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!
This is written for those in God through Jesus Christ, that they must be focused on the Lord God first. Everything else follows that. It doesn’t mean you neglect your duties towards your family, school, work, nation etc. But rather that these duties do not keep you away from following God.
A person who truly follows Christ will not say, that he or she loves family so much, that they will sell drugs to maintain their family. Nor will such a person think that to keep friendship with any person they need to give up on holiness. The Christian faith is on earth but our priorities are always to be for the Lord’s glory each moment.
With that being the case, we are not left helpless to face our daily lives. But as we put God first, the Lord God blesses us with his graces even more. For Jesus himself spoke the grace for us to be provided by God his father by saying “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you “(refer Mathew 6:31-33).
Now the faith to receive God’s grace in such a manner is not to be taken lightly. One cannot doubt his existence and next time start expecting his graces. So any person who wants God’s grace must always begin in existence of the Lord God and also believe that he rewards those who seek him.
For if you believe God will not forgive you for stealing then as per your faith it’ll be granted, which is that you won’t be forgiven. But if you sincerely and truly believe that God can forgive you then surely you will be forgiven. Grace too works the same way as your faith. Therefore expect the grace of God by first respecting the grace of God in your prayers, words and actions.
And then don’t worry about the world’s opinions on God but go only by the truth, which is the Gospel in times of universal deceit. The cross is what you must carry rather than the vanity, pleasures and worries of the world. Scripture does say that world and it’s lust are passing away but he who does the will of God shall live for ever. So don’t get enticed by the world that is fading away but focus on God who’ll be in glory for ever.
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
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)
When in depression or anxiety don’t get impulsive and make a wrong decision. This can further aggravate your situation. Instead wait upon the Lord God. First pray to God and be calm in his presence. Then be patient to receive his wisdom from above. For the Lord can answer from the Holy Scriptures if you read it prayerfully. Or the Holy Spirit can cause people inspired by him with the answer. Sometimes you might just get a thought from above. All you need to do next is to check if it’s consistent with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and accordingly act on it.
Praise be to the Lord God who provides the seed of His word and the faith to work on it. By intercession of Christ Jesus our Saviour we keep ever growing in spirit and knowledge. O Holy Spirit lead us into all truth and keep us away from lethargy and false counsel.
We are called to grow in the Lord God. There are no exceptions to this. No need to worry if others don’t grow as much as you do.
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)
Be like Samuel the Prophet who didn’t ignore the Word of God but kept it in all earnest. Samuel’s duty was to grow in the knowledge that God gave him. He didn’t focus on those who didn’t but kept to his task. (Prophet Samuel later in life went on to annoint David as the king of Israel – refer to 1 Samuel 16:1-13 for this). He never gave up his spiritual growth though his mentor Eli’s sons grew in wickedness (Click here if you want to know a lesson about Eli).
And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the Lord.(1 Samuel 3:19-20)
You might not know the future but there may be people who one day will need your help. It might be your own family members who might need counsel on life changing decisions. You may have to cast out evil spirits from the possessed people who turn to you. Or you just have to be a good Samaritan to those in danger. But God knows best what good you are to do. What matters then is whether you decide to grow in the knowledge and grace of Jesus Christ. Because that’s the very thing which will help you with doing all the good works that God has set forth before you. By this you can give glory to God and be a good neighbor to those in need.
Suppose you feel upset that others are not growing in the Lord God, then do not despair. You can intercede for them. And wherever possible even directly help them grow. But never be too proud of your growth and so end up displeasing God. Also take care not to slow down on your growth in Spirit. Because neither will it help others grow nor will it give glory to God.
Christ be with you!
There are many who have great dreams. Dreams of grandeur, dreams of the next big foreign vacation, dreams of marrying the most wealthy person they can find for a spouse etc. And their dreams when achieved do not necessarily bring them the joy and fulfillment they expected. These dreamers get hurt by the fruit of their desires. Let me make it real to you; living in grandeur is what Herod had but in the end he was eaten by worms for not giving glory to God, there are people in big credit card debts as they cannot payoff their bills after their foreign vacations, while some much to their dismay realize that the rich one they married is also a hung miser. If only they had checked if their dreams tally up with wisdom or not. No human wisdom but the wisdom of God!
Please do read Luke 12:16-21 which says : 16 And he [Jesus] told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
If your dreams and aspiration do not involve giving glory to the Lord God what if all of that is taken away? What would it matter in the after life that you only focused on vain ambitions for selfish reasons?
In your dreams and desires always seek to understand where they finally lead you. I’m not talking about the part where you achieve them all. It’s what happens after you are done with your achievement. Does it give you peace in your heart? Does it make you a difficult person to deal with, especially with your family and friends? Does it make you any more wise at all? Does it make you more anxious or timid? Does it keep you away from God? If the answer is yes to any one of these questions, you need to seriously consider if your dreams and desires are consistent with the wisdom of God in his written Word. You may just have to change your motives or change your course of action or totally give it up before that dream brings you nothing but heart break. This heart break may not immediately come but it does eventually come. So do be diligent about these matters of the heart and spirit!
