We Must be Watchful (Day 2 Beside Still Waters)
To illustrate what I am saying let’s look again at the purple loosestrife. It is an invasive wetland perennial plant from Europe and Asia, arriving in North America as early as The 1800s by settlers for their gardens, because of its beautiful purple flower, which can produce thousands of seeds per plant. Later it was highly prized by beekeepers for the flavor produced in honey. Over the years it has spread throughout the United States and Canada causing a serious problem for our wetlands, because of its large dense growth areas it not only chokes out all other wetland plants, it also makes it impossible for many animal species which feed, nest or take cover in wetland plants to enter these dense growth areas. Now to make my point; the use of this plant started out to be innocent, first of all, it was appealing to the eye, being a perennial it would spread on its own. However, many years must have passed before the invasiveness of the plant was even notices let alone became a serious problem. The same things happen with us, we see or hear something that is appealing, its popularity spreads within the Christian community, even those we look up to in leadership support it, but just like the purple loosestrife it’s invasiveness goes unchecked until it’s too late.
How does this happen, because we forgot our role as a watchman, and followed the crowd; Paul tells the church, remember the church is made up of individuals like you and me, in 1Corinthians 16:13 to be watchful. Luke also warned the church to be watching out for spiritual dangers calling them “savage wolves,” deceivers who want to take advantage of God “flock” in Acts 20:29-31. In 1Peter 5:8 Peter warns us to be sober and vigilant because of the powerful behind-the-scenes role of Satan seeking to destroy the church.
Churches are full of Christians who just take the word of their leadership as truth without ever checking the scriptures for themselves. Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying, God has put people in our lives to guide us and teach us, but he doesn’t expect it to end there. His word tells us in 2 Timothy 2:15 that we are to “Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (AKJ). I ask you, how can you recognize false teaching’s if you don’t have anything to judge it against? Jesus gave the church a warring through the parable of the wheat and the tares growing together in the same field (Matthew 13:24-30), then he told his disciples the meaning by saying; “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. As the weed are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The son of Man will send his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their father. Whoever has ears, let them hear” (Matthew 13:37-43 NIV). This warning was just not meant for biblical times, “the harvest is the end of the age,” it is when he comes back for his church; this means there are still “people of the evil one” in our churches today! Warren Wiersbe writes, “Satan is the counterfeiter . . . He has a false gospel (Galatians 1:6-9), preached by false ministers (2 Corinthians 11:26) . . . Satan plants his counterfeits everywhere God plants true believers (Matthew 13:38).”
God has given us two ways of judging what truth is and what’s false; 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action.), So that the man of God may be complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, AMP). When we understand and accept that the Bible is not the words of mere men but that it ‘IS’ the Word of God, then 2 Timothy 3:16 will become the bases on how we judge truth from what is false. God’s word is your guide to knowing the truth in all situations of life, social; political; personal or in raising your family. It will guide you in all spiritual; financial and even health issues. When I became a Christian I began to study his word, not just read it, and when I had a question I believe the Holy Spirit led me to where I could find my answers; either through reference material or books on the subject. I learned to study, checking out every reference I could find until I was settled in my heart that it lined up with the word of God. Then to further check what I found I would ask those I had come to respect their views. The more I learned the more I wanted to learn, I wanted to ‘KNOW’ the God I served, but most of all it made me feel closer to him. My mentors were very understanding and encouraged me in my studies.