Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Spiritual Truth, or Deception?

The enemy does not want us to be delivered. I think we can all agree on that, but Satan understands the word of God quite well and he understands us quite well, too. He knows that in order to deceive a believer, then he must find a way to block their understanding of truth. The spirit of accusation can be subtle. Not only does it look for ways to accuse, but it looks for ways to discredit. It all starts with a judgment, and then that judgment takes over in order to accomplish a goal that Satan has put in place. Did you know that a spirit of accusation will look to discredit not just people, but the Word of God? If the enemy can discredit certain areas of teaching, he can also prevent people from believing in the truth that will make them free and healed.

One thing I have recognized, and I admit, have been guilty of it myself in times past, is to think that something is biblically unsound when the reality is, I simply lacked the revelation of it in my own life. I had yet to grow in certain areas - and, truth be told - was in need of deliverance in certain areas of my own thinking, (mainly my own pride) for there were strongholds in my own life that were in need of being torn down.  Those strongholds prevented truth from getting in because the enemy was protecting blind spots that were designed to resist my healing and deliverance. How often people persecute the Word of God when it is simply their flesh resisting a truth that can make them free. The Bible tells us that our hearts are deceitfully wicked and we cannot know what is even in our own heart. This means that our hearts will deceive us. We will be prone to misdiagnosis of our own heart and life. We will be prone to missing our own blind spots. We will be predisposed to protect and defend the areas of our life where we may be in sin, and yet, not realize we are we are in fact, in need of repentance in some area.

Scripture tells us that all unbelief is sin. Unbelief in any area of our life produces a rejection of the truth and separation from God on some level. S-i-n. Boy oh boy, that itty bitty word sure does have the power to get people upset. It's human nature to not want to think we are in sin, because that would mean that we are in the wrong. Yet, the Bible tells us that if we say we have no sin then then we are self deceived and the truth is not in us, according to 1 John 1:8. Self-deception in any area of our thought life is usually held in place by pride. It is judging ourselves by our own standard rather than by God's revealed truth. Sin, as much as we may hate that little word, is the result of unbelief. Maybe not in every area of our life, but concerning certain areas we may not have the victory just yet. All unbelief produces separation between ourselves and God, or us and others. It is the root of every fear and sin. Unbelief makes room for spiritual, emotional and physical weakness. Why? Because Truth is not reigning in that place. Uncovering the area of unbelief that we've taken in to our belief system is our job. Jesus provided the salvation, but it's our job to appropriate the victory in every area of our life. If we fail to understand, then the error is not with God, it is with us. Hosea 4:6 tells us "My people perish for lack of knowledge..." It is also written in Proverbs 29:18 "Where there is no revelation people cast off all restraint, but blessed is he who keeps wisdom's instruction." Revelation is important. It can keep us healthy and well, free and victorious. But where revelation is lacking, people live by their own thoughts and imaginations and reject the wisdom of God. That is why revelation is so important. Revelation comes as a result of relationship with Holy Spirit. One cannot come by revelation except by God's Holy Spirit. It does not come by the flesh or spirit of man; it is divinely given. It is the glory of kings (that's us!) to search out a matter so that we recover the truth that will release empowerment, healing and restoration. Friends, if we were all walking in perfect harmony and agreement with scripture, we would be perfectly aligned with God. We would have no weakness in our bodies. We would be walking in miracles, signs and wonders everywhere we went because we would be full of resurrection power. We would be victorious overcomers in every sense of the word, but there is not one person on earth that has achieved complete perfection. Not yet. We all need work! The price for our sin has been paid, but there is still the work of sanctification. This is not a forgiveness issue; it's an enlightenment issue in our understanding that allows us to enter into deeper relationship with God and his Holy Spirit. Every time we displace an area of sin, deception and darkness, we gain more depth in our relationship with our God. Truth sets us free because TRUTH IS A PERSON. It's all about relationship with Him. Light displaces darkness. When lies are displaced, the natural response should be a conviction that leads us to change our heart and mind about what we previously believed. It SHOULD lead to repentance. Repentance means to change our mind about something we once believee and then adjust our thought life and behavior accordingly so that what we now believe is more reflective of God's truth in our life. We OUGHT to feel compelled to revel in thankfulness to God for showing us a truth we weren't able to walk in before we had that nugget of pure gold revelation. When darkness is displaced, then the light and glory of God fills the place that was once weakened and darkened through unbelief. Areas of our heart, mind, body and soul that were once blocked off and damaged, diseased or wounded can begin to receive resurrection power.

What people often lack is either revelation or experience in a particular area that gives them greater understanding. Remember the Pharisees? They knew the scriptures better than just about everyone else, but they completely missed the Word of God when He was standing among them, simply because their judgments clouded their ability to see correctly. They knew what the scriptures said but they didn't know the heart of God. If we don't understand the heart of God to know His ways, we will miss God in the midst of us. Hardened by their own pride, they could not receive Truth. Judgments made them spiritually blind to recognizing the truth that was sent to heal them.

