The last while I've been peppered by circumstances that cause me to reflect on the damage done by the many professed spiritual leaders pretending they have something worth listening to.
It's amazing to me the kind of barriers exist in the minds and hearts of those who have been trained on bitter water. They have vastly impeded systems of determining the value of the real thing when it is plainly offered to them. They expect the real wine to come in their counterfeit bottles, and when it doesn't they expect the wine to be poured into the skins they hold up when they come around. It really doesn't work that way.
I plan to help by giving you a good description of how to evaluate the value of what is offered in books later.
A quick list of the expectations would include:
- Sharing "your witness." This cracks me up because the word "witness" in the scriptures means a lot more than someone who tells a story. The use as such is a dead giveaway that the person using it (and the person all-too-glad to respond by standing in the limelight) have no idea what they are talking about.
- Sharing your experiences. How exactly does this help anyone change to become more like God? One's experiences are neither a litmus test of their authenticity nor give you a roadmap of changes you can make to become more like God.
- That you can bypass any amount of material painstakingly given and just ask a question directly to the person producing them. It's a completely reasonable expectation if the person you are talking to is some typical churchy person writing books that contain nothing beyond their own opinion on all the same resources you already have.
I don't know which of the recent cache of videos I said it in, but I talked about the problem of treating people/things/situations differently to how they actually are. There are a lot of people with their wires crossed. If someone doesn't have anything new to offer, they probably aren't worth asking questions to, anyway. But if they have something to offer you, you should probably start by reading their books and watching their videos. You should probably be more concerned with how you are going to change to be more like Jesus than you are hearing some "experience" they've had.
There are many people willing to share their often fake and sometimes Satanic "experiences," but very few who can tell you something that will elucidate the next step in the changes you need to make to who you are in order to become more like Jesus. Get off the hamster wheel of dead religion, and make your goal to learn more about how Jesus is, specifically in terms of how you can change to be more like he is. Of course, that's not nearly as much fun as grabbing a box of tissues or a bowl of popcorn and hearing someone talk about what Jesus was wearing when he came to them in a dream.
I'm not downplaying real experiences with the Lord, many of which I have had, some of which I've shared, and all of which I value exceedingly. I'm saying if you keep your motive focused on becoming more like God through changing what you do, think, and want, you will have a powerful tool in detecting frauds, because they never, ever offer you anything that will actually help you repent--only things that will distract you from doing so; things that make you feel better without ever actually becoming better.
From the beginning, Satan has proposed some other way. But there is no other way than what God has become, and which he invites us to become. All gospel value is found in how God actually is, why we should become that same way, and how it is we actually do so. Everything else is noise at best, and usually a lot worse than that.
If you had a clue about the actual gospel, you would not ask a prospective messenger of God to share some story about their experience with Jesus. Instead, you would ask "what should I change to become more like God?"
To the person with two coats, a true messenger would say "let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise." (Luke 3:11)
To the tax collector, he would say, "Exact no more than that which is appointed you." (Luke 3:12)
To the soldiers, he would say, "Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages." (Luke 3:13)
In other words, he would specifically apply the general instruction to do the absolute best you know, all the time, so that you can be ready and prepared for God to reveal to you something more about how he is.
He would "witness" of God by helping you see how to live more like him beyond what you saw before, or to have more faith than you previously did so you will do what you already know about him.
If he were to share any experiences, it would be for this purpose and to this end.
The Jews rejected Jesus because his teachings did not fit their expectation. But this generation would not even accept John the Baptist, which the Jews did. He came roughly criticizing them for the way they lived, and yet they went to him in droves, traveling in great inconvenience to the desert to see him, and largely making the changes that he suggested to them. This generation would not do that--not in any considerable numbers or degree.
Those who rejected Jesus at least had the sense to recognize and value when John came to them with more value than what they had in their synagogues. They did not demand for him to preach in Jerusalem. They did not expect him to fit into their old bottles. They went to see him in the desert. They came to where he was, and asked what they should do to change.