What Are You Hearing?
With so many opinions, ideas, and perspectives in the world today, it is critical that Christians know the truth of God’s Word and allow it to be the final authority in their lives. This means finding out what the Word has to say for ourselves through our personal study time, along with asking the Holy Spirit to illuminate the Scriptures to us. It also means making sure we are receiving sound, Bible-based teaching that does not add or take away from the Scriptures. In these last days, deception about the Word is abounding; and there are individuals in ministry who are preaching and teaching, but what they are sharing with their congregations does not line up with the Word of God.
Receiving proper teaching from the Bible from someone who is a seasoned, proven, man or woman of God with the character to back up their calling, is essential to staying on the right path as a Christian. Otherwise, you run the risk of being led in a direction that contradicts the Word of God. This is especially true since we are living in a time when emotionalism and intellectualism are on the rise.
The Word talks about being aware of and protecting ourselves from deceptive ideas, teachings, and beliefs that contradict the pure, unadulterated Word of God. Colossians 2:8 in the Amplified Bible says this:
See to it that no one carries you off as spoil or makes you yourselves captive by his so-called philosophy and intellectualism and vain deceit (idle fancies and plain nonsense), following human tradition (men’s ideas of the material rather than the spiritual world), just crude notions following the rudimentary and elemental teachings of the universe and disregarding [the teachings of] Christ (the Messiah).
There are a lot of people who are coming up with their own interpretations and ideas about what the Bible means and says, and it is incorrect. However, if you are not a student of the Word for yourself, you will not know whether the teaching you receive is accurate or not. Having the Holy Spirit as our Teacher makes it much easier for us to recognize erroneous teaching because He will always reveal to us when something does not line up with the Scriptures or does not reflect the heart of God on the matter.
One of the main tactics the enemy uses to set people up to receive wrong teaching is offense—particularly as it relates to pastors and their congregations. Satan will constantly try to get people to be offended with their spiritual leaders. Usually, the offense is directed toward a pastor or other leader who said or did something a church member did not agree with or understand. When offense and strife enter the picture, they open the door to confusion and every evil work. If allowed to take root in a person’s heart, offense will lead him away from the truth of God’s Word and into error. The enemy will make sure an offended person finds his way to someone who will tell him what he wants to hear, even if it does not line up with the Word. This is a dangerous position to be in.
As Believers, we must make sure we remain in a position of submission to the Word of God at all times. But we must also be students of the Word, so we know what the Bible says. This is the first line of defense against erroneous teachings. We must also have an active, working relationship with the Holy Spirit, so He can speak to us about the Scriptures and reveal the true meaning of what God is saying through His Word.
The times in which we are living are perilous, and deception abounds. Each person will have to choose who and what he or she is going to listen and give attention to. We must guard against strife, offense, and other negative emotions that allow the enemy to take us captive. Instead, we should focus on walking in the love of God and maintaining an attitude of humility at all times. When we do, we keep ourselves in a position to hear from God and receive instructions for our lives.
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