In your walk with Christ sometimes you got be aware of spiritual gray zones. These are areas in which it’s not clear if something is wicked or innocent. It can also be areas where a teaching is not confirmed to be consistent with the Gospel and the character of God. At such an instance its useful to know what a ‘Gray zone’ means.
Meaning of Gray zone: (Noun) An intermediate area between two opposing positions; a situation, subject, etc., not clearly or easily defined, or not covered by an existing category or set of rules. (Oxford Dictionary)
One might wonder that what is so dangerous about spiritual gray zones. Due to highly ambiguous nature of these things its better to give out a few examples. Here we go:
- Mr A, is a Christian guy who wants to do great things for the Lord God. He wants to perform miracles of healing so as to help the sick and dying. Now even after years of going to church, going to Bible studies and having five hours of daily prayer and also, fasting twice a week, he is unable to heal anyone. Suddenly Mr A, gets to know of a secret group that claims to be Christian and say they can teach anyone to heal within 3 days. However their condition is that he donates a very large sum of money to an offshore bank account of theirs and also sign a no refund clause. Further more, they want him to not discuss with anyone in his local church about this. He thinks whether to do a little ‘sacrifice for the greater good’ or if its wrong to not speak to his church people and leaders about this. He gets a call from an unknown number asking him to ‘not delay his conversion from day-to-day but rather donate in the next 2 minutes or his time of ‘grace’ will depart from him forever’. Mr A is now totally confused since he never took down his preachers phone number.
- Miss J, is egged on by her friends to marry a man who is given to womanizing and drug abuse. They claim the only way for this man’s soul to be saved is by Miss J marrying him and using her influence as a wife to preach the Gospel to him. Miss J doesn’t like that idea. But her friends tell her that all preachers tried to bring a change in that sleazy man but nothing happened and say that only genuine love will convince that man to accept the Gospel. She is not aware that her friends are promised a fortune by this impious man who knows that by his character itself, he won’t be able to convince her to marry him. Miss J is scared of using marriage as front to preach the Gospel or to let this man’s soul slip into hell forever.
- Preacher Z, is approached by people of another church. They say they got a gold bracelet with the name of their church on it. And they promise to send him a generous tithe each month as long he wears the gold bracelet on his right hand. Now preacher Z is in need of some serious funding for his new missionary project in Namibia. He ponders that if it’s all a matter of wearing a gold bracelet without any change in what he preaches, then what could possibly go wrong.
Let me explain the dangers of each of the above examples. In the first example, Mr A stands likely to be scammed big time if he donates a big sum of money abroad. And if he later contacts law enforcement or legal resources there is very little scope to get his money back. Also if he were to hide things from his preacher, then when he gets scammed, even the preacher and the church to which he belongs will be surprised at his lack of vigilance and eventually this can affect his reputation.
For the second example, if Miss J were to marry the womanizer, there is no guarantee he will ever accept the Gospel. Besides, when he eventually will cheat on her, none of those scheming friends of hers will help. And if she approaches her church they will offer prayers and sympathies but will find it difficult to mend their marriage.
And for the third example, if Preacher Z takes the gold bracelet, it can bring disgrace and controversy to his church and denomination at large. This holds true especially if the other church that gave the bracelet of gold, turns out to be a cult or a heretical organisation. People can and will think of him endorsing their false doctrines.
In cases of spiritual gray zone’s here’s what you can do:
- Do not act on your impulses but think what could be the long-term consequences. Also think how would you deal with those consequences.
- Do not be over secretive that you don’t take counsel from the right person of God as want to hide things from him or her.
- Do read the Bible on a regular basis. Read the various parts of it pertaining to wisdom and discernment, instead of only going for your favourite verses. This should help you remember the counsel of the Bible if in case there is a very quick decision to make or you don’t have access to a faithful and wise preacher of the Gospel. Reading the Bible regularly needs discipline and setting the right priorities to use your time, though.
- If it’s too good to be real, do not had over money nor time nor your emotions etc to such things or people. Instead research it. If you cannot research it, then like I said earlier don’t be too shy to get counsel from the wise people of God available to you.
- Pray about it for clarity from God. This is where you ask God to deliver from all lies because he the God of truth and not chaos.
