Today I was thinking about the concept of “false teachers.” Partially in connection with my wife’s current interactions with a Beth Moore bible study that she is doing and partially in connection with some recent experiences I’ve been having.
It struck me that false teachers don’t actually know that they are false teachers. This makes sense now, but honestly I hadn’t really thought of it this way before. After all, what better way to be wrong than to believe that you are right?
So, how do I (we) “watch yourself, or you also may be tempted” when we are correcting others and ourselves? (Gal. 6:1). This passage also took on new meaning for me recently in the context of listening to false teachers and being tempted to fall in line with what they are teaching. If we ourselves are not living in the spirit… then we are likely to follow the strongest voice in the room, particularly when what they say sounds good, and uses scripture but still leaves us feeling uneasy. The easiest way to move past that unease is to conform (or fall into sin).
Reading through Galations it’s clear that the apostles made mistakes, even after their being filled with the Holy Spirit. They corrected each other. In spite of their spiritual status they still missed the boat sometimes, thats what they had each other for.
So, with this in mind… a teachers should be very careful, once they start developing a martyr complex and believe that they are right and no one else has a clue… they are entering the false teacher zone.
What is one of the simplest ways to determine if someone is in the spirit or not?
Simply look at the fruits of the spirit!
” 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galations 5:22-23
Are these being expressed in the life of the individual you are listening to and following?
Too often we look at this list and convince ourselves that we need to put effort into these things, refining these fruits so that we look more like Jesus and look like we are in the spirit. This is WRONG! We are called to live supernatural lives that go beyond ourselves. If this is the case ten we should be able to say that “I’m not naturally patient” but find ourselves being patient as a result of our allowing the Holy Spirit to live in and through us.
Focus on God’s word and the Spirit’s working in your life and the rest will flow naturally.
So, are these fruits being expressed in you? Are they being expressed in the person you are following? If not, don’t ask them to be more patient or gentle, simply ask them how they are doing allowing the spirit to move and work within them.