There is a religious spirit that can overtake people as they begin to study the Bible and formulate their own personal biases and dogmatic preferences towards matters of prophecy, timelines, etc. What we must learn to do is watch out for people that read scripture with a fascination for the mysticism, the prophetic, and the mystery aspects of Scripture instead of the more basic tenets of loving they neighbor. In the church you will find people often-times come with agendas of understanding they obsessively push, and it is this fascination that gives them away as the dreaded power-seeker, as opposed to the more humble truth-seeker.
The truth-seeker probes everything for truth, loves freedom, has a high moral code, lives modestly, and lives by immutable principles. They are constantly evaluating their thinking and then reforming their behavior around what reveals itself as objective truth.
The power-seeker on the other-hand is always learning for the purpose of self-empowerment, and self-aggrandizement. They modify their behavior, associations and motivations around things and ideas that can give them their desires and ambitions. They love the power and prestige of large institutions, being associated with large institutions brings them notoriety, power and money.
Determining whether people are a power-seeker or a truth-seeker is very difficult to do. It often comes with time and analyzing a Christians behavior, watching to see if it is consistent with the morals and principles they often espouse to with their lips. If they are after truth then their behavior can be readily predicted because they align themselves with principles and as a result exhibit consistency and integrity of action. While the power-seeker will disregard objective truth and mold their thinking and guiding motivations around ideologies that promote rationalizations for their own personal ambitions. The truth-seeker is the equivalent of moral bedrock, the power-seeker is morally akin to shifting sands depending on their motivations and ambitions.
It is good to know how to identify a power-seeker when contracting in the business world, participating in social endeavors, and most especially taking spiritual advice. The spirit of the power-seeker is best represented by the Pharisees, while the Truth-Seekers can be best represented by the disciples of Christ. It was the disciples who forsook all to hear Jesus speak the words of Truth. A Truth that went contrary to the wisdom of the day. In the same way we should be like the disciples questioning the traditions and dogmas given to us by the church institutions.
Spiritual Power-Seekers in the Church
People that are of the power-seeking bent gravitate towards anything having to do with prophecy, occultism, and shows of spiritual power when reading their Bible. They themselves love the mystique the characters in scripture poses as being prophets, kings, and apostles wishing to mimic it themselves. They always over emphasis the miracles, the signs, and anything having to do with the eschatology of Jesus’ second coming. They do so because they believe the more they know about these things, and the better they can explain them to others is a direct result of God’s “special anointing” on their lives. They read the Bible because in essence it gives them words and a framework of ideas that are imbued with power. Their understanding of the Bible makes them feel important and spiritual in a self-righteous way as they go about associating with people in churches. The better command they have over the lingo and the spiritual colloquialisms found in any church body the more naive churchgoers tend to think of them as spiritual giants, who can speak God’s truth into their lives. What people don’t know is this obsession with prophecy is a result of Christianity being Judiazed here in the states. This obsession if left unchecked is what turns people into manipulative spiritual tyrants who think they can dictate their understanding into other peoples lives.
The Apostle Paul said,
For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 1 Corinthians 1:22
Obsessing over prophecy, Israel, and the end-times is a direct correlation with how Judized you or your church has become. Trying to determine God’s time-table or manifesting spiritual signs as proof of your anointing by God is actually frowned upon in scripture. Paul said the Jews require a sign, because that is their bent of character, they want to see miraculous signs, they love shows of power and authority to the point of obsession. They only believe something if it is accompanied by miraculous signs, without overt spiritual ritual and grandstanding then it is ignored.
Jesus on the other-hand, when the Pharisees asked him to show them a sign of his power he rebuked them and said they were wicked for even asking,
But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: Matthew 12:39
Jesus demonstrated that the only sign they will be given is His fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecy pointing to his death, burial and resurrection. Anybody trying to tell you anything concerning the Bible, spirituality, and doctrine that doesn’t end in the glorification of Jesus and His resurrection is of a false religious spirit.
So when people gush about their pet end-times theory, or talk about their own personal experiences, and speculate on the nature of all the outwardly signs and spiritual gifting always check to see if they give honor to themselves or if they are honoring Christ with their words. Often times when you hear these things coming from other believers it is because they are infatuated with the mysticism and authority of scripture that can empower themselves rather than the truth of scripture that humbles and convicts.