Just to let you know, I too faced a very dangerous spiritual gray zone around 2009-2010. I would preach and minister to a growing group of teenagers and those in their early twenties. Some prefer to call them youth or young adults. The point is these youngsters had problems of the spiritual sort; false gods, drinking, smoking, false relationships etc. So myself and some of my contemporaries were given leadership over them. And due to various reasons these youth were comfortable to reach to us for their problems and we would help to come out of their bad habits. We would intercede for them, fast for them and when they are with, lead them in praise and worship of Jesus. This caused lots of lots of youth who at time wouldn’t come to church to come to us instead. It was a nice opportunity for myself to slowly and steadily get them attend church without any forcing.
However, this didn’t sit well in due course of time with the main Christian circle I was in. They accused us of ‘meeting the needs of the youth so that they don’t come to the main body’. They asked to ‘stop preaching the Gospel since that is what fulfills the needs of the youth and this will cause them to reach out to the main body’. It took me a day or two to come to a decision after praying and my reply to them was “Why do you want me to not follow the commandment of God?” So they asked what commandment and I replied “The great commission to preach the Gospel”. Followed by “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! (1 Corinthians 9:16)” They were horrified at my reply and asked me will I reconsider and follow their ‘authority’ in this matter and only do praise and worship with the youth. Remembering some of the youth, who said that the main body was not that effective in counseling them, I said no to the main body and that’s the last they interacted with me. Later I found that almost all the youth never ‘integrated’ in to the main body consisting of married adults. My point is, I had to make a decision to follow God’s commandment or the opinions of man, even if that is of the elders when it was all a gray area to me.
Christ be with you, as you overcome the gray areas of your life!
Disclaimer: This post is not about bashing nor maligning your Church elders but rather knowing the difference between them and God.
All praise to the Lord God who gives elders in the Church to help us in the mission of preaching the Gospel to all nations and making disciples of them. May the Holy Spirit lead and guide them in the grace of God. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. (Psalm 118:8)
Never trust your Church elders more than God. Now I do not say disrespect them but rather give due respect to them. However that being said, never make your Church elders a god above the Lord God. This will put you in deep error and eventual darkness if you refuse to repent in this area.
Now the Bible says in Jeremiah 17:5-8 :-
5 Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the Lord.
6 He is like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
8 He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
By the above verses it is very obvious that we as believers in Christ are not to make flesh our strength but rather are to trust in the Lord God. To make it clear, we cannot let any man, even the one’s who are the Church elders tell us not to pray to God. It’s very obvious that any Church elder who hinders you from worshiping Jesus Christ is a manifest heretic claiming to be a Christian!
So what I just said, is this a new teaching? No, not at all but something that needs to be reiterated. The following verses of Jude 1:3-4 confirm this:
3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Each of those who profess the Christian faith are already warned about certain people who for the record; pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. And now such people might not be, each and every person you see in Church but just a few you need to beware of. The basic thing would be to never give heed to any words and philosophies by any one at any level in the Church which contradicts the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It’s very rare that anyone in the church might tell you to not worship God, because they know that they will be found out and tackled very soon. However do be on your guard against such people.
There is a higher chance of people who may misdirect all the glory which is due to God to themselves. No matter what healing you receive by anyone praying for you or laying their hands never praise them like how God is to be praised. It’s one thing to be thankful to the Church elders and another thing to give them the kind of respect which God only deserves. So do know the difference and do not put your elders above God, ever!
Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit. (Matthew 15:14)
Then there is a subtle trick that the Devil uses to mislead people and most of them fall for it. He simply causes certain gullible Church elders to downplay the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So to not offend others, they will avoid preaching against certain sins or all sins. But they are okay with offending God though, by continuing to work their heresies. Some even show the Gospel as a guideline instead of a reality to follow. By making certain things of Gospel such a repentance, good works, prayers etc as optional by falsely assuming that doing the will of God was done away with the Cross, they lead more people to damnation that even the more common vilest of vile sins could. Stay away from their ways and words and you will do a great honor to God.
Just before I close, like I mentioned earlier, not all Church elders are into wrongdoing. In fact their service to God is commendable and their sacrifices for the Kingdom of God are fragrant and undeniable. May God reward them for this. However do be on guard against those who seek more honor for themselves than the Lord God.
Christ be with you!
16 These six things the Lord hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
17 A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
19 A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.
If you are tempted by others do what is given in Holy Scriptures below:
My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. my son. … do not walk in the way with them, hold back your foot from their paths (Proverbs 1:10,15)
Never give your consent to the ways of sinners. Never walk in their paths. Always say yes to the Lord God and only walk in his path. It should be as simple as this.
Do not justify the ways of the world which leads away from God into sin. It won’t help you and neither the sinner. Because ultimately God will judge the world in the end.
