"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners;
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn...
...I will rejoice greatly in the Lord,
My soul will exult in my God;
For He has clothed me with garments of salvation,
He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
And as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up,
So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
To spring up before all the nations.
*I grew up in a fundamental, conservative denomination. God's truth was rightly proclaimed. As a child I believed the true stories of the Bible, and as I grew up going through the two years of confirmation classes, I memorized all the basic Doctrine and Bible Verses. (I also memorized in school, learning it all only for the tests, which I do not recommend.)
When I met my Beloved he was a fairly new Christian. The beautiful exuberance in his life for Christ encouraged me to really know what I believed with my own faith in Jesus. One thing I learned has been our freedom in Christ.
"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."
In my walk with Christ I learned something else. It is not a wonderful thing like our freedom in Christ, it is actually kind of the ugly opposite: these are the man-made lists and rules which some people believe to be helping them in their faith, but in reality, it only imprisons them with a yoke of slavery and destroys others.
The big question is "In what do they have faith?"
Many people can claim Jesus' name, but they live by their own "lists" of what they believe is the right "christian" way to live. They use the Bible, but they twist God's precious Word to suit their own purposes. They unknowingly, or knowingly, live in legalisms, lies, control, and manipulations. As they live in this slavery they will eventually destroy their own lives, but in their wake, they also can devastate so many other innocent persons.
"For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another."
In general, everyone tends to believe they are strong and safe against falsehoods. People seem to think they could never follow after a lie because they know the truth.
Christians, especially, can think they are so safe from the "wolves" (destroyers of the sheep/Christians). We forget that the wolves can wear sheep's clothing! Wolves are perniciously dangerous!!
Sadly, many, many times Christians will easily follow after what they believe sounds good because it sounds "christian" ,
"they" (the deceivers) seem so nice,
"they" (the deceivers) seem so old fashioned,
"they" (the deceivers) "follow" the Bible (the deceivers own interpretations of it, that is).
We are fragile as human beings. Fragile in body and in soul. We can be EASILY deceived by things which are almost true, we are fooled by pernicious lies, and even out right lies. Sometimes we hear what we want to hear, we see what we want to see even if what we see and hear is "taking us into the woods" where the pernicious wolves are!
We are not stupid. Some of the most intelligent people are lulled into believing half truths and out right lies. Their minds may question the lies and half truths, but eventually they choose to believe the lies and the liars for many reasons (as has been stated above).
"You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?
This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you.
A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. I have confidence in you in the Lord that you will adopt no other view; but the one who is disturbing you will bear his judgment, whoever he is.
But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished. I wish that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves.
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Sometimes I wonder if these people who follow after half truths and lies are truly believing in the Jesus of the Bible because they choose to follow such apostasies.
"It is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God."
1 Peter 2:15-16
At the same time I truly understand how easily we humans can be tricked, duped, brainwashed.
"Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
I have spoken of the "wolves in sheep's clothing". It is a truth, it does and is happening, and if we look around there are many wolves out in our culture telling lies for their own reasons.
The wolves know how to begin. They make statements to "whittle" into people's minds, to give them doubts to real truths. In some people the doubts begin to make "roots" in them. More lies and half truths are spewed by the wolves and the brainwashing really begins to take hold. These people are now caught in the trap set by the wolves, acting and doing what the leaders say to act and do. These people are now not free in Christ at all, but slaves to the wolves!
We are fearfully and wonderfully made, but we are fallible. There are chancers and cheats out and about, they are the wolves in sheep's clothing! They are telling lies and half truths to get for themselves followers and gain more and more power.
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.
Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”
When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.
What is your faith in?
Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc