common sense, courage, deception, discerning the spirits, duty, exhortation, experience, false spirits, following Jesus, God's guidance, Jesus Christ, light, Light and Darkness, obedience, Oswald Chambers, peace, resurrection power, spiritual power, Truth in Love, Walking in the Light
I have come to know several people who thought they were led by the Holy Spirit, who believed in Jesus as their Lord, and who prayed to God, their Father. Alas, the spirits they usually listen to are mostly the voices of their own soul’s desires, their own mind’s ideas, and their self’s pushing interests. Here the question arises whether it makes sense to try to correct someone who is absolutely convinced of being led by God? I am afraid it might be of little help to do so unless God tells us to open our mouths in His perfect time. But speaking up and telling them the truth might turn out a damaging experience if these people are too unstable to be confronted with their deception yet. Maybe, they are confused, maybe, they are mentally sick, maybe, they were led into error by the wrong people.
It is so important to wait on God for His timing regarding these matters since knowing the truth is one thing, speaking the truth in love another. In order to provide some assistance for us as to how we can find out these wrong ‘Christian’ spirits, I would suggest to search people’s vocabulary for words like The Cross of Christ, Suffering and Glory, Old and New Nature/Creation, Death and Resurrection. These are only a few hints, yet you might discover that believers who have been deceived are either imbalanced on the positive side (glory, new creation, resurrection) or they remain stuck in being accused on the other, ‘negative’ side of the Cross, that is, they cannot believe that their sins have been forgiven, once and for all. Instead, they try to propitiate their image of God by doing what they think a Christian should do. Perhaps, you’ll find the following excerpt from one of Oswald Chambers’ devotionals helpful, too.
Many a Christian worker has left Jesus Christ alone and gone into work from a sense of duty, or from a sense of need arising out of his own particular discernment. The reason for this is the absence of the resurrection life of Jesus. The soul has got out of intimate contact with God by leaning to its own religious understanding. There is no sin in it, and no punishment attached to it; but when the soul realizes how he has hindered his understanding of Jesus Christ, and produced for himself perplexities and sorrows and difficulties, it is with shame and contrition he has to come back.
We need to rely on the resurrection life of Jesus much deeper down, to get into the habit of steadily referring everything back to Him; instead of this we make our commonsense decisions and ask God to bless them. He cannot, it is not in His domain, it is severed from reality. If we do a thing from a sense of duty, we are putting up a standard in competition with Jesus Christ. We become a “superior person,” and say – “Now in this matter I must do this and that.” We have put our sense of duty on the throne instead of the resurrection life of Jesus. We are not told to walk in the light of conscience or of a sense of duty, but to walk in the light as God is in the light. When we do anything from a sense of duty, we can back it up by argument; when we do anything in obedience to the Lord, there is no argument possible; that is why a saint can be easily ridiculed.
“We make our commonsense decisions and ask God to bless them.” Wow! Have you ever done this? I have. And not only once! It even seems to me that I often ask God to bless my habitual doing of carrying out things myself and then wonder whether I ignored His still, small voice because of human reason, due to worldly advice from others, or simply because I feel obliged to behave as I always did, especially when other people are involved.
What do you do when He calls you to come to Him rather than doing somebody a favor, something you could easily do and which would make them happy? Huh? Is it easy for you to say ‘No!” to a human being and ‘Yes!” to God instead? Not for me, I can tell you! It is a struggle when you begin to fight these, yes, DEMONS, that come at us, trying to destroy God’s work IN us. Brothers and sisters, it is always less difficult to do something in the visible realm than to withdraw and draw nigh to God in the invisible realm of our spirit, heart, and mind by doing nothing anyone but God can perceive. What we need here is COURAGE, courage which must be given us through the Holy Spirit’s power that can turn a coward who usually submits to compelling and controlling spirits in other people into an obedient follower of Jesus Christ.
Please, Lord, make it so and give us Your peace as we follow You. Amen.
“Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (Jas 4:4-10 ESV)