Grace and peace be unto you.
“…Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
Not so long ago, there was an incident that involved an alleged false teacher and prophet which resulted in a few deaths and many arrests. This led me to conclude that some of us are not as prepared as we should be in managing false teachings and prophecies. Responding to them appropriately is not an easy feat. It requires mental, emotional preparation, and decisive action. Even so, we know that all things are possible with God, therefore we are well able to reject these heresies (Luke 1:37).
Five Ways To Defend Against False Teachings And Prophecies
1. Learn God’s Word so you can identify false teachings and prophecies. Meditating on God’s Word is mentioned at least 20 times in the Bible. This highlights its importance. When we study and meditate on his Word, we learn his thoughts and ways and can readily identify heresies. It is advisable that we adapt the practices of the Berean Jews who eagerly listened to Paul’s teachings but compared them to the Scriptures to ensure that they are true (Acts 17:11).
2. Listen to teachers and prophets whose integrity has been proven over time. Many false teachers and prophets formed their own church for questionable reasons. Oftentimes than not, they have serious character flaws that disqualify them from being leaders. The Bible gives clear guidance on the characteristics of a Christian leader. Scripture says, “Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money” (1 Timothy 3:2-3). If your leader does not fit this description, it is in your best interest to find another church to attend because he will lead you astray.
3. Exercise self-control over your emotions and make use of your reasoning skills constantly. Many false teachers and prophets use techniques that stimulate the emotions and give a “feel good experience.” Unsuspecting persons tend to focus on this experience and ignore the red flags. Nonetheless, when we control our emotions and examine the teachings and prophecies, we can make wise decisions. God has given us a spirit of self-control, hence we can control our emotions (2 Timothy 1:7).
4. Use your power of discernment to identify evil spirits (Hebrews 5:14). False teachings and prophecies are inspired by evil spirits (Ephesians 6:12). Consequently, when we discern their presence, we can immediately reject the teachings and prophecies. God gave us discernment skills but we need to develop them. To this end, we can engage in prayer and fasting, while obeying his commands. Scripture says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).
5. Recognize the importance of God’s Word. Some time ago, I heard the testimony of a converted false prophet. He stated that people fall prey to false teachers and prophets because they put their needs above God’s Word. For example, if they desire healing, they are more likely to obey the directives of false teachers and prophets than believe God’s Word. The Bible teaches that God’s commands give life and are profitable for righteous living (Matthew 4:4; 2 Timothy 3:16). Furthermore, Scripture says that God will meet our needs according to his plan, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us (1 John 5:14). It is in our best interest to embrace the truth that God’s Word supersedes manmade teachings.