Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 43

It's fairly easy to get sucked in by false teachings. Over the years I've seen and heard some pretty odd things preached in the name of Jesus. But more than the obvious oddities that clearly do not line up with the word of God are the subtleties. The things harder to catch that we take as gospel.

Growing up in church I was never really taught to search out God's word on my own. It was kind of unspoken that you just took what the preacher said to heart. Even as a young adult in the late eighties that would have been hard for a layman to do. Today its much easier. Anyone can go to Crosswalk.com or other Bible Study Tool websites and search Hebrew and Greek meanings and read commentaries and word studies. But with knowledge and ability comes accountability. Sometimes I am not sure I want that accountability. But its a part of my commission as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I can't take the responsibility of teaching and leading others without accepting the responsibility of knowing the Word of God. We do hear what the preacher says and its easy to believe. They are the preacher after all. They usually do have some sort of seminary training. But for the most part, I believe we are responsible for the Word being truth in our life. Ignorance is not an excuse. If we believe something that was erroneously taught to us - we are still at fault. We are the ones we believed.

I heard a Matt Chandler sermon today on Luke Chapter 17 that deals with this subject. He says men and women who are false teachers have a lot in common:

1. They are always articulate and intelligent and at some level charismatic. Morons don’t lead people astray. (Gotta love how Matt tells it like it is).
2. They start out orthodox and have some semblance of success in ministry.
3. They usually proclaim that they are faithful to the scriptures.
4. There is a lot of ambiguity in their teaching. They ask questions rather than directly teaching. They don’t outright lie – but they don’t tell the complete truth.
5. They speak the language of love, peace and unity and anyone that says what they are teaching is false is considered to be attacking the love, peace and unity of the church. They are usually morally upright and giving. And it’s fine to preach love, peace and unity as long as it lines up with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
6. There is almost always money and power to be gained in what they are teaching.
7. They do it stealthily and it can be very minor at times. That’s how they distract and deceive us.

I personally think some teachers are just mean well but are deceived thus they perpetuate a false teaching. I do believe there is grace and mercy, but as I said before I do not believe that ignorance is an excuse for perpetuating false teaching. I know in my zeal as a new believer, I tended to believe whatever I was told. It didn't take long before I started questioning some of the things I had heard or read. And always know - questioning is good. A person isn't infallible just because they are a successful preacher, teacher or acclaimed author. The Holy Spirit began quickening my spirit when I would heard something that didn't line up with the word of God. Back then I just didn't know what to do with that discernment.

The word says to pay attention to yourselves – there are false teachers out there. I certainly don't want to become a false teacher, even inadvertently. But how do we pay attention to ourselves? I think the key is the word of God. We have to know what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is and what it's not. And we know this by delving in and digging deep into the word of God.

Wow how intimidating. In 2 Peter 3:15-18 it says some things in scripture are hard to understand and the ignorant and unstable distort it as they do other scriptures. I find it strangely comforting that in the word it says - it says the word is hard to understand. It makes me feel less intimated. But a warning follows that says those that distort it do so at there own destruction.

If I let myself get anxious that's where the intimidation surfaces. I am not the next Beth Moore or Margaret Feinberg. Their love for and knowledge of the scriptures astound me. But it's overwhelming. So rather than striving to be like Beth or Margaret or a mentor or a friend, I am trying to be Leah. Just Leah. And I am beginning to like and feel comfortable with who I am and who I am becoming. And the ironic part is, by becoming comfortable in who I am, I give into my gifts and do not hold back. I may not be called to become a biblical scholar, but I am confident that God will lead and direct me to the truth through His word.

When I first started this journey of solitude I was unsure how it would play out. I knew at some point I'd be sharing my complete testimony. But the day to day aspect of prayer and worship and study seemed daunting. I had a wide variety of teachings and bible studies to choose from but felt let to start with Matt Chandler and the book of Luke. I felt like I needed to start fresh from a gospel and this seemed like the perfect starting place. How often can you get a great preacher on podcast going over an entire book of the new testament? It's been great discipleship for me. It's far easier than doing it on my own. Matt doesn't know it but he's been my own personal biblical interpreter lately. Don't get me wrong - he's just a man and not infallible. But if he says something I am unsure about, I pause iTunes, click on over to Crosswalk and figure it out for myself. Its not as hard as I thought it would be. I was making it way more complicated than it was.

The word of God isn't meant to intimidate. It's meant to illuminate our entire being. I am edified in the knowledge that I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). I may not be called to be a theologian but Jesus gives me the strength to search out and fall in love with the Word of God. It took a simple step of faith.

If I am called to minister to others, which I believe I am, then I have the responsibility to know the word of God. Rather than living intimidated I want to live illuminated. And to do that I have to be challenged and encouraged. I cna do this. God in me can do this. At times I might be overwhelmed and humbled but not intimidated. Never again will I allow intimidation and feelings of inadequacy to separate me from what God is calling me to do. Intimidation is a deceitful trick from the enemy. I rebuke it.

Today's Reflection: Lord You truly amaze me. Your grace and mercy astound me. Thank you Lord for calling me. You do not call the equipped but you equipped the called. You are not concerned with what I think my limitations are. You have called me thus you will equip me. Thank You for keeping my eyes focused on You. Thank You for softening my heart and turning me towards You. As I turn away from my family being ultimate in my life, paradoxically I become a better wife, mother, daughter and sister. As I seek You through prayer and worship and Your word, You presence envelopes me and heals me. Thank You for never letting go of me.

2 comments:

sheri November 13, 2009 at 5:05 AM  

Living illuminated rather than living intimidated...That's powerful! But you are not--and God never intended--that you be "just" Leah as if you're not as valuable as Beth or Margaret. By design, you were created with a specific purpose in Christ. You are only "just" Leah when you walk alone but ALWAYS so much more--yet at the same time, no less and no more than Margaret & Beth--when you walk completely in Christ. In Him, you fulfill His perfect plan.

Leah November 13, 2009 at 5:23 AM  

Thanks. Actually I meant just Leah no comparisons. Not me Leah alone. Just the Leah how God created me. :) That's why I said never let me go at the end of my reflection. I plan to never be alone again.

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