Week 3: Day 5 “Ears To Hear”
“We are warned in 2 Peter 2 of false teachers and their destructive doctrines. Check everything to make sure it lines up with what the whole Bible has to say. When statements are taken out of context or only part of a passage is used, God’s Word can become distorted. That is why, in my opinion, a personal study of God’s Word is vital to your spiritual growth. It helps you to become deeply grounded in your faith. My husband has read through the whole Bible at least six times. He says through this process, God opened his eyes to the way the whole Bible is totally interlinked from Genesis to Revelation. The Holy Spirit is waiting for us to dive into the Word so that He can make known God’s promises and wisdom (1 Cor. 2:13). Aren’t you thankful God gave us two ears to balance, not just one!” – Carla McDougal
“Dear Friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognise the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.” - 1 John 4:1-6
Pastor Chris Inman from First Baptist Church of Prescott said in a sermon something like, “You can’t tell me you feel as if God is telling you to do something. Back it up by scripture. If it’s unbiblical, it’s not from God.” It’s not a direct quote. He said it a long time ago, but I have never forgotten its essence. It has helped me to write and rewrite my testimony. It has helped me to think through things with logic not just emotion. It has helped me to listen to that still small voice—the Holy Spirit.
False teachers and false doctrine do not come wrapped in recognizable packaging. It will not bear a tag that says, “I’m a false teacher,” or, “I’m false doctrine.” Rather, the packaging will appeal to you. Your own hurts and prejudices will compel you to it. It will sound good enough and you’ll want to believe it bad enough that you’ll overlook the parts that scripurally doesn’t make sense. The reasoning behind it may seem logical, but when backed by fact, you’ll find to your dismay it is not biblical. The world goes by what it feels when they hear something. False teachers and doctrine is not just a cult thing, but are also a Christian thing. Like it states in Revelation 2-3, you will find churches that follow false doctrine because it seems good at the time. If you look at their theology you will find they are not following the Bible, but instead, following their emotions and the way of the world. We are not meant to resemble the world. If we wish to please the world, we are nothing more than used car salesmen trying to sell to the world a more pleasing and compromising Jesus with impure motivations.
People make decisions every day. They heed the voices in their hearts. Usually, it’s an emotional decision not based on scripture and that voice will always lead you in the wrong direction. I’ve known people who make such decisions and their life is a mess. Their testimonies are useless because they have not learned how to clean up that mess. They continue to heed their emotional voice because it feels good leading them down the primrose path of disaster. They wish to live the way they want to live and not how Jesus would have them live. In the end, it usually makes them bitter because their decisions were not based on God at all, and they stop attending church.
I chose to love Tony based on emotion and based on his good leadership, his friendship, our common threads, and how he heeded God’s Word. His enthusiasm for the Bible infected me. We read the Bible together. Every marriage will have difficulty on some level, and though our marriage has been blessed, it has sustained itself through tribulation because we chose to stay together and love each other forever. We chose to listen to God and not our emotions when it came to making major decisions in our lives; major decisions that included the financial ones.
One day our Jeep barely rumbled to life, and the Holy Spirit told Tony it was time to buy a new car. Past financial disasters have cautioned me in spending large amounts of money, and I insisted that we pray before we went out to the dealerships.
“Lord,” I prayed. “Please find us a car with low mileage and payments at $200 a month. Lord, if this isn’t meant to be, please close all doors and help us find a good mechanic.”
The first dealership we visited did not cooperate. Then, Lamb in Prescott found us a car under 50,000 miles and payments at $206 a month. We listened to God and God answered supernaturally. I urge you to look in the Bible. There are many scriptures on spending and saving money. This is another good litmus test for wise decisions. The car suited our needs. It wasn’t a Jeep Rubicon or a ½-Ton Chevy Pickup, but it fits all of our camping gear and suited our outdoor life well. The low mileage came into play later when our truck died. Now that we are a one-car family the low mileage helps prolong the life of our new car. We based our decision on scripture and prayer.
How a church worships, what music they play, how friendly they are, or how many programs they have to suit your needs are not a good basis for a house of worship. How friendly they are depends upon your friendliness. How many programs they offer depends upon the amount of willing volunteers. Church worship and music do not indicate if this church has false teachers or false doctrine. Those are just personal tastes. There is nothing unbiblical about it. False teachers and false doctrine speak from the viewpoint of the world and are not based on the Bible.
Pastor Chris’ words have stuck with me. I like that in a church. I like hearing meaty sermons from the Bible. I know it’s a good church when Tony and I talk about the sermon on the way home, or I recall a lesson with scripture at just the right moment. It is God talking when scripture can back what I hear in my heart. There are many books, films, blogs and news stories that appeal to us emotionally. Some of those stories and blogs are not scriptural, like Eat, Pray, Love. They are influential because it seems good, but born on emotion. Emotion is the snake in the Garden of Eden. Test and examine everything against scripture.
How do you tell the difference between that inner voice and that still and quiet voice just underneath all the noise? If something seems good and correct, how do you know? Did you ever go with something that seemed good and appealing, but it led you to disaster? Tell us your story.