Thursday, June 28, 2012
Are You Listening?!
"I've written to warn you about those who are trying to deceive you. But they're no match for what is embedded deeply within you—Christ's anointing, no less! You don't need any of their so-called teaching. Christ's anointing teaches you the truth on everything you need to know about yourself and him, uncontaminated by a single lie. Live deeply in what you were taught."
I John 2:26-27 The Message
In this day of Christian celebrities and international multi-media, it is much easier to watch, listen and believe what we see and hear in the flesh rather than to quietly listen to the voice within.
Just this weekend I read about another Christian celebrity, with a worldwide following, who has fallen from his pedestal. I'm sure many of his followers are disappointed, hurt, confused and/or feeling betrayed.
Who really betrayed them? Or did they betray themselves?!
The Lord is no respecter of persons... He does not place us on a pedestal for listening to His voice and hearing the Truth. We need to be careful not to do the same thing because when "the blind lead the blind they both fall into the pit". These celebrities have nothing we don't have if we are truly in Christ. We don't need a "new" anointing to fall on us.... our anointing abides in us... the Christ who is the Truth. He can/will lead us into all Truth if we listen! We need to learn to weigh those other voices, no matter how famous they are or how good they "sound' against His voice within us. He alone IS the Truth and all we ultimately need!
Matthew 24 says there will be many deceivers in the last days and they will be so convincing that "even the elect might be deceived, were it possible". Is it possible that these deceivers may even be deceiving themselves?! Could they be believing that they truly speak FOR God what is in His heart, rather than speaking from what is in their own hearts in response to their own needs/wants?
It is hard for us to truly discern our own motives and often we find ourselves following our desires rather than Christ. Often I believe God speaks a truth to us that He wants shared, but that doesn't mean we are to build our own kingdom on it and take ownership of it for our purposes. As fleshly beings, that is impossible not to do without Him. And to do it with Him means we have to know and hear His voice within us. Only the Lord can discern the true motivations of a man's heart or its voice, so we better listen with His ears rather than our own or we will be following the man and not the Lord.
It is possible that many of these celebrities are distracting us with good teachings, without intent to hurt or harm, but built on a true revelation that is now being "fleshed out" in their own hearts/minds. When the focus changes from His thoughts to ours, we will eventually lead ourselves astray. If we are followed, our followers are as wrong as we are for not waiting and listening for His direction.
Satan also comes as an "angel of light" and loves to lead us astray even if only to distract us from REALLY listening. We need to remember that everything that looks or seems good is not necessarily from the Lord and should be taken as His will for that moment. Good things are good things, but we are not necessarily meant to do every good thing that comes along, even though we are to do good. God is always working for the good and God is good, but all that appears good is not necessarily from God for us to do or to listen to and follow. Satan can be just as effective distracting us as he can be in destroying us. Either way we are rendered ineffective in His Kingdom.
Faith without works is dead, but works without the Holy Spirits inspiration are just works. If we really listen, we might find that much of what we are hearing from these Christian celebrities, we already know, but are too lazy or distracted to put into practice by thinking for ourselves.
It scares me how caught up Western Christians are in following the men who dwell among us, who are still nothing more than men, rather than the Jesus who indwells us!
Yes, He can and does speak through others to us, but first and foremost, He wants to have a personal relationship, speaking TO us, from His place within us. Let us learn to become better listeners and test what we hear from without, against what we hear from within. Listening to voices who (supposedly) speak for Christ, is a poor substitute for hearing and obeying the voice of Christ within us.
I think we often feel/think that because these men have greater intellect, education, charisma, whatever, we NEED them and their teachings to discern His will for our lives. He may use men to instruct, motivate, convict, encourage, etc. but it is only beneficial to us to the degree that it is Him doing it through them. Let’s face it folks, He spoke through an ass to achieve his purpose. The key element was that it was Him doing the speaking. He loves and values the ignorant, penniless, uneducated, true believer, every bit as much as the educated, intellectual believer.
It is man that makes them celebrities not God.
He loves us JUST BECAUSE He loves us...not for who we are, but because of who He is. He speaks to you and I with the same voice and wisdom that He speaks to them..... the question is;
"Are we listening to Him?"
We don't need to listen to men to hear what He is saying to us, but we do need to listen to Him to know if what they are saying to us is Truth. We must know that He is speaking to us through them.
"I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary. A hired man is not a real shepherd. The sheep mean nothing to him. He sees a wolf come and runs for it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged and scattered by the wolf. He's only in it for the money. The sheep don't matter to him."
"I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me. In the same way, the Father knows me and I know the Father. I put the sheep before myself, sacrificing myself if necessary. You need to know that I have other sheep in addition to those in this pen. I need to gather and bring them, too. They'll also recognize my voice..."
"My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them real and eternal life. They are protected from the Destroyer for good. No one can steal them from out of my hand. The Father who put them under my care is so much greater than the Destroyer and Thief. No one could ever get them away from him. I and the Father are one heart and mind."
John 10: The Message