When He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.
For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words.
Some of our leaders, 'Whose teeth are spears and arrows' (Psalm 57:4), who 'Sharpen their tongue like a sword' (Psalm 64:3), cut hearts like fiery darts. But that's no longer politically correct.
Therefore, many more 'By smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple' (Romans 16:18), and 'Make merchandise' (2 Peter 2:3) of their flocks.
In the meantime, we take sides: stadiums or steeples, powerhouses or house churches, Christian authors or the Bible's Author. Who's right? The 21st century church of God has so many divisions... we can't count them all. Most of us choose a comfortable leader: someone close to home. We settle in and hope he's right.
But that's wrong. Only One is right: 'Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world' (1 John 4:1). 'Test all things. hold fast what is good' (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
Actors, models and talent for Christ: To avoid the pitfall of a bad leader (because it is a deep and dangerous hole), you must know well the only good Leader: Jesus. Without proof, don't trust any man's representation of the King. Smooth talk by a charismatic preacher with Bible quotes isn't proof.
You need to meet the King on His Own Ground, and it's not necessarily within the walls of a church, a daily devotion, a best-selling author--or a sweet talker on TV. His Ground is His Book. 'Your Word is a Lamp unto my feet' (Psalm 119:105). 'Your Word is truth' (John 17:17).
His Ground is Heaven: 'The prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel's hand' (Revelation 8:4). 'And their prayer came up to His holy dwelling Place, to Heaven' (2 Chronicles 30:27).
His Ground is Spirit: 'The Helper, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My Name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you' (John 14:26). Even more, God is eager to 'Give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him' (Luke 11:13). So ask Him.
Make your relationship with Jesus very personal. He will guide you to His right leader.
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Christian Pitfalls series.