Depending on which region of the world you live in, there’s this odd thing called as Black Friday. I don’t call it religious. In fact this had nothing to do with Christ. On this day people shop like they have never seen a toothbrush before. They wait out of the shopping centres and rush like herds of cattle once it opens in the morning. This year 2017 it’s on 24th November but every year the date may vary but the trend continues.
So the people who will snooze when it comes to stand for their nation will be willing to stand for long hours to get their precious little goods. And the corporates manipulate these people into thinking they are getting things for cheap. May God get people out of their grip!
Remember this, no business sells goods to not make a profit. They are after your money in truth. So any one who goes for such Black Friday sales, is in a delusion if he or she believes that he or she got a bargain. Definitely no bargain price but simply dumping of old stocks before the New year begins.
And to say what I said earlier, people rush in like cattle. But cattle won’t steal each others grass when they are to graze. There are people so vile that they steal from children right in front of their parents. Some use most evil curse words to argue with others. And there are some men and at times women who literally beat others to get the last few stocks of digital gaming devices. Obviously they pay at the cash counter. But my point is that there no need to be a kleptomaniac nor a violent and rude person when going shopping this day. Such behaviour is not fitting for anyone claiming to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.
If you who are reading this have behaved in anyways like this then do repent of such unkind behaviour and be wise going forward. Cut out such behaviour from your life before it takes you to prison or somewhere more worse. And if you haven’t been involved in a Black Friday mess, then continue to be out of it, for your own well being.
[Jesus said;] And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. (Mark 9:43)
Would you get surgery done for yourself if the person doing it doesn’t actually practice surgery? Would you like to travel in an aircraft driven by a person who cannot even read the route map? Would you invest your money in a bank which is on the verge on collapsing? If you said no to any of these questions, then why would you learn the Gospel from anyone who doesn’t actually preach it?
I find it very laughable and amusing to see people who flock to preachers who don’t actually preach the Gospel. Yes, these people will come up with various excuses to continue to waste their time on them. They often say ‘we are not to judge’. So going by that logic they wouldn’t mind if their government transfers all of their money to the ‘vacation for ministers’ fund, because they are not to judge if they go bankrupt. They wouldn’t judge if they were given poisoned food by the restaurants. Probably not if they regard for their well being! However these people will keep pushing the ‘do not judge’ Bible verses upon you as if that will turn their precious little preacher into a true preacher of the Word of God.
Some preachers will totally avoid the mention of Jesus in their entire sermons. Perhaps they never heard of him or maybe they are not trying to please him! Either way that is a massive give away to either correct the preacher or leave him. Some people might think that is offensive, I don’t agree to them. Suppose if you wanted your children to swim but the swimming instructor doesn’t teach them to swim but only talks about his or her swimming accomplishments , do you or your children truly get your money’s worth for the swimming lessons. You’d most possibly get the children out of that swimming class and join a better one or complain to the management to change the swimming coach. Maybe the management would go half way and instead of removing the coach simply apologize and get the coach to actually teach swimming. If such logic applies to swimming, wouldn’t you and your family’s spiritual life in Christ deserve a bit more better?
There are some people who don’t care if the preacher is preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ or not because of an odd reason. They simply and plainly don’t care to read the Bible either. And if they do, they totally ignore the preachers’ misgivings and in turn open the doors of their heart wide to heresy and ignorance.
Now there are some preachers who do preach parts of Gospel such as forgiveness, healing, and love but avoid anything to do with repentance, holiness and deliverance. These try to make the Gospel palatable to people in order to get the number of people hearing them to increase. However, these do not preach Gospel in its entirety. As a result the person who hears such a preacher is not warned of the traps and temptations and sufferings that they might encounter with their walk with Christ Jesus. So if the person gives in to sin or remains ignorant of how to receive deliverance from evil, do not be surprised at all.
Do not be the one who refuses to love the truth but rather chooses to live in deception, with deceptive preachers and so share in their eternal judgement!
Bible verses to reflect on:
- Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:12-14)
- “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ (Matthew 23:16)
- For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:7-12)
Live not for bad things,
Live not for thoughts vile.
Live not for wicked wings,
Live not for an unholy smile.
Live for the Lord God daily,
Live for Christ Jesus in truth.
Live for the Gospel truly,
Live for abundantly bearing fruit.
Live not for vanity,
Live not for timidity.
Live not for speaking profanity,
Live not for spiritual rancidity.
Live to see the glory of God,
Live to see his Holy face.
Live to see Christ rule with his rod,
Live to see the kingdom grow in grace.