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With a pinch of salt
- Jacob Ninan
God says that the last days will be difficult times, especially for Christians (2Ti.3:1 LB). Deceiving spirits will be more active than ever before because Satan knows that his time is short (Re.12:12). False prophets and teachers will increase in number with strange doctrines and practices (Mt.24:11;1Ti.4:1). Jesus said that it would be so bad that even the elected saints could be misled (Mt.24:24). "Be on the alert" is the word for the times.
If Peter who loved Jesus and who was willing to lay his life down for Him could be deceived by Satan to the extent that Satan could use him to try and mislead Jesus (Mt.16:22,23), we cannot rule out the possibility of any preacher of today making mistakes in doctrine or practice. We mustn't just fall for people or blindly accept every new idea that comes up.
Be careful of 'prophets' giving us personal directions, especially of the type that tends to bloat up our ego. In these days when the least in the Kingdom can know the Father directly (He.8:11), we should want to hear the Father tell us directly what He would want us to do. Perhaps He would tell someone else to confirm what He has already told us. He seems to have told Paul and Barnabas about their missionary call before He showed it to the church (Ac.13:2). Don't be scared of prophets. Be bold enough to examine everything with the revealed word of God (1Th.5:20,21).
Don't let anyone make God's forgiveness complicated. If we have repented from our sins and placed our trust in Jesus for forgiveness, we must simply take it that God has forgiven us. Some people insist on trying to remember and confess every single sin down to the childhood days. Others tell us to confess all sins publicly and 'bring them into the light.' Do you imagine God likes to torture or humiliate us rather than cover our sins? (Ps.85:2).
If you ask God for healing in Jesus' name and you are not healed don't let anyone tell you it's because you don't have faith. If you didn't have faith would you have asked Him? And hasn't Jesus said that faith as small as a mustard seed is enough? (Mt.17:20). Ask the Father why He hasn't answered your prayer, and you may learn many things. But don't let anyone bully you.
God has provided mature people to help the younger ones. That doesn't mean that younger ones become dependent on them. Don't fear people who make out that you need them badly. Listen to those about whom you sense that they sincerely want to help you, and don't give in an inch to those who want to control you.
There are many "new" ideas and techniques coming up these days which sound interesting and intriguing. Don't fall flat for them without checking to see if they fit in with the principles of the gospel. Clearer understanding of known truths are welcome, but discoveries of "new" truths and "revelations" may be received with a pinch of salt till they are proved to fall in line with other truths.
If we walk carefully, we can avoid a lot of danger.