Wednesday, February 4, 2015

How Deception Became a Part of My Walk with God

I was raised Catholic by my family, but truthfully I knew nothing about God. On my mother's side my uncle was a Catholic priest. One of her sisters was a nun and so was her aunt. Yet somehow in this family who was very "devout" and spiritual, I did not understand how Jesus and God fit together in the equation. As I got older, I didn't want anything to do with it. I avoided all things of God and did not talk about Him at all. If someone brought up their faith I was extremely uncomfortable and usually changed the topic.

The first non-Catholic minister I ever saw preach was Dan Mohler in 2012. Some people would be absolutely amazed because they respect this man of God, but for me it meant nothing. We made the journey to this unknown church. We got there and I wasn't used to this kind of service at all. The music was too loud and it sent my body into a sensory overload fit. My heart rate was ridiculously high just sitting there due to my health problems.

Finally he started to preach. He sure was lively and happy, but I had no idea what Pastor Dan was talking about. It was so far above my level of understanding of God that I basically gave up trying to listen to him. Sad but true!! At the end of the meeting I made my way up to the front to get prayer and a woman came up to pray for me. I thanked her. Then my husband came back over to me and he said, "I want to get baptized".

That night I was confused by the message. I knew nothing about Jesus. I did not know what He did for me at all and yet somehow I got baptized. I can blame my husband for that! haha I was baptised at Harvest Chapel on June 16, 2012.

About a month later I had an impression to quit all of the health stuff. It felt forceful and painful to me at the time because all I had ever known was doctors, science, researching supplements, genetic stuff and chronic illness FB groups and forums.

That was when my real journey began. That is when I started watching videos and reading about healing theology. This was the most dangerous time for me because I had no foundation whatsoever and yet I was like a dry sponge ready to soak up anything I could find.

Today plenty of teachers focus solely on the "Finished work" and the Book of Acts. They say healing is always flowing and always right now and they have plenty of scriptures to promote this idea. Well as someone who was sick for 12 years at that point, I fell for it. I wanted healed now. I wanted healed today. I wanted MY life back now. Hook, line and sinker, I wanted it!

Since I came in by way of Dan Mohler and Todd White, I immediately gravitated towards these ministries and those who preached a similar message. I was feeding on their teachings and thought I was growing in faith. I was able to repeat what they said and it all sounded really good! But honestly beneath the surface, I had nothing...

I went down this path for months. I got prayer from anyone who came to the general area. I believed! I wanted healed! I was told by another minister that "God wants you healed more than you do!"... YES Sign me up!

But then nothing was changing and I started to question things. This is when I realized that there was more to this than what these guys were preaching. I started noticing a general disdain for the sick in the Church despite so many ministries focusing on healing.

I finally learned that although Jesus is a healer and "paid the price", that God also wanted to do a work in me. I didn't really know what that meant at the time. However I was told repeatedly in these circles that was not true. Many people will neatly try to separate suffering, tribulation and trials away from sickness. They may agree that a trial can be a car accident or a loss of a job, but could NEVER be sickness. Sickness is MUCH scarier to think of as a trial because it's out of our control. We can't just snap our fingers and make it ok overnight.

At that time, I agreed that sickness was not a trial because I certainly did not want to be sick anymore. Trials are for other people, not for me.

I was repeatedly told that God's work in me was "already done" in Christ and that we no longer have to go through periods like that. I was repeatedly told that we are already perfect and our healing has already happened in the Spirit because of what Jesus has done on the Cross. I was also told that, as far as God is concerned, "you are already healed".

That sounds great and easy, but it made me confused, frustrated and eventually angry as life got harder physically, emotionally and financially. My life is an absolutely disaster. haha

I was repeatedly told "You're already healed" meeting after meeting after meeting. I was tired of hearing it! I was tired of the talk.

Others said that I needed to find someone who could "represent Jesus to me in the way I needed" and once I did that, then I would be healed.

Unknowingly this caused me to chase MEN instead of Jesus Christ.

Looking back now for a long time I was fighting not against the devil, but against God wanting to do something much larger in my heart and in my life.

There is a deception in the church that says everything is already done. Some call it hyper-grace, some call it greasy grace, I personally believe it's an exaggeration of the Finished Work of the Cross. Those who believe in this message claim everything is already completed and done.

Am I saying that Jesus needs to come back and die on the cross again? NO
Am I saying that Jesus did not accomplish what He came to do? NO
Am I saying that I am justified by my works? NO!
Am I saying that there aren't some truths in the "finished work"? NO there are some great truths!!

However what I am saying is that we need to be balanced with what the Finished Work truly accomplished and what we are expected to do now that we are in a relationship with Him.

Deception came into my walk with God because of the unbalanced healing theologies I was following.

Some say you do not need to sacrifice anything for God, Jesus sacrificed it all.
Some say you don't have to go through wilderness seasons, Jesus went through the wilderness.
Some say you have everything now, today. Healing is now, not tomorrow.
Some say if you think God heals in His timing, that is unbelief.
Some say there is no journey.
Some say you are already perfected (mature).
Some say you have all the spiritual gifts now.
Some say everything is now.

And it was these messages which made me nearly walk away from God.

