“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8
A few years back, I heard about a woman who mysteriously passed after an acute illness. Her name was Rachel Held Evans. I had heard her name before, but never in a positive context. She claimed to be a Christian, but from the things I heard she was more against what the Bible teaches than for it. Other than that, I knew very little about her. In reading about her death, I found a link to her blog and decided to go back to the very beginning of it and see for myself how she started out and what became of her.
Her first entry was about a trip she had taken and how she wanted her blog to be a travel journal of sorts. Her next travel entry was about a trip she’d recently taken to India. The highlight of the entry was her affection for the term Namaste, that she picked up while there. One of the translations she provided, and what seemed to be her favorite was, “The divine in me bows to the divine in you.” She felt that this should be used by Christians to encourage them to be more loving and sympathetic to others. She ends her post with this: “’Namaste: That which is Divine in me bows to that which is Divine in you’. I like it. It encourages mutual submission. It reminds us of the eternal. It sounds hip and cool. What else could you want?”
In one of her posts, she talked about how she’d struggled with the things written in the Bible when she was young but was berated for asking questions or having doubts. Later, in writing about her struggle to make sense of things, she mentioned a book club she belonged to that had chosen to read and discuss a book by Rob Bell about post-modernism. It was in this post that I could see a definite plunge into error. At the end of reading this post, her website shut down on me. I took that as a sign and stopped reading.
I’m not sure if Rachel was out of balance spiritually before her trip to India, but it seemed obvious to me while reading that post, that she was well on her way. I was so sad to see how she was seductively drawn away from God and into error and lies. I wondered if this would have been the case had she been able to confront her doubts and questions when she was younger, instead of being forced to internalize them. I believe we give the enemy a foothold when we keep things inside instead of confronting them head on with the Bible and others who can help us by listening, praying, and talking through our thoughts with us. Outside of this, our brain has no choice but to deal with these things the only way it can; and that usually leads to some type of fantastical solution in the absence of fact.
But as tragic as this story is, this post isn’t really about Rachel Held Evans
It’s about you, and me, and all the others out there who in ourselves are just as susceptible to a similar end. The Bible warns us to be careful of this very thing; “So let the one who thinks he is standing be careful that he does not fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:12, NET. None of us are so strong that we can relax and let down our guard. The enemy is seductive. And after millennia of studying and deceiving the human race, he is very good at what he does.
At the core of every lie is at least a pinch of truth, and that’s what makes it so believable. But there are no varying degrees of truth in God’s word, so I want to encourage you today to:
- Keep your spiritual eyes and ears open to the Holy Spirit. If we draw near to God, He will draw near to us and He will warn us if and when our hearts and minds begin to stray.
- Be careful to read and meditate on His word so you can recognize a lie when it comes your way. We cannot allow ourselves to go down the path of deception for even a moment, because it is a slippery slope. Once we give way to it, it’s very difficult to return. All things are possible with God, but all things are not easy. So guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus above all else.
- Stay in community with other believers. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 NIV It’s so easy to wander when we isolate ourselves. But when we stay in fellowship with other believers, we invite them into our thoughts and belief system and can provide accountability to one another. Most who have wandered from the faith have either intentionally or unintentionally separated themselves from accountability at some point in their walk; or they chose to surround themselves with others who only agreed with them and presented no challenge to their doctrinal positions. Neither of these scenarios is healthy or productive and both result in little to no protection against the lies of the enemy.
Solomon’s words of wisdom were never more relevant than they are today:
“My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and let your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.” Proverbs 4:23-27
In Rachel’s case, things went on to snowball into gross error and heresy. She was a young, vibrant, and very influential woman with many followers and supporters; and only God knows how many people she dragged down this dark road with her before her death. I pray that God has and will continue to open the eyes and hearts of her family and those who were misled by her teaching, to the Truth of his Word. And I hope she had the opportunity to truly repent and turn to Christ before her death.
Sealed in Christ, Copyright © 2022 by Sixth Seal Ministries
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.