Be Careful What You Swallow

I have mentioned our spiritual mentor in previous blogs. One of the things she taught us was to test what we hear. 1 Thes 5:20–“Don’t despise prophecies, but test all things”. And in Eph 5:10, “testing what is pleasing to the Lord”. One more, Rom 12:2, “…discern what is the good, pleasing and perfect will of God”.

To test is: examine, prove, scrutinize, to recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy. We learned this back in the 70s, during the Jesus movement. Many cults were being born. False teachings were rampant. I believe it was the enemy fighting against the move of God. Of course, the enemy is always trying to plant false teachings within the church.

We have been exposed to some of these false teachings. Some of our good friends were falling into them, people we had known for years These teachings were dividing us. At that time, I was one of four leaders trying to plant a new church, small but growing. The other three leaders started falling into one of these new movements that I could not accept. They were putting extreme pressure on me to agree with them. Something did not feel right about this teaching. I later realized it was a false teaching sweeping all over the country/world. When I delayed, they focused their attention on our mentor and said if we did not cut off our relationship with her we had to leave this newly formed church. We knew this was the enemy but still it was hurtful for our long time friends to turn on us. The decision was easy but painful. We said goodbye to our friends and stood with our mentor. We became even closer to her after this. She was hurt as well.

This church lasted about ten years and died. Soon after we got a knock on our door. One of the three leaders was standing on our front porch. Before we could get over our shock and say hello, he started weeping and could barely stand. Finally he was able to say, “Will you forgive me for what I did?” We had a three way hug and all cried. Our long time friendship was renewed. A few years after this knock on the door, my wife, working as a nurse in recovery, was assigned to a patient who happened to be one of the other leaders. He did not weep but in his own way apologized.

Another thing our mentor taught us was to forgive when other Christians hurt you and not let bitterness settle in. Through His Spirit we were able to forgive our friends ten years before they asked for forgiveness.

False teachings have been around for centuries. However, there are other teachings that may not fall into the false category but are well intentioned sermons, studies or books. We are encouraged to test all teachings, to examine and scrutinize everything we hear or read. Does this match up with my understanding of everything God has taught me? Do I need to search this teaching more to test it with other scriptures? God wants us to learn to lean on Him for discerning truth in everything we hear. I believe every good teacher/preacher would want us to do the same.

If we swallow everything we hear without this Spirit led examination we can digest teachings that are not from Him. These teachings then start growing inside of us producing fruit that does not match with His truth/word.

God, we are dependent on You to teach us to test everything before we swallow it. And, if there are teachings we have swallowed that are not from You, please remove them from our hearts.

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