I put my hands behind my head and looked at Ross… my feet in his lap, my back up against the end of the couch.
“What’s the deal with causes?”
I ponder the last 29 years as a Christian, and see a pattern that I’ve been sucked into some causes that I was convinced were legitimate, but proved to be counterfeit.
- The Cult of Sound Doctrine
- Waiting for Mr. Right
In each case, I thought I heard from God that the cause was from God, the truth, and His will.
WOW. That sounds pretty arrogant doesn’t it?
A respectable pastor who we published a book for convinced a group of Vietnam veterans and their wives (me included) that Y2K was going to demolish the world as we knew it, and we needed to consider moving to a remote location to prepare to minister to those who would be homeless and helpless. When all was said and done, the clock turning midnight on January 1, 2000 was a mere blip on the timeline of eternity. There was no ministry opportunity, but many people who profited on two years of fear mongering, selling food supplies and precious metals. COUNTERFIET CAUSE NUMBER 1.
The Cult of Sound Doctrine
The co-director of a well-known Christian writer’s conference convinced me that her “pastor husband” had an edgy manuscript that would convict “wide road Christians” to follow the narrow road that Jesus demanded. When all was said and done, this “pastor” was found to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing who was extremely effective at quoting scripture out of context to manipulate, shame and shun believers to obey his “cause for righteousness” (really legalism) and give up everything for it. His followers became “burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1) and he profited personally from the misguided generosity of those seeking to please God. COUNTERFEIT CAUSE NUMBER 2.
Waiting for Mr. Right
My good friend had a ministry of helping adult men who were survivors of childhood sexual abuse. He also taught Christians how to grieve well after the loss of a loved one. I was smitten by the opportunity to be part of a ministry that would help so many broken people. But, no matter how much I tried to convince myself that this was God’s will for me, it became obvious that I was sincere, but sincerely wrong. The cause I believed in to be His will for my life was proven to be false. COUNTERFEIT CAUSE NUMBER 3.
“So what is it that causes people like me to be so easily persuaded to jump on a bandwagon that promotes a cause, or an agenda?” I asked my husband in bewilderment.
“Some of it has to do with personality. Some are leaders, some followers, some joiners, some not so much.”
That made me realize again how important it is to understand scripture in context and not allow even the most credible people to quote them out of context to get you on board with their cause. If I’d remembered scriptures like the following for each situation, I’d have followed a very different path, I believe:
Had I buried these scripture in my heart and known the Father’s heart on them, I wouldn’t have been taken in by the pastor’s cause of stockpiling food supplies and fearing the future.
Hebrews 13:5 Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
Philippians 4:11b-13 I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Romans 5:3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.
The Cult of Sound Doctrine
If I’d looked above and below the narrow gate scripture, I’d have seen two scriptures that would have stopped me dead in my tracks. The wolf in sheep’s clothing never allowed anyone to treat him the way they were treated. He was too arrogant to allow anyone to question him or ask for clarification on the context of a scripture. And the fruit of his life was bad…way bad…destructive, hateful, judgmental, condemning, abusive, and void of God’s grace and mercy, yet he had portrayed God the Father, Jesus and Paul as ones who expected obedience above all, and justified separating families, cutting off friends, and all sorts of abuse by calling it “discipline”… of course, what father wouldn’t discipline the children he loved?
WOW…amazing that the scripture warning us to beware of false prophets and those whose fruit was rotten followed the very scripture the wolf used to reel us in.
Matthew 7:12-20 “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets. “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.
Waiting for Mr. Right
I was just so sure that God had “made it perfectly clear.” First of all, that’s just a bit prideful! And at the same time, what about all the scriptures that talk about faith and how we must step out in faith even if we can’t see the road ahead? And how about all those scriptures of Abel and Enoch and Noah and Abraham and how they moved forward IN FAITH? And what about those scriptures about how His thoughts are not ours, and His ways are not our ways?
Hebrews 11: 1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
Isaiah 55:8-9 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
Hmmmmm….so here we are. Back to the realization that knowing the Word of God, in context, is so vital to our walk with Him.
It will protect us from being drawn into counterfeit causes.
It will guard us from faulty discernment.
It will enable us to walk in faith rather than presumption.