I knew something was wrong. She wasn’t talking to me as much as she used to. She seemed distant and slower to respond to my emails. I know moving to a new city is hard and maybe that had something to do with it. But things just weren’t sitting right. She suddenly had several new friends…I mean A LOT. And that’s all fine and dandy, but I didn’t like the feeling of being tossed aside while her attention was directed to all of these other people. I wasn’t jealous. I was concerned. Very concerned. It didn’t take long for me to figure out what was really going on. She had been duped. She had fallen for a cult-like false teacher. And she refused to listen to reason. It was too late. But it’s not too late for you. Here are 7 Ways to Make Sure You Aren’t Fooled by a False Teacher.
Cults are sly and deceptive. They prey on the weak and hurting…the lonely. Those of us who desperately need some but hope…but hope seems lost. Our focus is no longer where it should be. It changes to our problems and pain. Cults do this because when we are off-guard, we are easy pickings. We are hungry for what they offer – hope. A false hope, but hope all the same.
This is where my friend found herself. Lonely. A rocky marriage. Friendless. Easy target. Easily duped. They got her hook, line, and sinker. And she had no clue. They were so good at what they were doing. I believe she lost sight of these 7 fundamental truths found in Colossians 2:6-10.
1. He is Lord
The first thing we must do in order to prevent being swindled by cults is that we must receive Christ as Lord. We do this by faith & by grace. We have an unshakeable confidence in Christ.
There is a huge difference between believing Jesus existed and having Him as Lord of your life. One is lukewarm and the other is not. If you need more teaching and help in receiving Christ, believing He is Lord and learning how to have Him as Lord of your life, then my Bible study will be a perfect fit for you. Check it out here.
When Jesus is Lord of our lives, we will not be fooled by a cult.
2. Walk in the Spirit
If you are a disciple of Christ, this means you have His Holy Spirit within you. It’s that simple. There isn’t a special ritual you need to do or display a special sign of having the Spirit. If Jesus is your Lord, you have His Spirit. To walk in the Spirit means to trust the Holy Spirit to guide us in all things. We know we are walking in the Spirit when we display the fruits of the Spirit.
God’s Spirit will never lead us into false teachings. Never.
When we walk in the Spirit, we will not be fooled by false teachings.
3. Be Rooted in Jesus
Do you know how deep down the roots of old trees go? More than 20 feet down. 20 FEET!!! This can happen in the perfect environment…good soil, plenty of water, and oxygen…and limited obstructions and erosion. Hmm…sounds like what we need for our faith. We need good soil…a firm foundation. This is God’s word. We need water – the Living Water. And we need oxygen – we need to breathe Him in.
When we obey Him, we are rooting ourselves in Him. If we know Him, know His voice, we are rooted in Him. When we run to Him in the face of sin, we are rooted. We root ourselves when we come crying to Him during difficult times. And we root ourselves when we rejoice with Him.
When we are rooted in Him, we won’t be threatened by a cult.
4. Be Built Up
Keep growing in your faith. Don’t let it become stagnant. Make sure you are bearing fruit. Fulfill God’s call on your life. Do your part.
4. Be Established
Mature your faith. Give up the milk (1 Cor 3:2). Start digging into the solid food. Study God’s word. Go beyond the basics of Christianity and learn the deep, mysterious things of the Lord. Don’t be a spiritual junk food junkie. The blessings are in the satisfying, solid spiritual meal of God’s word.
When we are established in Jesus, we will not be fooled by a cult.
5. Be Teachable
Surround yourself with Godly people. Mature Christians. And when they tell you something isn’t quite right about your new set of friends and your
new religion cult, LISTEN. Heed their wisdom! Don’t wave them off thinking that your new cult friends know better.
Pride was a HUGE hindrance in my friend’s ability to be teachable. This pride came from the cult she was involved in. Proverbs 13:10 says “By pride comes nothing but strife, But with the well-advised is wisdom.”
When we are teachable, we won’t be hoodwinked by lies.
6. Abound in Faith
Have a faith that is in abundance – and overflow of faith. Stand firm in your faith. God desires for us to have this kind of faith, so He won’t hold back when we ask for it. But we will have to ‘work’ for it. We will have to do those hard things that build our faith. We will have to take risks. Dream big. Commit to His call on our lives. We will have to live in obedience to Him.
When abound in faith, we will avoid falling into deceptive ways.
7. Be Thankful
Offer thanksgiving. Cultivate a heart of gratitude. Stop complaining. Complaining will hinder our faith. We fail to trust God.
When we are thankful, we will not be conned by a cult.
Don’t Fall Prey
After these directives from Paul, he offers a warning for us. Do not fall prey to the empty philosophy of selfishness like success & pleasure. False teachers will lead you astray, they prey upon the vulnerable and rob those too busy with their mess to notice any faith they had has been stolen away. Don’t be fooled by philosophy, even if it sounds good.
When we follow these 7 directives, then we will be complete in Him. And when we are complete, or satisfied, in Him, we will not be looking here and there for false hope. I think my friend forgot these instructions. She wasn’t complete in Him and found something that promised to complete her. But it didn’t. It led to more brokenness. More pain. More hopelessness.
There seems to be a lot of fear-mongering out there from other Christians saying that this Bible teacher is a false teacher and so is that one. It can be difficult to know how to trust your choice in whom to listen to. Instead of listening to the faulty opinions of other, look right to God’s word to determine if someone is a false teacher or not. Trust God’s word and not a fallible human being. If you are following Paul’s directives set out in Colossians, rest in the fact that you are walking in the Spirit and that He will lead you.