Gnats, Camels and Wolves

Lawngren posted a quote the other day, from one of the church pastors he was checking into for a local church to attend.  When I read the whole article, a lot of it popped out as an amazing lesson and journey for this particular pastor- those who read it, know what I’m talking about.  But something he quoted from it here, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity” was one of those kinds of things that so many people can agree on and it sounds logical.   But reading the pastor’s article, and that quote in context also brought up another thought – “There are no non-essentials!” Which is also true on a deeper level.  There are a lot of things that every person, no matter if they’re religious, political, or societal that we have a strong belief and black and white/no gray thinking concerning them.

Sometimes we can apply the first quote, but other times the second quote is necessary too because some things are just so important, you need to discern what is best~ truth or unity?  And while truth is always going to trump feelings and things that create unity, truth can also drive a wedge between people who are learning the truth, and those who’ve already ‘gotten’ the truth.

Here at the Heartbeat, we have a lot of unity. Most of us share similar values, politically and in our faith.  While coming from different backgrounds, and walks in our faith, we’ve gotten to a point of comfortableness and knowing we all share a belief in the essentials, we’re able to allow the liberty of folks to believe what they will about the non essentials, and that’s a good thing.  But sometimes it makes it hard to judge what are the gnats, and what are the camels when it comes to sharing things about our faith that others might not believe is as important.  And the difference between denominational worship style, traditions and beliefs can present a defensiveness sometimes if things said are perceived as judgmental or critical.

The article shared was taken with the verse from Romans, 14:1 which says, “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters

For the folks here, I’d say weak faith is not really an issue. Most folks are pretty grounded in the essentials and believe the core doctrine and creed of Father Son and Holy Spirit, but at the same time, sometimes it’s those who are strongest in faith who need reminders of the way the enemy seeks to prowl, devour and destroy.

Satan is crafty, deceitful and often times spews enough of the truth that the lie is believable, and even “biblical”.  Satan appears as an angel of light, a servant of righteousness, speaking lies in subtle enough ways to deceive even us, drawing us away from the truth and often times what is said seems good and makes sense.

It’s hard to imagine believers falling into one of his traps, but considering his patience, knowledge of the Word, and slow methodical way of creeping, appearance of truth, while disguised as an angel of light, it’s not wholly illogical that even mature believers could find themselves deceived.  Boy I’ve heard some extremely blasphemous things over the years spoken to people in the liberal church, claimed by the Holy Spirit… and yet people believe because they use the right words and phrases.  Everything from same sex marriage, abortion, witchcraft, and stuff like transhumanism… if it sounds biblical, logical and attractive, then it must be truth.

The Lord warns that in the end times deceptions will be so rampant, that the days will be cut short lest even the elect be deceived, but deceptions have been going on since the Garden.

This has been on my mind for a long while, sometimes not so much at the forefront, but still there.  Sometimes it seems as if I am straining gnats, but still I feel led to speak up.  I need to be reminded as well as trying to remind others that deception can entrap us at any time and that we need to be discerning, testing the spirit, and testing the word against The Word.

Notice how the Bible warns us not of wolves, but of wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing. We know instinctively to be warned of danger, but danger is often so subtle, you may not realize how much danger you’re in until its too late to get out of it without harm. I speak from too much experience to not try and keep others alert.  No matter how intelligent, faithful, strong and sincere we are, we, as humans are susceptible to deception.

I think a problem with non essentials is that the enemy loves to plant seeds of doubt, so that the small things we don’t worry about, can lead to doubt about the bigger, more important core things.

What better place other than the garden, or the minds and hearts of the Pharisees could the enemy of God work his deceptions than in churches that claim the Name of His Son?

1Timothy 4:1 reminds us, The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.

Since the beginning of the Church age, Satan has been working his craft just as subtly as he did in the garden, “Has God really said...”   Some deceptions as I mentioned above are obvious to others, but some aren’t, and the problem is spread through every denomination since before the reformation.

We have a wonderful place here at the Heart Beat. It’s different, usually pretty cordial, and we have a good time hanging out with each other at any given time. We discuss or at least throw weighty things out there sometimes, and most times our discussions are pretty civil.  Family squabbles come and go, and folks are definitely family here.  We’re not perfect, but I like to hope we’re a light in a dark internet world, that people will notice a difference in us, that while we still think on political and other issues, we’re not trying to provoke, stir up anger and dissension  and we talk about something, then move on.

But more importantly we’re open to strengthening, stretching and growing in our faith by encouraging each other, sharpening each other, and discussing things we don’t always know a lot about- all the while to grow, and help others know and grow in Jesus.  I think that’s partly why I have a deception on my mind so much. It’s because I love and care about all of my family here, but also folks who may come and might be seeking.  I want us always to have truth and Jesus at the center and as our focus so as not to confuse or deceive anyone, whether one of us, or one of our quiet readers.

We all come from different places, different backgrounds and different styles, and I love the true diversity of the church- bride of Christ because of it. We have brothers and sisters of every race, every ethnic background, every social level  and we do have unity in the essentials.  Whatever we, or I write about here, I want to continue that part of unity and family, and I don’t want to judge disputable matters which can confuse newer believers or those who are searching.  I don’t want to strain at gnats, but sometimes we need to realize that gnats can seem as big as camels and are worth straining to expose the wolves.

Have a safe and  blessed Monday y’all!

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