If there is a devil - and there is - and if he seeks to distract and deceive - and he does - where might we expect to find his messengers of darkness? The prophet Jeremiah tells us.
"Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD… I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied" (Jeremiah 23:16; 21).
Since I myself profess the calling, I feel liberty to express the following: when I meet anyone who identifies himself as a preacher, I immediately put up my guard. Moreover, I hope that people do the same with me. Rather than lend instant credibility to those who preach, teach, and write, we should respectfully hope for the best, while wisely acknowledging the possibility of the worst. As an old country preacher one suggested, "Some preachers are sent, and others just went!" Indeed, Satan works to fill pulpits with deceivers, Sunday School classes and Bible studies with distractors, and supposedly Christian books with darkness. Our enemy is often successful, particularly in these days when "evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived" (II Timothy 3:13).
What do we do in light of this possibility regarding professing Christian communicators? The Apostle John guides us - "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try (test) the spirits, whether they are of God, for many false prophets are gone out into the world" (I John 4:1). The life of faith involves both the responsibility to believe, and to "believe not". We must prepare ourselves for the possibility that Parson Brown speaks visions of his own heart, or even worse, of Satan's seductions. On guard! A preacher is speaking. A Sunday School teacher is talking. An ostensibly Christian writer has penned words in the book we are reading (or upon the screen on which you presently gaze). Failure to acknowledge the possibility of darkness propagated from those who should serve as heralds of light means that we are deceived already. May our Lord lead us to His Word and by His Spirit to give utmost respect to the faithful, and withhold all credibility from the purveyors of darkness who are actually sent, but from a wrong and devilish source.
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."
(I Peter 5:8)
Weekly Memory Verse
His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue.
(II Peter 1:3)