths, is weak, vulnerable, sinners, and dependent on God and others.
Living without limits (e.g. "trying to do it all" or "bite off more than I can chew"). Judging the spiritual journeys of others (e.g. finding myself occupied and bothered by the faults of others).
The core spiritual issue here relates to our limits and our humanity. We are not God. We cannot serve every one in need. We are human.
Jesus modeled this for us as a human being - fully God yet fully human. He did not heal every sick person in Palestine. He did not raise every dead person. He did not feed all the hungry beggars or set up job development centers for the poor of Jerusalemâ€¦. It is true we are called to consider others more important than ourselves (Philippians 2:4). We are called to lay down our lives for others (1 John 3:16). But Jesus reminds us we first need a "self" to lay it down.
Getting a right Christian perspective will eliminate many obstacles in a marriage relationship. When you begin to love yourself as God's child and love your spouse even more then God's perspective is generated into your life. And in return - your "self" being becomes radiant into the Light of God and His will for your life. So in order to gain a Christian perspective you must separate religious doctrine from God's word.