O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?
But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies...
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.
People have asked my story of redemption, and I love to talk about the limits of worldly success. No matter how fast or how far we get, sooner or later every speeding car gets pulled over, broken down, or wrecked.
But speed traps and pitfalls are blessings if we stop long enough to consider our position. They're better than falling asleep at the wheel in a head-on collision: a sharp end to a burned-out life. As for me, my car fell apart from poor maintenance.
No less than a King came to my aid, and my engine was replaced. If life is like a car trip, then every windshield has a field of vision. Through my own, I saw churches of hypocrisy and derision. I saw billboards and signs of hate. They cast a shadow on Heaven's gate.
I couldn't see past them to Jesus. Only eventually in my brokenness did I meet the Redeemer. But consider the travelers still speeding or lost. They struggle to see through dirty glass. Their eyes are sad, mad, empty, or despairing. Some of them are hopeful. Most of them are seeking.
Could the American church be deterring world-weary travelers? And what about congregations snuggled up in steeple-topped busses? Are some of them being misled? Is the road they consider the street to salvation too broad to be what Jesus described?
'For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it' (Matthew 7:13).
Before Paul, Peter, and John warned us in their letters, Jesus warned us by His Word: 'Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves' (Matthew 7:15). Their outcome?
'Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name... and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' ' (Matthew 7:21-23).
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the The Church series.