The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives His Life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees.
Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: 'Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?... The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost.'
Upon this truth, men agree: bad help is worse than no help. Bad directions get us lost. Bad drivers cause accidents. Bad friendships ruin futures. Bad doctors make us sicker. Bad people make us suffer. Bad words turn us upside down. Bad thoughts turn us inside out.
Concerning deliverance, bad shepherds come in two kinds: 1) They are ineffectual, because they don't know enough. Or they're hard cessationists: smart, but not trusting God's gifts.* Like speaking in tongues, prophesy and casting out demons.
2) They are greedy impostors, because pastors can get rich. They believe prosperity is defined by worldly wealth. They'll use any means to entertain their congregations. Like smiling through their sermons or pretending godly gifts, including deliverance.
So when you're considering a spiritual leader, how can you know if he's the real deal or giving bad help?
1) He'll be devoted to the Bible in actions and speech. His teachings will be thorough, in context and not too sweet. Test him: read the Word yourself.
2) He'll be humble and doing his best to live like Jesus. He'll be available and working to help the helpless. Poor people are his focus, like the King he represents.
3) To people, he's a lover. To Satan, he's a fighter. When he sees the wolf coming, he's eager to intercede: to fight the good fight of faith, willing to lay down his life.
Good help has a Precedent: it's Jesus. He must be the Model for our shepherds.
To Be Continued...
* Cessationism: http://www.gotquestions.org/cessationism.html
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Deliverance series.