Savage Wolves

“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.”
Acts 20:28-31 NKJV
The apostle Paul is giving the leaders in the church (the influencers) some instruction regarding their responsibilities as leaders. He reminds the leaders that the sheep belong to God and He purchased them with His blood. Controllers and manipulators tend to forget this because they take possession of the flock and try and get the flock to serve them. Genuine leadership serves others, just as  Jesus demonstrated when He washed His disciples’ feet (Matthew 13:1-17). Leaders have the responsibility to look after the people and care for them, but they need to remember that the sheep belong to God. Someone in a position of leadership is merely a custodian, overseeing and looking after what belongs to God.

Paul goes on to warn them the leaders that some people will come into the church like wild wolves (ERV) or savage wolves.  These wolves waited for Paul to leave before they tried to exert their influence. They wouldn’t be completely honest about what they say and do in front of the senior leader (in this case, Paul) because they know that the leader will not approve of them. Their sole purpose is to try and destroy the flock. Like Jesus said (Matthew 7:15-18), these people are hungry wolves who are only seeking to devour whoever they can and the trouble is that they look like sheep; “they are wolves in sheep’s clothing”. They seem to be kind and sound like they’re mature and loving, but as soon as you start crossing them they’ll start snapping at you. These wolves are not seeking to bless others but rather they’re seeking to build their kingdom and enrich themselves (whether it is with money, power or recognition). They aren’t interested in the church as a whole, but in themselves – it’s all about their gifting, their ideas, their Bible study, their revelation and their followers.

Paul also warned that some “wolves” will rise up from amongst the flock “speaking perverse things (teaching wrong things). Usually these kind of people like to teach. They don’t really get much out of the preaching and they believe that they could do a much better job if the pastor didn’t hog the pulpit and would give them an opportunity. These kinds of people draw people away from the rest of the flock and unto themselves. It’s more about themselves than it is anything else.  Paul goes on to say: “Remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.”  Usually those seeking to influence others the wrong way are new on the scene and don’t have a proven track record. They just pop up out of nowhere and want to lead and influence people without serving them. These are clear indications of a potential controller and manipulator.


“I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. 15 For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.”
1 Corinthians 4:14-15 NKJV
Paul wrote to the people he influenced and told them that his purpose in writing to them wasn’t to make them feel ashamed or condemned but to warn them. He was reminding them that he was their spiritual father and had a genuine love for them. He really wanted to help them and was seeking their best interests, not his own. One of the ways you can see if someone is a positive influence or not is to see if they’re merely instructing you (telling you what to do), or are they fathering you? Are they seeking to help you mature in your walk with God, and not just getting you to rely on them?

You need to be wise in who you allow to influence you. Healthy influences will help you to fulfill your destiny, but bad influences will corrupt you and prevent you from reaching your potential and fulfilling your destiny.

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