I bought a book from the religious section at Barnes and Noble a few years back. It looked like an interesting, encouraging read and the author on the cover looked smart and friendly. I went home and started reading it. As I read it, I felt very empowered. The book discussed deep, spiritual ideas, and I believed that I had found a hoard of valuable insight.
I read one quote from the author that I thought was brilliant, so I typed the quote word for word and massed emailed it to almost everyone on my address list. I wanted everyone to know what wonderful things I was reading. I wanted everyone to be encouraged by this author as I was.
After I sent out the email, I continued reading the book. I began to get a sinking feeling deep in my spirit. I noticed that I was already on the second chapter of the book, but the author had yet to write anything about Jesus. How could that be? Jesus is the highlight; He is the main attraction.
I quickly started thumbing through the book desperately looking for the name “Jesus,” but I couldn’t find His name. Then, I flipped to the back cover of the book to see which Christian leaders had supported her book, but I didn’t recognize any of the names.
Finally, I got on line and looked up the author’s name and the truth became evident:
I had an encounter with a false prophet.
Her words sounded beautiful, spiritual and right-on. I felt comforted and encouraged by her ideas about spirituality. Many things she touched on were based on biblical truth. I could probably back much of what she said with scripture. Yet, even with a ton of supporting evidence, she still purposefully skipped over Jesus and His sacrifice for us on the cross.
When I realized that I had been unknowingly tricked by a false prophet, I was so ashamed. Why didn’t I research the author before I bought the book? Why did I mass email my friends with this author’s spiritual emptiness? I knew what I had to do. I had to eat a big o’ slice of humble pie and mass email all my friends back and tell them that I had made a mistake.
It was very embarrassing, but I did it. I explained what happened and apologized for not getting more information before spreading the false teaching.
I was so disheartened about this entire event for several years until God recently taught me something. God gave me the image of a spiritual flu shot. Sometimes God exposes us to a small dose of failure to prepare us for a greater victory.
I can say honestly say that now before I consume information and pass on information, I ALWAYS verify the creditability of the author. My false-prophet radar is constantly in high-gear, and I am now able to quickly recognize false teaching that glosses over the importance of Jesus Christ and the cross.
The amazing thing is that my email address list has multiplied greatly since my mass email several years ago. I am now a leader in several ministries, including writing ministries which emphasize the passing on of information. God was so good to me that He allowed me to stumble when the stakes weren’t that high. If I were to stumble now, I wouldn’t even want to think about the damage that could be done.
Has God ever allowed you to stumble?
Can you look back and see how God might have been giving you a spiritual flu shot?
Can you see a difference in your life today because of that spiritual flu shot?
“God, thank You for allowing us to stumble. No hurt, disappointment or failure comes without Your notice and design. Help us to get over our humiliation and look to Your instruction. Show us how to get rid of our pride and become wiser in You. For it is in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.”
“Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning” (Proverbs 9.9 NIV).