Part One of this post can be found here.
You’ll notice in Part One that I called some of the books I received ‘purportedly’ Christian. Many were absolutely Christian, drawing from Scripture to impart strength and encouragement. Yet there were others that at first glance were going to convey a biblical message but seldom did. It’s in this manner that I believe Satan will sway the elect from God’s kingdom … at least one of his tools.
Those books spoke of Jesus and healing but only dappled in scripture. I use a small ‘s’ because the authors had so watered-down or poorly interpreted the true Word of God that it was almost unrecognizable. There was only one of those books that I actually appreciated – not because of what it stated – but because the author, a Reverend Capps, used disclaimers throughout his work. He fully informed the reader that he was rephrasing and summarizing Scripture and that if the reader wanted to know the true Word, they should look up the listed references. Hey, at least he was honest and didn’t try to make a pseudo-Christian book look legit.
There have only been a few books that I’ve come across in my life that were worse. If you’ve read me for a while, you’ve grown accustomed with my gift of Discernment. Over the years, it has only gotten stronger and when I begin to read a book or hear a message that isn’t authentic or that might be from an adversarial spirit my spiritual gifting kicks into high gear. I’ll either turn off the message, get away from the person, or close the book and throw it away and we’ll end this series by talking about ways to increase your ability to discern.
But the book that led me to write these posts is an especially good example of our adversary using a pseudo-Christian platform to sway followers. I was thinking about this devotional along with the other books I’d received that were either watered down Christianity or maybe not Christian at all.
Why is it that we (Christians) turn to the nonessential reading material to soothe our worries, fears, and anxieties and don’t just open and read the Bible? Honestly, isn’t that why God gave it to us?
When the Samaritan Women at Jacob’s Well doesn’t quite understand Jesus’ offer …
Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again – ever!” (John 4:13-14a)
she asked Him to give her the water He speaks of so she won’t have to keep coming to the well to draw water; she’s looking for Jesus to make her life easier, more convenient. (John 4:15)
She didn’t initially realize that He, His Spirit, and His Word is His life-giving water.
Like this woman, we want the convenience. When I was walking away from God I conveniently made up my own religion – for convenience. It suited me perfectly. I still carted my Bible around but was no longer “in it.” But through the years I’ve met people who choose to read a devotional instead of the Bible and others who don’t read the Bible or any Christian literature at all. Every decision is an act to give ourselves a convenience.
The fact is – we don’t need devotionals. We don’t need anything other than Jesus – His Spirit and His Word. I’ll never forget the story of the man who planted over 500 churches in India. A pastor from the States went to find out what kind of teaching material the man was using to grow and sustain these Christians. The man was confused by the question. “What material?” He asked. “We read the Bible and do what it says.”
How many of us read devotionals alongside the Bible? I do and am willing to bet that most of you do too. Please know that in no way am I damning devotional material. Devotionals make me think in different ways about the Scriptures (and some of my favorites are in the picture above). The Holy Spirit may use them to convict me of a sin, or Jesus might use them to get me to read the referenced scripture so He can go in deep and really teach me something. That’s actually one of my favorite uses of devotionals – to open up my heart and head to learn something new from my Savior.
Next up: I’ll discuss the devotional that may be on everyone’s bookshelf, but because of my background in New Age philosophies, shakes me to my spiritual core.
See you then.