It was these messages that had me walking around in despair because I thought I had missed it. I thought that God was mad at me for not saying my prayers with enough "faith". It was these messages which had me screaming at God in my head for an entire week. It was these messages that almost made me give up and tell God I was done with Him. It was these messages which made me question God's love for me.

And somehow in that pain and in that brokenness, I finally found God and finally found balance. God was finally able to build a strong foundation in me where I had to abandon everything I thought I knew.

In life bad stuff is going to happen and when someone is IN Christ, it does not mean bad things do not happen. In the Finished Work crowd, there tends to be an emphasis that trials won't come or will be immediately overcome to those who really believe "it is finished" or really "know who they are in Christ". This is deception and an imbalanced view of what Jesus accomplished. It leads those who have generally good lives to be exalted as better "sons of God" than those who are struggling with trials, sickness and other things. This is clearly not true.

God will use the trials and the bad things that happen to us for His Good. He will use them to test and purify our faith to make us a more mature Christian. Sometimes these obstacles if they are large enough, they can be used by God as a wilderness season before He decides to fulfill His promises.

But this idea completely goes against what many healing ministers teach.

The diet industry makes something like 60 BILLION dollars a year on diet pills and gimmicky exercise machines. This industry is fueled by people who want to lose weight, but don't want to do it "the hard way" and there is a captive audience too. A 60 billion dollar audience.

Well I fell for the spiritual equivalent of the diet pill. I wanted to be healed now, but I did not want it to be hard. I wanted it to be easy and not cost me anything. There is a very captive, desperate audience who will buy the books, watch the teachings and exalt teachers into leadership positions.

So in the diet industry we see, 
"Just take this pill and you will lose fat fast!".
"Just buy this abs machine and you will be ripped in no time".

In the exaggerated Finished Work healing ministries we see,
"It is finished. It is already done. Just receive what God already did, today".
"God wants you healed more than you do!"
"You have all dominion!"

And just like all of those people who want to lose weight easy, I did not want my spiritual walk with God to be tough. I didn't want to wait and have to walk through the fire to get what He had promised to me in Christ. I completely ignored the Old Testament and tried to somehow separate the God who wrote that with the God who wrote the New Testament.

So I collected for myself teachers who agreed that everything is now and is easy.
I followed the Todd Whites, the Dan Mohlers, the Curry Blakes, the Pete Cabreras, the Andrew Wommacks, the Art Thomases.

I repeated the mantras and chants. 
"I'm a daughter of God, I have all authority given unto me in Christ".
"By His stripes I WAS healed"
"Today is the day of salvation!"

Many of these things by themselves are biblical truths, but in the ways they are used become deception.

Desperation and persistence are bad words to the "Finished work" ministers. Everything is always about today and if you go to sleep sick, then YOU failed today. That is how these ministers preach it. They believe God's hands are tied and it is up to receive what "God has already done", so there is very little room for long term battles without condemnation setting in.

These distorted views of God are absolutely devastating to a person's walk with Him.
I was a baby Christian who knew nothing at all. I was a completely blank slate. I was a dry sponge ready to soak up anything I could find and in that was the problem. I did not soak up the pure living water of Jesus, but dirtied water along with the living water.

The underlying deception that I fell for actually prevents and stunts our maturity in Christ.

  • It is lifting up immature believers in the Lord who are simply repeating catchphrases from other ministers.
  • It is lifting up believers in the Lord who think everyone who is struggling "just don't know who they are in Christ".
  • It is lifting up an army of narcissistic people who are in spiritual pride and have no grace whatsoever for people.

If I had been healed at the first meeting at Harvest Chapel, I would have been a horrible person. I would have been a complete arrogant, prideful monster. I would have been a prideful healed person who went around and abused those who were not healed. I would have thought that I "did it right"and that was why I got healed. I would have taken credit for my healing.

And God knew it and so I believe He delayed my healing in order to show me the condition of my heart. He delayed my healing to do a larger work in me that needed to be done, so He could use me later on. Instead of just wanting to be healed to move on with my life, now I want healed to do the work that God has called me to do. I gain my life to lose my life to be a servant of God.

These groups whether they realize it or not, but they have rejected the means that God our Father in heaven prepares us for leadership, for ministry and for a life that bears good fruit. When they say everything is now and today, they deny God's Sovereignty and the specific plans He has for each one of us.  They claim everything that Jesus did is past tense and now we have all authority and all dominion. They continually emphasize that Jesus was "just a man in right relationship with God who knew His identity" and that we are just like Him. They elevate the deity of man and diminish the divinity of Jesus Christ.

Let the Lord mature us in His time as we seek Him for healing, for life and for the promises He has made to all of us in Christ. Yes it does not always feel good, but just like having to lose weight the hard way, it can be a tough journey, one with ups and downs. However thankfully we are putting ourselves in the hands of a good God. We can trust in His ways and in His methods and in His timing.

And this is how I fell into deception and I praise God for His grace that He knew better and that He had a more perfect plan in store for my life.

Today I continue to believe God for a complete healing of everything in my life and now when that day comes, I will truly understand the magnitude of what God did in my life. I will understand the grace that He poured out on me and I will truly give all Glory to Him and not to my faith and not that I finally just believed "right". I will know that I did nothing to deserve healing and it is all God's grace.