I’ve wondered for a while now how difficult it would be for pastors in the charismatic and pectecostal movements, to pull out of pride before it becomes too late when disaster strikes. It is my aim for this article to see if if anyone can possibly relate to what pastors may go through which may lead them to spiritual deception. This is not to condemn them, but to highlight possibly, what it is that brings them into deception and how hard it is not to be dragged into it. It’s taken me a while to write this, so I hope I can do this article justice.
Have you ever led someone to the Lord? Have you ever prophesied over someone and you saw Jesus fulfill what He said through you? Has God ever used you for healing?
If so, have you not ever been delighted?
Hopefully the answer has been ‘yes’. But in that pentecostal or charismatic moment of delight, don’t you want to tell everyone what just happened? And don’t you find that incling to exaggerate just that little bit? And that little bit more… And more?
I’ve been guilty of exaggerating my story afterwards when God used me. The amazing reality is, God moves in such a normal way it’s kind of boring, but at the same time surreally miraculous. What makes it harder not to exaggerate is the other person’s miracle has drummed up that excitement in me along with their excitement. I feel a rush and then I start telling others… And boy! How so EASY it is just to exaggerate just that little bit more! And because they weren’t there… even more! Unfortunately, this was me and I’d hate to even think I’d do this again – but I probably will much to my dismay. One reason why I find it so hard is that their does seem to be a ‘Spiro’ competition in any church environment that seems to encourage this kind of exaggeration – or to put it more bluntly, lying.
I’m not trying to point the finger to others. I blame myself for falling to the temptation that by exaggerating I might get somewhere. However, examining my pentecostal/charismatic roots, I’ve seen that this kind of exaggeration has always been endorse even by those in leadership. Advertising is not lying in church cultures. I can say ‘God is doing a work here’ or ‘This is a move of God’ whether I am right or wrong. But this is it!
We have been used by God. We are being used by God. Does that mean we can make such bold claims and make even bolder exaggerated claims because that will justify people to get on board with you believe in to be God’s time? I think this hyper-excited time when we see God do something that a lot of damage is done. I would like to try and bring this down to what a pastor may feel and believe on a more personal level.
Now let’s just say a pastor has just been used by God to bring healing to someone. Rightly the congregation and the pastor glorify God. But then it happens again, and again. The pressure is now placed on that one man, the pastor, the power-bringer to move once again. For a long time, this faithful pastor has had a congregation of 3o people. It doesn’t seem sinful for him to declare that God is doing something amazing ‘RIGHT NOW’. The offering goes up and more people come. The pressures on for God to do something though next Sunday is haunting him… But all eyes are on him, the spotlight not moving off him as he takes his seat.
The following week, the pastor is invited to speak again. Because everyone saw God use him. By this stage, is he trapped? The cost of being honest could hurt his ministry and the people’s faith who bought family members to get healed by this man. He feels pressured. He buckle’s. He prays for God to forgive him as he steps out and starts building people’s faith as he told them about what happened last week. He hope’s God does something. He feels something change in the air and then gets the confidence to pray for people to get healed or fall under the influence of the Spirit.
The people are DELIGHTED!
However, people who want to get healed or so yielding to God or him to be healed that they fall automatically, believing that God is going to heal them. All this is done with good intention. All people are seeing are positive responses. And as the people encourage the pastor, the pastor is encouraging the people. The same peculiar procedure happens the following week. Some of those unhealed from the week before, come down again. This time God only to chose to heal one, but to himand everyone else, it looked liked thirty. People are starting to mutter the word revival – a controversial word among the church. But everyone is encouraged to believe that God must be doing something. Finally the pastor accidentally calls out REVIVAL or OUTPOURING and more people are now coming to see this pastor move in the ‘Spirit’…
Is the snare already set?
Too many movements have had God do something. Then hype and swarm overtake it. How can any minister ever succeed to deal with this scenario the right way? The poor pastor is caught up in it. Would they dare say no and ‘quench’ what the Spirit is doing in there meetings, if they feel the Spirit isn’t doing anything?
The pastor is perfectly paralysed! Should he do what he thinks is right or what the people want? Should he do what he hopes God wants to do right now beside the people wanting him to bring down revival glory? People are seeing ‘miracles’ and are delighted to see the pastor perform.
How is it possible to separate one’s feelings and excitement among the other excitement generated by the crowd? Even more challenging, how can the pastor listen to the Holy Spirit if the eyes of a hundred people are watching your every move and holding to your words? With the voice and eyes of the crowd pressuring you to be something you’re not, how can one at the same time know they are not being led into deception or becoming more pride-filled? Is it no wonder such innocent delights turn into such deceptive disasters?
I have been trying to see what some celebrity ministers may have faced, to where they have got to now. How can we honestly blame them for being deceived if they were that incredibly vulnerable to begin with? I sympathise with them as I write this. When is the bait taken by the preacher or pastor, congregation and visitors?
I’m considering the Speck and the Plank at the moment,