Now and then, we need to take inventory of our spiritual lives. We need to evaluate if what we believe is in line with what Scripture teaches. I know that sounds strange but let’s look at two Scripture passages to see how we as Christians could fall into error.
The first passage we will look at is found in John six. I encourage you to read chapters six and seven, but I will introduce the setting and begin with verse fifty-three. Jesus had just fed a multitude out of five loaves and two fish. The next day the crowd went looking for Him, and they asked Him what sign He would perform for them to believe in Him.
Do you ever stop and think about what was wrong with them? The day before, Jesus fed them miraculously, and now they are asking Him what sign would He perform to earn their belief. So here’s a question we need to ask ourselves, how many times does God do things for us, yet we still doubt His faithfulness?
So the events unfold, and they say, our fathers ate manna, where’s your sign? And Jesus said I am the bread come down from heaven. I AM, being a reference to The Name given to Moses, Jesus is showing His deity in the statement. They grumbled at His message, and we pick up the story in John 6:53.
John 6:53-69 “So Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life in yourselves. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day, because my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the manna your ancestors ate—and they died. The one who eats this bread will live forever.” He said these things while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. Therefore, when many of his disciples heard this, they said, “This teaching is hard. Who can accept it?” Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, asked them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you were to observe the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? The Spirit is the one who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some among you who don’t believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning those who did not believe and the one who would betray him.) He said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted to him by the Father.” From that moment many of his disciples turned back and no longer accompanied him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “You don’t want to go away too, do you?” Simon Peter answered, “Lord, to whom will we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”
The bottom line is, they wanted what Jesus could do in the natural, they were concerned with temporal things. But Peter said, “Lord, to whom will we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
To whom will we go, and you have the words of eternal life. So many times, we come to Jesus in word, but our desires are only for the temporal. For example, we pray a prayer like this; In Jesus’ name, I believe I receive my healing. And we make declarations like this; In Jesus name, money cometh to me, now! As a tither, I believe the Lord for jobs and better jobs, raises, and bonuses, checks in the mail.
Now Scripture promises that God will take care of our needs; there’s no doubt about that. But are we believing for needs or selfish desires? Look at these words in James 4:3 “You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your own pleasures.”
It’s time to ask another hard question, is the teaching I’m listening to encouraging me to go to Jesus for selfish reasons? Do I just want stuff, or do I want Him?
Ask another question, if my church turned off the colored lights, turned on the house lights, dropped the stage production. If my pastor went from being the cool, relevant topical preacher to someone who taught through books of the Bible and dropped ninety percent of his personal illustrations, would I still find value in my church? In Matthew 11:16-24, Jesus rebuked the cities where He did most of His miracles because they saw “the stuff,” but they didn’t repent; they didn’t forsake their sin and follow Christ. Power evangelism is the most prevalent method in the church today; Pray for someone to be healed, tell them God loves them, and thinks they’re amazing. Ask yourself, is that really the gospel? Are you amazing, or is Jesus? It’s popular these days to focus on the miracles of Jesus, but I challenge you to read those stories in context. Take a day to read the Gospel of John in one sitting, take three more days, and read Matthew, Luke, and Mark in one sitting. Discover the purpose of the miracles but, more importantly, focus on the message of Jesus. His message was repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. Sadly, that is not the message of the modern-day power evangelist or the modern-day prophet.
Take another day and read Acts in one sitting. Go through the Epistles. Take three years and study through the New Testament. Ask yourself a few more questions; why is it that the people who say God always heals, why is it that the people that have the anointing aren’t doing the very things they teach? Why is it that the prophets got 2020 so wrong?
Jesus wants us to walk in truth. John wrote in his second letter that he had no greater joy than to hear people are walking in the truth. I hope that after reading this, you will be willing to ask the hard questions. I pray you will read and search the Scriptures, that you will reject falsehood, no matter how hard it may be, and hold to the truth. If you find that you have embraced wrong understandings, repent and ask for the truth to be revealed. Begin reading the Bible to see Jesus.
I pray this post has been both a blessing and a challenge to you. If you have a question or comment, you can leave it below, and if you would like daily teaching, thoughts, and reflections you can follow me on Instagram @caseydbell