“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.” ~ I John 4:1
I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I love historical fiction. I have book upon book about events that have occurred in history, recreated through the eyes of a writer.
I just finished reading a book about the Cousin’s War, which told of an account of the Plantagenet family, before the Tudors seized power.
The author of this book willingly acknowledges that she is telling a story through the eyes of a person we know very little about. She chose a female character for her protagonist, and unless a woman was in power (think Elizabeth I), most historians didn’t bother with keeping tabs on their lives. So while the framework of the story is rooted in history, a vast amount of the rest of the book is fiction.
What strikes me, however, is that the book as a whole is very palatable. Regardless of the amount of truth, it feels like something that could have actually happened. Since it is told by a wonderful storyteller, it feels that much more believable. And unless you happened to know a whole lot about this particular time in history, you would have no idea of the liberties that the author took with the gaps in our knowledge of the events leading up to 1485 in England.
Too often, people take advantage of our gaps in knowledge about the Bible. They may do slick presentations, with the right music, lights and sound. They have done their market research, so they know exactly who their target audience is and how to reach them. They write easy-to-read books that are heavy on boosting self-esteem and light on challenging you to grow spiritually. They want you to feel happy just the way you are, because God loves you just as you are.
Which is true – to a point. God loves you right where you are at. But He loves you way too much to leave you there. He wants you to grow to be more like Christ every day. The enemy wants you to stagnate and stay right where you are, because growing stronger in the wisdom and knowledge of Christ is exactly what he doesn’t want.
The way you can avoid falling into the trap of someone who is false is by knowing God and knowing His Word. Read what He has told us, know His character. A true disciple of God will never lead you in opposition to what His word says. Be prepared and be able to test what you are being told, so you can tell the fact from fiction.