Keep your heart with all vigilance; for from it flow the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23)
There are people who profess to be Christians and yet there seems to be no blessings in their life. One wonders what is going wrong with them. A little probing gets to the root of it and this answer is not so pleasant. The answer is not out there in the world and God is not to be blamed for it either. It’s something within the person: hypocrisy!
Let me make it real to you. I used to reach to out to a young man who was looking out to get married in life. He seemed financially alright. Not too bad with the looks either. Plus he was a pleasant talker. However, he kept telling me that he didn’t get the right person to marry. Also he would fall ill very often. I would preach to him but had my doubts about his sincerity.
Later I found that he already had a girl who’d meet his mother almost everyday and even do the dishes at home. Basically this girl wanted to marry him but he kept looking out for other women instead. This guy was such a hypocrite that he’d take his family to the church services but himself skip church time. So he’d just transport them to and fro from the worship service but roam around when the church prayers were being done. Also, that he would be using illegal drugs. Obviously, I was not impressed with this behaviour of his but didn’t tell him I came to know of his hypocrisy.
I met this man later and asked him when did he last attend church. The man was puzzled by this question. He told me that he went to church recently. So I asked of him that if he meant he actually prayed over there or just walked by the premises. Immediately, he turned hostile realizing that I knew of his hypocrisy and kept away from me. I couldn’t question him about why he allowed the poor potential fiance of his to come home and clean up the house along with his mother, when he clearly had no interest in marrying her. The last time I kept track of him, I found that he lost out a lot of money on some bad financial decision and his mom had to be admitted to the hospital too. Despite my efforts to contact him, he didn’t respond to the phone. At the end, I understood that just because he clung to his hypocrisy he couldn’t actually benefit from the preaching of the Gospel. He knew what the Gospel expects from him but he didn’t want to act in the right direction.
If you desire the blessings of God in your life then make sure that you eliminate all forms of hypocrisy from your life. Never ever misuse the trust of those who love you even if you don’t love them back! Sincerity in your walk with Christ is dependant on your choice so don’t get started with blaming the economy or some bad experience as an excuse for going away from the path of righteousness. If wish to get blessings with your prayers then pray without any guile and without any perverse intent, and you’ll see the difference for sure.
Verses for reflection:
- If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. (Psalm 66:18)
- The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. (Proverbs 15:29)
- We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. (John 9:31)
- What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. (James 4:1-3)
Forever stuck on preaching to one person? (disciplesofhope.wordpress.com)
Don’t Squander the Grace of God (theaccidentalpoet.net)
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. (Colossians 3: 9-11)
You might have heard the song “Last Christmas” in the past few years. Originally it was sung by the musical duo called Wham! in 1984. In later years, even other singers have tried their luck with it. It’s very popular in most of the world. The musical score seems pleasant overall despite it having elements of a relationship gone bad. However, I do find it odd now in terms of the Bible and I’ll tell you why.
Let’s read a few of the lyrics of that song:
Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
But the very next day, you gave it away
This year, to save me from tears I
‘ll give it to someone special
So this about a love relationship between a couple gone bad. Doesn’t seem they were married yet but this was a beginning in their relationship. However, this was short and now the person whose heart got broke got a plan. To avoid the previous year’s hurt, it will be new relationship with a new person. The thing that looks weird is that of all the days in the world, they had to decide on the relationship at the time we ponder upon the Savior’s coming into the world.
No wonder, I really find this concept odd. Basically, this song tells us that instead of praying and rejoicing in remembrance of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ this person bothered instead to propose someone for marriage. Further still, the couple had mutual acceptance of the proposal in the time when people come to celebrate at church. Were they away from church at time? Or where they too attracted to each other that they got distracted from Christ? A yes to any one of this question speaks volumes about the priority they gave to Christ.
They didn’t keep Christ first at all!
Now compare their behaviour with the follow Bible verses:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)
I’m not against people proposing each other for marriage legally. In fact I like seeing the boy or at times the girl, popping the relationship question at the restaurant or at the beach or just after the opera as long as its done safely. But I do not support people giving up on their prayer or worship time which only belongs to God, and then using such time to get into love relationships. Chances are they didn’t keep the Lord first at all and then in due course of time even their relationship perished. Then came sadness and heartache into their life etc.
[New edit to this post]: Radio DJ plays Wham’s Last Christmas 24 times in row after barricading himself in studio He only gave up when his own four-year-old daughter phoned in to say she didn’t like the song. I just now am doubly sure that this song’s really odd with this DJ’s foolish behavior. Read about this on the below link:
My point is that we must not like a song for the sake of liking it. We must check the context in which the song was sung. A pleasant feeling music video may not always be sinful but it may not always be good either. One needs to meditate on the Holy Scriptures all day. It doesn’t mean you have to sit and close your eyes the entire day thinking about so and so Bible verse. There may be a time you can allot for this in the day or the week. However, you have to put Christ first and remember his words whether you are at work or at play or at a party or wherever. Any book, article, song, artwork etc which keeps you entertained while going against the morally sound values of the Bible, must totally be avoided by you. Maybe you once didn’t know all this but this time do check properly on what is mere entertainment on the outside but is foolishness on the inside.
Christ be with you, always!