June 20, 2013:
Stand watch, fiercely guarding your associations. Just because you see a relic of God hanging as decoration, God in the heart is not a given. Verify, verify, verify.
"For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect." ~ Matthew 24:24
"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves." ~ Matthew 7:15
False. We know what that is. We're all smart. Now, let's walk wisely.
False friends, getting somewhere on someone else's back, and the Relevant Church stand on shifting sand; opportunistic, with waxy fruit, consumed with self, with greased hands and cunning smiles. Have you been for sale? Has someone sold you a false hope? As long as they keep giving you money and/or favor you'll be their friend, right? When they stop, will you rationalize that you never liked them that much anyway? How about vice versa? You continue to give someone money and/or favor and they love you - in theory. Now that times are tight or you've felt the leading to give of you elsewhere, you're suddenly let go and demoted as friend and loyal subject. The calls to fellowship or "plug in" are fewer and fewer. You're relegated to the footnotes, if that. Hmmm.
And as I type this, I see in the spirit people who absolutely know better, walking ahead of those loyal followers, with their arms spread wide blocking the way ahead. "God through me, and then you can see Jesus...", they coo. "If you do this, and prove you agree with me, then I'll let you know if you're worthy and ready to be a mouthpiece's assistant..." They slather your ears with a good talk. They build hope like a deck of cards building a house on a rocking boat. But what they do is not bring a sweet aroma of balm. They bring a death of being embalmed.
Or, is the problem within? Have you been peddling yourself, using God in the process? You have worked very hard leveraging your ideas, ministry time, and maybe even worship. You've gone the way of fearing the failure or wait, in lieu of a quick output, with or without genuine staying ability. How much more do you want to put yourself through, with the hope that someday, someone will actually see you as who you were created to be, and launch you out? Are you tired of the upkeep of that whole package deal of yourself? Time to get real. Time to get honest. Ask yourself something: Has it been worth it? How old are you now... are you wanting this for the next x-number of years?
If you don't even know the clear answer to those questions, here's a start: Empty your schedule, carve out time to get quiet, and ask for revelation. Ask for God to unveil your eyes to see the wolves, or see a mirror. Go a step further, and ask for not a bitter or guilty heart, but one of compassion, forgiveness, forgivability - but also wisdom. If you've been used and abused, remember that God did not create us to be doormats. That means you're not one, nor is anyone else you've walked over. If you've been tied to an unhealthy relationship, you can move on without having to remain mired to the wrong tent peg. Get out from the shadow of the false preachers, false friends, and false prophets. Time is short, and if any of this resounds in you, you probably already know that a change is necessary.
So... you feel the stirring, you prayed it through, now ask for the boldness to move to the next step. Cutting ties will likely be painful and require deep prayer as to how to walk away not by flesh, but with integrity. It will be a hard decision to make. You may really struggle with this, as it may effect your own popularity within your circles, perhaps even your profession. But who is important? Man? Or God? Sometimes people are very much like any other addiction. It takes time to get sober and stay sober. Being addicted to the wrong people and getting free is a beautiful thing, but God never said it would be easy. He said He'd be there with you to make it through the mountain. He said it's doable. Completely.
"Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you." ~ Deuteronomy 31:8