Vanity of vanities. All is vanity. I was reading over the article I posted this morning, and I wanted to delete parts of it. I was thinking to myself, “why did I really write that? How does that help others build their faith?” I’m trying to be more aware of these kinds of things, and instead of going back and deleting parts of this article, I’m going to use it to make a point that has been on my mind lately – vanities.
Even when my heart going into writing the article was to avoid talking too much about myself, that was exactly what I ended up doing, even right from the start. Maybe something could be gained from it, but was it necessary to talk about my premature birth and that whole story? Not really. Do I think those circumstances mean something? No, but I can’t say the thought never occurred to me. Even though I was trying to paint an overall picture, I could just have easily done without that part.
Those of us who have Christian blogs or other forms of ministry should be aware of this. How much of what we do is for bringing God glory and leading others to Him, and how much of it is for our own selfish reasons, whether it be gratification or some other form of pride or vanity. Worse yet, how many of us use our “ministry” or “testimony” to establish vain images?
What do I mean by vain images?
A short browsing of YouTube can give you some great examples. The Christian world of “ministry,” “testimony,” “end-times prophesy,” and the like is absolutely riddled with vain images – images that make God like corruptible man. From fake “Two Witnesses,” “Daughters of Zion,” even “Bride of Christs,” it’s everywhere. There are some really confused people out there, perpetuating these man-made idols that are created in the image of Christ, the Holy Spirit, and other all-out made up characters. And people follow them — more than you might think.
How do they do this? From what little I’ve seen, there are a few ways – all of which use scriptures, supposed visions from the Lord, and other meaningless bits of information like dates, names, times, and the like. Some are bold enough to make a claim about themselves or others plainly, but most just build an altar around themselves comprised of these false visions, misused scriptures, “confirmations” from other confused people, birth dates and places, name meanings, and similar points that when brought together create an illusion that many fall for, when in reality it’s no more substantial than seeing an image in a cloud.
These people who supposedly do “work for the Lord” are doing nothing more than making idols of themselves or others. On one hand, I feel somewhat sorry for them. It can be hard at times to know the difference between a dream from the Spirit and one that’s more “abundance of business” in nature. It can be hard to know the difference between a strong thought and the Holy Spirit. It can be easy to see something in the scriptures that speak to an idea we have, when it doesn’t mean what we think.
How do we avoid falling for these vain image idols or creating them ourselves?
As I tend to find myself saying, the answer is simple: keep your focus on Jesus alone. The truth of Jesus Christ is simple – too simple for some, I suppose. What we need to know as it pertains to salvation is not that complex, though it might seem that way when we consider how easy these truths get lost or manipulated.
When we see others who spend way too much time tearing down others and building themselves up, that’s not good (I’ve done it too, I know. Live and learn, right?). When we see people whose focus is on their many “visions,” “demonic warfare,” or some other thing that builds them up as some mighty spiritual warrior, that should be a red flag.
The only TRUE way to battle in spirit is by pursuing righteousness though the Holy Spirit, and living a life aligned with love and truth. It’s not something fancy or out of some Hollywood movie. Of course there are other tale tale signs, like selling secret information that you “must know to make it in the end times.”
I’ve spent the last few months in this deep dark rabbit hole that is sub-culture Christianity, and I’m just about fed up. I’m even more fed up with my own arrogance and the vain thoughts I battle, but I know that the Lord will deliver me from all evil, and as always, there will be something learned that might help someone. Even that, just now. Do I really think my purpose is to be “confused” then “enlightened” so that I can share these things? I have thought that. I just did. See what I mean? If we aren’t looking inwardly and asking the Spirit to search our hearts and make us pure of heart, vanities can creep up on us before we even know it.
Here are some scriptures that have helped me in dealing with this lately:
2 Corinthians 10: 4-5 — For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
2 Corinthians 10: 17-18 — But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that comendeth himslef is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.
2 Corinthians 11: 3 — But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
2 Corinthians 11: 13-15 — For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Even that: “ministers of righteousness.” There are many out there who use the corrupted Christian system to build their own ministries, that on the surface are all about living righteously — even teaching the freedom from sin through the Holy Spirit. These in particular bother me, because they are so deceptive. Some things to watch for there:
- Adhering to Old-Testament laws and works of “righteousness” that has a very legalistic approach to fighting sin.
- Setting themselves or others up as prophets, even going so far as to claim titles like “that prophet likened to Moses,” and other figures.
- Focusing way too much on end-times prophesy — especially false interpretations that claim things like Christians already worship Lucifer and say the trumpets are merely metaphorical in nature — basically saying we already worship the abomination of desolation, setting people up to accept the real abomination as Christ, most likely.
- Taking people’s focus off of the simplicity that is in Jesus, instead encouraging people to battle demonic spirits, even going so far as to get them to manifest so you can “do battle.” Seriously. These people have hundreds of thousands of followers.
If anyone reading this has a question about a minister, prophet, teacher, or some other “Christian” figure out there, send me an email. I know how manipulative these people can be, and how they use our insecurities and other weaknesses to turn us onto the things they say and away from the truth of Jesus Christ.