The other night we visited with some friends who had spent many years in a foreign country as missionaries. The husband talked about how dangerous his first few years were when he was there as a single missionary. The nationals had warned him of the deadly land mines and bombs that were still part of their daily existence. They cautioned him to beware of every piece of trash, tiny fragment of plastic, or piece of string on the street, asserting that the smallest thing could be a set-up. He would ride his motorbike trying to avoid anything that lay on the road, knowing that he could be blown to smithereens in a heartbeat.
I believe his experience may be likened to the Christian culture we find ourselves in.
It is like we are on a motorbike and everywhere we turn there is danger. We can never take anything at face value, because there may be something deadly beneath the surface.
For instance, I recently saw a Facebook status of a woman who was asking about “hypnobirthing”. I knew with a prefix like hypno it was probably not a good thing, so I did a little investigating. I found out that it is the process of self-hypnosis while giving birth. Imagine my surprise when all of the comments below her status were by women who were praising this method and even talked about how close to God they felt during the experience.
But wait a minute! Anything to do with hypnosis should be a problem for a Christian. Any type of hypnosis means giving up self control and putting control of your mind into the hands of another person or being. This practice is in direct opposition to Christianity. And yet here were well-meaning Christians promoting something that threatens a healthy walk with God.
They had unknowingly stepped on a spiritual land mine. Spiritual land mines do not kill us outright. No, they are instead like an insidious poison that seeps into our minds, doing great damage to our spiritual walks. And since we do not realize that we have been poisoned, we will, with well-meaning motives and enthusiasm, often infect others.
Here are a few other instances of spiritual landmines–
~A “Christian” book that completely and totally dismantles the gospel, piece by piece, that I see in the hands of a Christian friend.
~A suggestion to my daughter that she read a book that destroys the image of God as set forth in scripture, also labeled as a “Christian” book.
~Songs that are on the playlist on my Christian radio station that promote anti-biblical, new age themes.
~Statuses of sincere Christians, quoting mystics and false teachers, unaware that these people they admire have tainted and twisted the gospel beyond repair.
~Revered pastors and teachers using a version of the Bible that changes the meaning of entire passages of scripture.
If you are a genuine believer at this moment in time, then you and I are in this dangerous, deadly field of spiritual land mines together. There is no place that is safe, no place we can run and hide. While there may still be a few churches and ministries unaffected by false teaching they become rarer and rarer each day. We have to take every step carefully, always being aware of what we are reading, who we are listening to, and the preachers and authors we are promoting.
We have to be willing to turn away from something that looks promising or exciting or deeply spiritual, if it goes against what is taught in God’s Word.
Of course, as I have said maybe a million times before on this blog, we can only do so if we know God’s Word. We need to keep ourselves immersed in the Bible, studying and memorizing it.
We are in a spiritual war and the battle is growing more intense by the day. We can put our heads in the sand if we want to, but to do so not only puts our own spiritual health in danger, but also the spiritual lives of our families and friends.
Oh, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we are in a very dangerous era. Worldly Christians will tell you otherwise, but don’t you believe them. We are walking through the land of spiritual landmines. We are not friends with this world. We are on a narrow path. And we are hated. But take heart! This world is not our home! The best is yet to come!
Meanwhile, let’s keep our eyes wide open and take our spiritual steps very cautiously. I Thessalonians 5:21 says it best: Test everything. Hold fast what is good.