Friends, God will often send us people with both experience and revelation that can help heal us. At the same time, God may also test us as to whether we will discount the truth based on the packaging of His messenger, or He may test our ability to recognize his Holy Spirit within an ordinary vessel. I have had to learn to receive from many unlikely messengers. Sometimes they were my children and sometimes they were strangers. One time God used a prophetess on a bicycle that I met on the boardwalk by the beach. A couple of days later she called and had a very strong word for me that made my flesh rear up in defensiveness. Keep in mind this was a woman I did not know personally but I did recognize the spirit within her and the gift of the Holy Spirit working through her. Even so, immediately I wanted to reject her because I felt such conviction of what had been spoken. God didn't care about preserving my pride! He wanted to bless me with a deeper level of healing, but when it snuck up on me and caught me by surprise I had to choose whether or not I would let my pride get the better of me. That woman was doing her job. She told me exactly what I needed to hear to get delivered. She wasn't hurtful but she didn't mince any words about it, either. Although I didn't care for the process, I also realized she was speaking the truth. That was the Holy Spirit bearing witness to the message. Listen friends, God is not about to coddle us when we're in sin. It might not be something we consider a big deal. But to God, it's all a big deal because our thought life determines who we become and how much of His "BIG PLAN" we are able to accomplish. Holy Spirit is relentless to bring us truth, teaching and revelation that is intended to set us free and lead to deeper levels of our restoration. God has even used homeless people to speak profound truths. There can be a lot of wisdom in unusual packages, if we will just have ears to hear and take the time to listen. If I had discounted some of God's messengers I never could have received the truth that led me into freedom. There are times when hearing the truth made me angry and defensive, but that alone did not negate the truth; it simply meant the enemy was guarding a stronghold and I had to choose whether or not to submit to the truth or continue on in captivity. The next time you hear an area of teaching, instruction or read something that makes you question whether or not it is from God, consider asking Holy Spirit to show you the difference between what your thoughts are telling you, what you think you know about scripture, and what is truth. Don't assume to know. When ever I have asked the Lord to show me what is really true, He leads me to the scriptures and shows me very clearly. He has also used other things that are not necessarily scripture, but medically based on the workings of the human body and then drawn a line of understanding between the two. God can use many things to show us truth! The Bible tells us to test the spirits, but the evidence of any teaching and also in the life of the one who teaches, is the fruit. Jesus said we would know the false from the genuine by testing the fruit. The fruit of the Spirit is mentioned in Galatians 5:22. Servants of the Lord should walk in love, joy, peace, forbearance kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The fruit of the Spirit in the believer (and the one who teaches) is the test which determines whether or not their life and teaching produces good fruit.

Does what is being taught lead a person closer to God, or away from Him? Does it magnify God, or someone else?
Does it lead a person into repentance, a changed heart, and a desire to trust God?
Does what is being taught come from revelation from Holy Spirit?
Does it open the spiritual eyes so that more truth can be received?
Does the teaching result in deliverance from some lie the person has believed and a greater sense of victory?
Does what is taught exalt the name of Jesus, the Word of God, and empower the person to overcome the enemy?
Does it result in physical or emotional healing?
Are there testimonies of healing and deliverance that come from the teaching? These are all indicators of good fruit, for the testimonies of what that teaching produces cannot be negated. Testimonies are the result of truth displacing darkness and Jesus being elevated in that person's life.

False teaching, however, will produce bad fruit. Jesus said that bad fruit came from bad trees. Good fruit came from good trees.

False teaching produces double-mindedness and confusion.
False teaching does not produce righteousness; it leaves people feeling guilty and condemned.
False teaching can also teach a wrong perspective of grace. One of the greatest errors in teaching is not radical grace. It is the teaching that repentance is unnecessary.
False teaching produces a sense of never measuring up and the inability to please God.
False teaching places people in bondage rather than leading them into freedom.

False teachers do not live by what they teach to others. Many live for themselves and live according to self rule. Self rule discards the truth and conviction necessary to produce genuine repentance and change.
False teachers demonstrate a lack of love for others.
False teachers will place others in bondage and leave others feeling hurt, confused, angry or bitter, which is the result of bad fruit in their life.
False teachers often insistent and unyielding. They have an unyielding nature that does not produce righteousness.
False teachers are proud and resistant to truth.
False teachers often do not live in the revelation that they have. Their life is marked by compromise.
False teachers do not walk in revelation. They speak as natural people but not by the Spirit. They teach as natural men or women but not as spiritual. (Revelation is the mark of those chosen by God with spiritual authority).

Man uses many things to determine whether or not something is from God, but not all of those things are profitable nor are they biblical standards of measuring truth. Opinions are a dime a dozen  depending on who you may be talking to, and subject to error but truth will stand up to scrutiny. Good fruit and sound teaching will stand up to scrutiny. I hope this article has been helpful. Friend, guard yourselves from those that may attempt to persuade you to believe like them by the use of persuasive words or empty philosophies. Jesus is known to have asked His disciple, Peter, 'Who do you say I am?' in Mark 8:29. Peter received the revelation that Jesus was indeed the Son of God and therefore could answer, 'You are the Christ.' Truth bore witness. The Spirit of Jesus lives in those that are HIS. Bought and paid for, sealed with the Holy Spirit. JESUS is not confused about what is truly from His Spirit. Jesus in us will testify to what is truth and what is error. Test all things according to God's word, but also by His Spirit. John 14:17 reminds us that the world cannot receive the Spirit of Truth because they do not know Him; BUT, we have Holy Spirit as a witness and His presence WILL WITNESS as to whether something is from God, or not. These three things agree: 6This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7For there are three that testify: 8the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement." 1 John 5:6-8

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