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All that glitters is not gold
- Jacob Ninan
This saying is not just about gold and its counterfeits, but it warns us that we can't just believe something just because it appears to be good or true. Let's think especially about Christian teaching. Aren't there many people nowadays who bring out so-called words from God whom God hasn't sent (Je.14:15)? People seem to want to feel important by passing on words and being respected as 'prophets'! But we should know how to discern everything self-appointed prophets tell us because it would be dangerous for us to swallow man-made (as well as demonic) ideas (1Th.5:20,21). Jesus has warned us that people may even speak or do supernatural things in His name and yet He neither knew them nor sent them (Mt.7:22,23). The benchmark or the standard that God has given us is the Bible so that we can test with it everything we see or hear.
It is sad to see that many new teachings are coming out in the Christian world which appear to be attractive and good, till we test them against the truths revealed in the Bible. Then many of them fail the test by proving to be contrary to direct Biblical teaching or subtly different from the general tenor of the Bible. Even well-known Bible teachers go astray on different points, and it is in the interest of our safety and the people we influence to be able to remove the chaff from the wheat. Is it any guarantee that just because someone has a name for a godly life or a gift of teaching that he can't make a mistake here or there? Isn't it possible for any of us to go wrong when a deceiving spirit slips an idea into our mind even as we are meditating on the truths of the word of God (1Ti.4:1)? This can happen. We must remember that every thought we have is not our own, and check if we are being deceived.
Some people claim to hear directly from God messages to pass on. One very famous example for this is the book 'God calling' by 'Two listeners' which is being sold from Christian book shops. This was written by a process called automatic writing where the writer sits with paper and pencil, lets the mind go blank and waits for God to speak. The 'Two listeners' were following this method taught by A. J. Russell in a book called 'For sinners only'. If we let our mind go blank, it could open a way for deceitful spirits to access our minds and put ideas there. 'God calling' has parts in the book which don't agree with the Bible, even though it has the appearance of having come from God. When mediums pass on messages from dead people we are quick to understand the error, but when people claim to speak messages from God we get fooled. We must not forget that one of the ways of Satan is to come pretending to be from God, as an angel of light (2Co.11:14) and then deceive us.
If we want to hear from God why don't we simply turn to the Bible instead of looking for short cuts or exciting means? If we look for special knowledge / revelation or thrilling experiences it may take us away from God.