An excerpt from Gail Raynor’s soon-to-be published book, “Altared Egos”.
It’s far too easy in today’s world to accept the opinion of man as fact as it relates to God’s Word. I’ve been guilty of repeating something simply because I read it on the internet. Did I bother to question the source, the motivation or even the validity of what was written? In the early years of the world wide web, I not only fell victim to various scams, but actually perpetuated them by forwarding on the emails. I can assure you that I am much more tech-savvy these days and can recognize a scam when I see one. To blindly accept what the media says as truth is to leave yourself open to deception. Despite best efforts at objectivity, there will always be a slant, or bias in the way stories are reported.
So many times, we allow cultural norms to dictate how we interpret scripture. This is a trap that anyone can fall into and so it’s necessary to always rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. Jesus says in John 16:12-15, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” This is not to say that we should never trust the opinion of other people, because God gives teachers to the Body of Christ to build us up. We should, however, follow the example of the Bereans and seek out the scriptures daily to see if what we are being taught is the truth. If a leader is not comfortable with his/her congregation putting this into practice, then beware of that leader. One does not need a seminary degree to discern between truth and deception.
One doesn’t need a theology degree to be able to understand the Bible, but why are there so many people who struggle to understand the basic tenets of our faith? I don’t claim to be a theologian, but I hope I have a grasp on the foundational aspects of christianity and a practical understanding of the Bible. Hebrews 6:1 tells us to leave behind the elementary teachings and to essentially move on to maturity. This is something we are responsible for in our own christian walks.
We often reduce our christianity to a man-made experience when, in reality, it is a completely supernatural one. God is a Spirit and we must worship Him in spirit and in truth. When we operate in the flesh, we aren’t going to find God or the truth, and moreover, we will be deceived because our heart is deceitful. We have to ask ourselves the question, “Do we want to find the truth?” It’s possible that some people are more comfortable in a state of deception rather than a surrendered state where God is in control. Thankfully, the truth even sets us free from ourselves.
In today’s world, it’s easy to get swept away by a dynamic, charismatic leader. Church marketing and PR is big business in 2012. People often get trapped when one of these high-profile personalities speak something other than the Word of God. Initially, something might not feel right in their own spirit, but they dismiss it based on what they think they know of the person, rather than what they know of God’s steadfastness. If something you hear doesn’t sit right in your spirit, don’t ignore it. That may very well be the Spirit of God bearing witness with yours. His sheep know His voice, so don’t second-guess yourself just because someone is more visible or has more of a platform than you do. People are prone to error. Remember, the Spirit of Truth always exalts truth and glorifies God.