Be a Truth-Seeker
The Truth-seeker on the other-hand, is awed at the wisdom found in scripture, it humbles them to the point of tears. They approach scripture as something sacred. They recognize that there is nothing they personally can take credit for. All of scripture is given to us by God and when we instruct others, we instruct them in the solid principles of scripture. We don’t guide and instruct people to manipulate them to our own personal biases, instead we allow scripture to reprove ourselves and those being instructed. We seek to understand the entire context of passages, including the historical nuisances that often cloud our thinking and interpretation surrounding texts. We understand that all prophecy is spoken to reveal who Christ is, and we must yield our desires to speculate and fabricate controversial doctrines. The crux of Jesus’ teaching revolves around love and the sacrifice we ought to be for our community, church, family and friends. To emphasis other aspects of scripture is almost always at the expense of our duty to magnify Christ. Truth-seekers are almost always directed by principles, and the standard of what is right, what is true, what is moral is measured against the veracity of scripture, which when applied begins to shape our lives in the image of Christ.
The life of Christ and his testimony fulfilled all of the Law and the Prophets, as a result we have been ushered into the Church Age or the Age of Reason. We now have to give an reasonable account as to why we have faith, and chose to live according to the tenets of the Bible.
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 1 Peter 3:15
How different our churches would be if the emphasis was placed on apologetics, and principles involving right living. Instead the Christian TV shows, the radio shows, the news shows and pulpits are filled with mindless-prognosticating and Jewish cult like obsession of signs of the times and prophetic speculation. Even Hollywood is obsessed with the supernatural, and is proof positive that this infatuation with supernatural-power is a Jewish curse on our society.
A interesting study in winter of 2015 conducted by George Barna of the Barna Group showed that people want more principles and truth, and not all of the prophecy and speculation that has come to dominate our churches today. According to Barna here is the list of what men and woman would like to hear at church.
“Top 12 Issues the Church Wants to Hear:
1. Abortion: Beginning of life, right to life, contraception, adoption, unwed mothers. 91%
2. Religious persecution/liberty: Personal duty, government duty, church response, global conditions. 86%
3. Poverty: Personal duty, government role, church role, homelessness, hunger, dependency. 85%
4. Cultural restoration: Appropriate morals, law and order, defensible values and norms, self-government. 83%
5. Sexual identity: Same-sex marriage, transgenderism, marriage, LGBT. 82%
6. Israel: Its role in the world, Christian responsibility to Israel, US foreign policy toward Israel and its enemies. 80%
7. Christian Heritage: role of Christian faith in American history, church role in US development, moder-day relevance. 79%
8. Role of Government: Biblical view, church-state relationship, personal responsibility, limitations. 76%
9. Bioethics: Cloning, euthanasia, genetic engineering, cryogenics, organ donation, surrogacy. 76%
10. Self-governance: Biblical support, personal conduct, impact on freedom, national sovereignty. 75%
11. Church in politics/government: Separation of church and state, legal boundaries, church resistance to government. 73%
12. Islam: Core beliefs, response to Islamic aggression, threat to US peace and domestic stability. 72% David Barton went on to present several Action Steps that church-goers can do right now, to help get their churches off the sidelines and their pastors preaching about these important issues.” (CultureofFaith.com)
When you read this list you realize that people are thirsting for real truth concerning right living, and what our roles in our families, church, and even politics ought to be according to the Bible.
This is what is lacking at the pulpit, we have nothing but fluff, either it is speculative prophecy teachings that gets regurgitated Sunday after Sunday, or it is simply devoid of any practical application towards the issues we face in today’s world. Either way, it does little to accomplish a good work in society and the hearts of men.
Ultimately only God knows whether we are reading the bible because we are attempting to use it to gain power over our fellow man, or if we are looking to allow Christ to convict us through the scripture we read desiring a deeper understanding of His truths in our life. Understanding how God looks at our heart is of crucial importance, if all we do is show-off with our spiritual knowledge and play Christian guru we are doing little to represent the teachings of Christ. In fact those that have this bent of character would find themselves at odds with Jesus in the same way he was at odds with the egotistical and pompous Pharisees. Instead we must come before scripture with a contrite and humble heart, knowing we are sinners saved by grace.
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Romans 15: 4
Article reposted with permission from Wake the Church.