5 Ways to Spot the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

wolf sheep clothing

Photo Credit: ak-oly via Compfight cc

It is a given. Satan will try to tear down your church from the inside.

While we want to assume the best of everyone sitting across from us in the pews, Jesus told us to be wary of wolves in sheep’s clothing seeking to infiltrate the body (Matthew 7:15).

But He didn’t want us always looking over our shoulder, fearful every person we shake hands with or strike up a conversation with in small group will stab us in the back.

In fact, He told us what to do. Jesus said we would know these masquerading marauders by their fruit (Matthew 7:16). The actions of the wolves will reveal their true intentions.

Here are five behaviors that could indicate a person is not interested in following the Shepherd, but instead wants to devour the sheep.

1. Demanding attention — Oddly enough, these wolves want to be noticed. Only through gaining the attention of others can they begin to assert influence over them.

They may not be in front of the whole church each week, but whatever platform they have, they are going to use it to further their personal influence—not expand the kingdom.

2.  Seeking isolation — This may seem to contradict the first, but there are some nuances here that matter. These wolves want attention, but not necessarily of the leadership or mature believers.

They are going to want to pick off some weaker sheep in a small group or other isolated settings where oversight is lessened. If they constantly try to keep other leaders away from their meetings or group, look out.

3. Hoarding power — A healthy leader has no problem delegating power and authority to others who are biblically sound and trustworthy. Wolves must keep a constant grip on their power.

They realize no one else would have the same purpose and goal as them, so they must keep a tight grip on any power they obtain.

4. Lacking humility — Wolves exude arrogance. It’s like a smell their sheepskin can’t mask. As much as they try to avoid it, they can’t help being prideful.

Look for those who refuse to allow for any disagreement with them on third order issues. Watch for anyone who cannot accept responsibility for a mistake.

5. Undermining Scripture — Most importantly, wolves will mimic their master. Like the snake in the garden, they will subtle slide in and ask, “Did God really say that?”

It may not be the first thing they do, but eventually wolves will begin to undercut the authority of Scripture because it serves as a competitor.

Have you dealt with a wolf among the sheep at your church? How did you discover their true identity?


  1. Excellent points here!
    I’m a new reader here at the blog. I love what I’ve read so far. Keep up the great work!

  2. Ron

    The post gives the impression that the wolves come from among the congregation.

    Contextually, Jesus refers to the prophets, that is, the teaching class. His warning is about preachers.

  3. Years ago my parents attended a Presbyterian church where the pastor didn’t want them to have a Bible study. My folks and some of the people secretly had a Bible study. The pastor didn’t want my parents to put up a poster of Billy Graham when he was coming to town. Finally after my father was kicked off the elders council they left the church but kept having a Bible study with their group. They ended up at an Evangelical Covenant Church.

About Author

Aaron Earls

Christian. Husband. Daddy. Writer. Online editor for Facts & Trends Magazine. Fan of quick wits, magical wardrobes, brave hobbits, time traveling police boxes & Blue Devils.