So often do I fall in love with a new speaker, author, pastor…etc and the material that they disseminate. I fall in love with the concepts, fresh perspective, and wisdom these of these people, and it instills in me a new hunger for more information.
I think I can say this is the same for many others. However, this love affair is usually abruptly interrupted by someone proclaiming to “be careful with this person, they may not be a sound teacher,” or their material is not scripturally sound or something of the sorts. I’ve also had people come to me and point out the bad struggles and setbacks many of these infamous people go through, forgetting that these people, though held to a higher standard, are still human. Nonetheless, it becomes more and more difficult to trust sources and in turn, can be very frustrating and disappointing.
Many people who rely on the enlightenment of devotionals, sermons, life books, etc. and are fed only by these materials tend to lack what God may be saying through His word. That is not to say that God can’t or won’t use these materials to encourage a closer relationship with Him, but scripture says in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
There’s something very crucial in the words of A. Frank Goepel, “chew the meat and spit out the bones.”1 Though these people may be wise and have very moving messages, remember that they though their words may be inspired by God, THEY are not God. Your fulfillment should always end in and be completed by scripture.
As you read and listen to more Godly based materials, remember to test their words to scripture and ask the Lord, by His Holy Spirit to make sense of the material in your own spirit. The one source we can trust is scripture, and God speaks through it. Don’t fall in love with the person, but pursue the hunger instilled in your heart.
Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God . for there are many false prophets in the world. 1 John 4:1-2
The reason is simple, imagine if you were dating someone and trying to get to know that person genuinely, you wouldn’t pursue a relationship with his or her best friend, close co-worker or even family member. You may get some good details from people that know them well, but the best way to really get to know that person is to spend quality time with that person, invest in them, and learn more through their own words. This is the same as pursuing a relationship with Jesus Christ.
1 2002, A Frank Goepel, A Realm Without Rules, pg 116