There is an evil that happens to many a young Christian that I have observed. And there is a warning in the New Testament that pertains to it.
The saying is true and irrefutable: If any man [eagerly] seeks the [an] office… He must not be a new convert, or he may [develop a beclouded and stupid state of mind] as the result of pride [be blinded by conceit, and] fall into the condemnation that the devil [once] did. (1Tim 3:1-6, AMP)
When we are born again it is the beginning not only of our walk in the Spirit, but of many trials, temptations and testings. When Jesus came into me in 1970 I was thrilled with having Him as my new Companion and His Spirit opened the Bible to me in a new and exciting way. All things were new… well almost. I soon found out that a whole lot of my old human desires and drives still needed to be put to death. At first I had a zeal for Jesus that caused problems for those around me. I didn’t know that an emotional high is not the same as having an anointing. The emotional gospel I heard was fixed on signs and wonders and things that titillate my old nature and did little to set me on the right course. I soon found out that Jesus accepted me the way I was when He came into me, but He loved me too much to let me continue on under the influence of what Paul called the “old man.”
If so be that you have heard him [Christ], and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That you put off concerning the former way of life the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; (Eph 4:21-23, KJ2000)
So, here is where the plot thickens dear saints. It is at this point that the enemy comes in and tells you that you have a gift, God wants to use it and you will become a great: evangelist, prophet, preacher, Bible teacher, healer, gospel musician… whatever is thrilling to your un-crucified “beclouded and stupid state of mind.” And “as the result of pride we will “[be blinded by conceit, and] fall into the condemnation that the devil did.” [see Ezekiel 16:14-15] Here, my fellow saints, is where the false prophet comes in. Satan will send one of his messengers along to prophesy over you or to give you a “word” that will feed your un-crucified ego. He will come cloaked as a “great man of God” or a “spiritual person” you trust. Peter warned us it would be so.
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2Pet 2:1-3, ESV2011)
Once novices lock-in on one of these “words,” they cannot contemplate any other course in their lives. Their whole focus and energy is put into making this prophesy come true. In the meantime, the Spirit is trying to warn them saying, “THIS is the way of the Lord. WALK YE IN IT! Look neither to the left of the right,” but in their inflated perception of themselves fed by that false prophesy and carnal ministers that want to use them, they can’t hear anything else. In the end if they don’t repent and embrace the cross of Christ they will become just as deluded and evil as the one who spoke the false prophesy over them in the first place… and the beat goes on, satanic reproduction. Jesus spoke of this very thing.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves. (Matt 23:15, ESV2011)
Dear saints, we can become so blinded by our own visions of grandeur that at some point we cease to hear the voice of the Lord no matter who it comes through. In the Old Testament there is a story that demonstrates this quite clearly. It is the story of King Ahab and his demise.
For three years Syria and Israel continued without war. But in the third year Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel. And the king of Israel said to his servants, “Do you know that Ramoth-gilead belongs to us, and we keep quiet and do not take it out of the hand of the king of Syria?” And he said to Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to battle at Ramoth-gilead?” And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “Inquire first for the word of the LORD.”
Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall I go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I refrain?” And they said, “Go up, for the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.” But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not here another prophet of the LORD of whom we may inquire?” And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, Micaiah the son of Imlah, but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but evil.” And Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say so.”
Then the king of Israel summoned an officer and said, “Bring quickly Micaiah the son of Imlah.” Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah were sitting on their thrones, arrayed in their robes, at the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria, and all the prophets were prophesying before them. And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made for himself horns of iron and said, “Thus says the LORD, ‘With these you shall push the Syrians until they are destroyed.’” And all the prophets prophesied so and said, “Go up to Ramoth-gilead and triumph; the LORD will give it into the hand of the king.”
And the messenger who went to summon Micaiah said to him, “Behold, the words of the prophets with one accord are favorable to the king. Let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably. ”But Micaiah said, “As the LORD lives, what the LORD says to me, that I will speak.” And when he had come to the king, the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we refrain?” And he answered him, “Go up and triumph; the LORD will give it into the hand of the king.” But the king said to him, “How many times shall I make you swear that you speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?” And he said, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the LORD said, ‘These have no master; let each return to his home in peace.’” And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?” (1Kgs 22:1-18, ESV2011)
Ahab was so deluded with his own power and position that he could not discern the voice of God through Micaiah from that of the lying spirit and false prophets. The end of it was that he was killed in that battle he picked with the Syrians. in God’s mercy Jehoshaphat and the rest of the people escaped.
Jesus said, “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:27, ESV2011) Yet, how many people rise up in a ministry who have never been purified with the cross in their lives or the cleansing fires of God? I venture to say, far too many. The one mark of a true minister of God is humility and I have seen very little of that from today’s ministry platforms, be it from a pulpit, TV show or a web site. For that matter, I have seen few who walk in God’s rest as they work to build their kingdoms.Jesus also said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matt 11:29, KJ2000). When we try to do the work of God by the power of our own might and intellects, the Spirit leaves and we end up striving to get support money and help to fulfill our “vision.” But when we rest in His Spirit as we do His calling, God provides all our needs without us having to constantly beg for support money from the ones we minister to. When the support ends, it is time to seek Him as to what He wants or where we missed His leading, not shake down those we minister to as if it’s their fault. Paul, one of the greatest ministers of the New Covenant, depended on the Lord for everything. He wrote,
Keep on rejoicing in the Lord at all times. I will say it again: Keep on rejoicing! Let your forbearing spirit be known to all people. The Lord is near: Never worry about anything, but in every situation let your petitions be made known to God in prayers and requests, with thanksgiving. Then God’s peace, which goes far beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your hearts and minds in the Messiah Jesus. (Phil 4:4-7, ISV144)
Dear saints, we are in the last time and the devil is being released to test the whole earth. But even he is being used by God for His purposes. This is not a time to be catering to our flesh or trying to do God’s work by our human resources, but rather it is a time to humble ourselves under our Father’s mighty hand.
But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD. (Mal 3:2-3, ESV2011)