Chris has a motorized wheelchair he travels around the neighborhood with, greeting the neighbors, dogs, children, and keeping a running conversation and commentary going about everything he sees.
As a result, his path down the gravel roads of our neighborhood zigzag based on where his focus is for the moment - a squirrel chattering at him from a tree trunk here, and over he zigs to talk to it. "Hello naughty squirrel, what do you think you're doing?" he asks with a chuckle to himself. Just then 'Shadow', our neighbor's black Giant Schnauzer will bark a greeting to Chris and off he zags to see him responding 'Hello Shadow, I'm coming, I'm coming", and on through the neighborhood we zig zag down the road and drive ways of the neighbors - he rides, I walk! It is 1/4 mile (.40 km) from our house to the mail boxes at the edge of the neighborhood which is our turn around point, meaning we turn around and do it all over again, often for 1 - 1 1/2 hours at a time, back and forth, back and forth.
As Barb and I were talking about the latest craze to grab the attention of Christians, The Mystery of the Shemitah (Which I enjoyed), I aked this question: "I wonder how many Christians realize they are being manipulated?
She asked what I meant, and I replied that the "Christian" business system pushes things so that just as one hot topic begins to cool, another is pushed to the forefront, so that the body of Christ's attention zigzags from one 'hit' book, teaching, event, or movie to the next in a never ending parade. Some of it is by design, some by a spirit attached to it. Much of the body of Christ goes from one 'fad' or 'hit' to the next, like Chris zig zagging around the neighborhood.
You don't find that behavior in the New Testament nor taught by its writers.
Barb and I have known the Lord since the mid-1970's, and we've seen zigzag Christians all our lives. Back when I was a teen a spiritual book (but not Christian) my mom pushed on me was Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and before or after that (I don't recall) she insisted I read 'Born Again' by Chuck Colson. After that it was 'From Goo to You by Way of the Zoo' by Harold Hill, which I remember as being funny and entertaining. Then "They Speak with Other Tongues" by John Sherrill, and so on.
But rather than go forward from the 1970's, how about going backward from the present. Here are a few: The Mystery of the Shemitah, before it 'The Four Blood Moons'. Before it 'Heaven is For Real', and stretching it out a bit we had The Harbinger, the Left Behind series...going back still we had The Prayer of Jabez...and you get the idea. Many of you can fill in the blanks because you've seen the pattern too.
Not only were there books and movies, but also 'outpourings' and the related preachers and teachings that went with them, or at least were part of the culture temporarily. There was a time of named/naming angels, going to heaven at will, open heaven, personal prophecy, pleading blood lines, gold dust, feathers, demon related teaching/deliverance, inner healing, name-tag 'apostles', 'bishops', 'prophets', paying for personal prophecy, and going back further to name it claim it, get rich quick, the 100 fold return, and so on...
The Lord is saying FOCUS!
Last week I shared how the Lord has now 3 direct times this year in visitations with me plus another time in a ministry situation, told me the season of the body of Christ now is for us to know to whom we belong. That means it is a season in the Spirit to focus our attention, to narrow our investment of time and money to the important things - the people we fellowship with, are on the same spiritual page with, and stop zig zagging to the many Christian headlines screaming for our attention.
I love to be in the presence of the Lord. But I've never chased His presence nor felt I needed to. He lives in me, what more could I ask? His outpouring is first in me so why do I need to chase the newest Christian superstar? But there is a stream in the body of Christ that flocks to each latest 'outpouring', some of them living event to event which are spiritual highs, only to return home to real life which are spiritual lows.
And I love a good mystery, don't get me wrong. I love how there are many symbols and signs in the Word that speak of spiritual mysteries. But there is a stream in the body of Christ that makes that their focus, to find some deeper mystery of the lining up of world events with scripture so they may divine the future, searching for some key to unlock the date for the rapture or WWIII or an invasion of Israel.
The spirit of fear - this is important!
Perhaps the biggest single thing getting the body of Christ's attention right now isn't a single event, book, teaching, or movie. It is the spirit of fear. In fact, the spirit of fear is what motivates a lot of people who devote great mental and emotional energy to all these things. Cloaked in spirituality, the truth is they run after these things because they are afraid of the future.
They are afraid their way of life will change. They are afraid money will fail. They are afraid they will be left behind to go through the Tribulation, or persecution, or hardship. They are in fact afraid because they don't know Him well enough to be in His presence where there is no fear, only love, peace, and certainty. They deal with the spirit of fear and worry about the future by running after the fad rather than getting alone with Him who lives within.
Beware of the spirit of fear attaching itself to Christian teaching, books, and 'outpourings/events'.
The characteristic of children
"We are not meant to remain children at the mercy of every chance wind of teaching and the jockeying of men who are expert in the craft presentation of lies. Be we are meant to hold firmly to the truth in love, and to grow up in every way into Christ, the head. For it is from the head that the whole body, as a harmonious structure knit together by the joints with which it is provided, grows by the proper functioning of individual parts to its full maturity in love." Ephesians 4:14-16, JB Phillips Translation
Most translations translate 'children' (Greek: nepios) 'babes' or 'babies'. A more literal translation of 'every chance wind of teaching' could be 'tossed by the waves and whirled about by every fresh wind of teaching.'
The word translated here as 'expert in the craft presentation' is the Greek word, 'cubos', in English, cube, and refers to one rolling the dice in a game of chance to trick and manipulate those in the game. The rest of the phrase in Greek is 'panourgia' and literally means men who are 'ready to do anything'.
It means we as the body of Christ are not to remain babies or young children, running to and fro from one slick presentation to the next for it is actually deception cloaked in Christian spirituality. It makes our spiritual lives like one floating on the waves of a storm.
We are to grow up in love in Christ, focusing on our single goal; To be like Him. Drop every distraction that takes away from that singular goal. Grow up body of Christ, stop being distracted by the manipulators. Be distracted by Him and pay the price to learn how to get in His presence, the discipline, the lifestyle of Him - the meek and lowly of heart Servant of all - we are to be like Him!
Do you know Him?
Many Christians don't truly know the Lord. They know OF Him. They know ABOUT Him. They have corporate experiences of His presence in some church meetings. They know some principles of His kingdom. But they either don't know Him well enough to NOT be afraid, even sometimes, those who've known Him for decades. Or they've never learned to discipline and control their thoughts and emotions to bring them captive to His Presence in their spirit.
As a result they zig zag in their spiritual focus like Chris zigzags around the neighborhood. As the Lord told me in the visitation of February 2001: "See what I see; people running to and fro to this meeting and that looking for the spectacular, thinking THAT is supernatural, while they miss the supernatural work in their midst, even in their own heart, for the process of discipleship IS supernatural."
This series is prophetic in nature and is what He is saying about growing up instead of running to and fro. This is about how to grow up and truly know Him. More next week, until then, blessings,