Going astray spiritually is as easy as not paying attention to the road sign on a freeway interchange, letting oneself get distracted and taking the wrong exit. I know from firsthand experience because I did it and took a trip in the wrong direction that lasted 14 years.
We should be careful whom we let write on the tablets of our hearts.
The Lord Jesus himself, in the parable of the sower, told his disciples, “He who has ears, let him hear.” (Matthew 13:9).
Then in Mark 4:24, talking about His light in us, Jesus warned his disciples, “CONSIDER CAREFULLY WHAT you hear.”
In Matthew´s parable, Jesus also talks about the fourth person who receives the seed, hearing and understanding. This is HOW TO HEAR with the understanding that comes from God and his Word:
“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:1-6).
In Luke 8:18, again talking about the light, Jesus calls his disciples to “consider carefully HOW YOU LISTEN.” Then, he adds something that should cause us to look at our hearts and let us be examined by the searchlight of the Spirit in those words: “…whoever doesn´t have, EVEN WHAT HE THINKS HE HAS will be taken away from him.”
Could Jesus be talking about the light that one thinks he has, maybe because somebody misled us into believing that they had the light, and that if we followed them and their teachings, then we would partake of their special spiritual knowledge and revelations? And their light and teachings would spread throughout the world and bring the rule of the Kingdom of God through great revivals and theocratic government? Great boasts are being made these days! Who would not want to be part of such spiritual effort: conquering the world for Christ?
Remember, there is one who is the enemy of our souls who disguises himself as an angel of light, and so do his demons and false prophets who spread doctrines of demons.
Here is what John 1:6-9 says about Jesus and John the Baptist who was to bear witness to Jesus Christ and whose ministry was preaching repentance and announcing the first coming of Christ our Lord and Savior:
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.”
If Jesus is the true light, then there is a false counterfeit light.
Have we been deceived or allowed ourselves to be deceived? Is it possible that we live in denial – even when the truth and the reality of when the false seeds that have been sown and the false lights that have been allowed to grow within the church for more than a century are now bearing a rotten fruit –causing spiritual blindness, except for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear?
The Book has already been written. The Bible is the Word of God, our only authority to judge everything we hear, see and experience – that is to say our reference, our map, our compass, our anchor, our plumb line, our supreme gold standard. The Holy Spirit who breathed the words written by the writers of the Bible and who now indwells us believers will never contradict himself.
In John 16:1, Jesus warned his disciples: “All this I have told you so that you will not go astray.”
All this refers back to the teaching about the Holy Spirit in chapter 15 who is introduced to us as “the Counselor” who is to be with us forever, the Spirit of Truth.
Later on in John 18:37, Jesus, acknowledging that he was King, made this remarkable statement: “In fact for this reason I was born and for this I came into the world: to TESTIFY TO THE TRUTH. Everyone who is on the side of the truth listens to me.”
Well, Pilate was not interested in knowing what love is? He asked ‘what is truth’? in verse 38.
Jesus could have talked about love in these terms, further condemning Pilate: “My Father loves me because I lay down my life…of my own accord. This command I received from my Father” (John 10:17-18).
Everybody talks about “God is love,” and then come the lies of not including the whole counsel of God as we are commanded to do.
Truth and love go together to provide balance in our walk with Jesus and when we proclaim the Good News.
“Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me” (Psalm 40:11 KJV).
Instead, speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15 NASB).
Other examples of the essential balance found in God´s word:
John 1:17 “The law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
Eph 5:9 “For the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth.”
The Lord Jesus himself who is our Savior—perfect love in his essence and nature, the Way, the Truth and the Life—is described in these terms in John 1:14:
“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Now this balance applied to worship:
“Woman,’ Jesus replied, ‘believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:21-24 NIV).
Truth is paramount and essential in these days of great delusion, deception, and spiritual drought and death from thirst for the truth of the Word of God. We simply cannot preach only love and grace at the detriment of truth because we want to be more gracious, compassionate, more generous, and more merciful than He is. We have to represent Him faithfully as He has identified and revealed Himself to us throughout the pages of the Book He has given us. We have to speak the whole truth, rightly dividing the Word of God entrusted to us.
How easy and convenient to rob the words of Jesus of their power and lessen the impact on the heart and the minds of weak and credulous believers!
How many times have we heard this statement? “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”
Free from what? Omitting the parts that we don´t like and keeping the ones that tickle our ears and send our heart palpitating, our head banging, our feet jumping and our bodies gyrating? No way! Jesus was talking about keeping his teaching, thereby showing that they were true disciples, then the rest of the verse follows.
A half-truth in this case is a lie because it is used by people who misquote and distort the Word of God. I have even heard the above verse used by New Agers and Western Hindu cultists combined with this other verse in 2 Timothy 3:16:
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” – and the perfect trap is set to deceive the person who is not born again or rooted, established, and a regular reader of the Word with Holy Spirit discernment. Of course, in quoting the Scripture out of context, they make a case for unqualified worship and service to any deity and any scripture since the verse mentions “God” and “All scripture.” To them this means Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim or any in the smorgasbord of religions we are free to choose.
In Amos 8, the Sovereign Lord declares, “The days are coming when I will send a famine through the land (Israel, although I believe it applies to any individual and nation) “….a famine OF HEARING THE WORDS OF THE LORD.”
If it is fireworks, supernatural manifestations, counterfeit signs and wonders that you are looking for, searching the world over for the latest falling of gold dust, diamonds, fire moves of the spirit, “Kundalini Hindu yoga power,” impartation of supernatural power from an “apostle” or “prophet” practiced in some charismatic churches, then all you have to do is take your eyes off Jesus and the Bible and you will be sure to find what you want.
But remember, there is a price to pay at the end and also in this life.
Is it not enough for us to be in the process of being made conformed to the image of Christ?
Here are the words of warning from Paul to the Corinthians:
“But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully” (2 Cor 11:3-4).
Finally, a scripture from Isaiah 50:10-11 encapsulates what I have been writing. These are the words of the instructed, obedient servant of our Lord Jesus Christ, through the lips and the pen of the prophet: a clear contrast between 2 groups: those who fear the Lord, obey His word, trust in His name and rely on Him, and the other group who trust and walk in their own false lights, their own “strange fires” so to speak and the ones who spark movements for other people to follow.
“Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant? Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on their God. But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment” (Isaiah 50:10-11 NIV).
If I were in these peoples’ shoes, I would pay attention to the warning and tremble at those words. Fortunately, in his mercy, the Lord has provided the way of repentance and restoration even to the worst sinner among us (Psalm 51), and Isaiah 66 which reads:
“Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word (Isaiah 66:1-2 KJV).
Who is writing on the book of your life?