“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:6-7)
Yesterday, I watched a 3-minute video of a preacher in Africa who, as he walked around the stage, told his parishioners that he was the, “Gate of the sheep.” As he walked he would say, “My sheep know my voice. My sheep come!” Then members of the congregation left their seats, got down on all fours, and followed the preacher around wherever he walked, following him like sheep. This went on for some time and those on their hands and knees grew until dozens followed him around the stage on all fours.
This is not Christianity. This is slavery.
Why is it that some people are deceived so easily and trapped in an unbiblical situation? Even the apostle Paul was dumbfounded by such things. Paul looked at such deceivers and declared, “There are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.”
What do you believe?
It is easy to fall into spiritual deception. One might think that they are hardend against deception, but be very careful about that attitude. There are many churches that operate under such deceptions, though perhaps not as dignity-damaging as the one I’ve just described. Still, deception is deception. Jesus gave us the tools we need, through the Holy Spirit, to defend against such deception. “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples” (John 8:31).
What does it mean to abide? The Greek word used for abide literally means to live under or cherish. This means that our whole lives and attention should be given over to obeying God’s word. To know it, cherish it like an honored possession, and to obey it. Without this attitude it can be easy to fall into deception, like those poor souls who follow around the false minister on all fours, sacrificing their souls to say nothing of their dignity. Like the Galatians who became trapped in a system of legalism rather than in obedience and faith in Christ.
“The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Take a spiritual inventory of your life. What kinds of passages of scripture attract you so that you want to imitate or obey it? Do other believers or leaders think what you hold to is strange? Listen to their input and examine how you live out what you believe and look for where changes might be needed.