Our culture is becoming more intrigued by mystics; and its impacting believers of Christ, too. Some are being strayed away from the truth being led to believe that to know God supernaturally can be accomplished by going beyond the scriptures, doctrine, teachings and the church. While they claim that these four are important, they spend a great deal of time seeking a supernatural experience – almost paranormal and otherworldly.
Timothy tells us these people need to come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil. Indeed they do! They often engage in godless and empty chatter which leads to destruction of their very souls. These people even have the power to destroy the faith of others, sadly because others are not rooted in truth. These others are weak willed and saturated with the sin of SELF.
Timothy states so clearly that “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Notice the purpose of scripture: teach-rebuke-correct-train. What is the servant of God being taught, rebuked, corrected and trained for? Good work and that good work is to serve others – not themselves. The only service to us is to be equipped for God’s will. The greatest of God’s will (commands) is to love God and love others.
What I find interesting is how these mystics hide in small obscure places for their “church” services – a place to practice “their ministry” in secret. I also notice how small these gatherings are. The recycling of the congregants (where some go and come back) is perceived as growth when in fact all that is growing is a deceived body of followers. We are supposed to be a city on the hill, a light burning brightly not to be hidden.
Jesus rebuked the devil’s temptation with His value of the word of God, “…Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Bread is of the world; it sustains our temporary body; but our souls need to live off the word of God. We have been blessed with God’s words – the words He has granted us to live by. If there is more to come, which I am sure there is, we have not been granted this as of yet. We need to trust Jesus when he said to his disciples, “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (John 16:12). Seeking beyond what God has given us is a dangerous thing, because we end up with what the flesh or demons produce not what is of God. God has restricted us from knowing anything beyond His word. Trust Him with His word and what He has given! Going beyond His boundaries creates a tsunami of deathly problems.
God has also given us the gift of the church. The church serves the purposes of fellowship, accountability, support, prayer, and solid doctrinal teachings. The first church’s disciples were devoted to the Apostles teachings, to prayer, to fellowship and breaking of bread. (Acts 2:42) Being devoted is to heed their leading and make this gathering a priority in our lives. The writer of Hebrews encourages us,“…to consider how we can spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together…” (Hebrews 10:25). If we neglect the church, we seclude ourselves and become susceptible to the twisting of truth by the devil. We cannot go beyond the church to find God – when we do we neglect His Spirit whom lives in others.
Fellowship, growing in God’s word together, worshiping with one another bonds us to God, the Son and Spirit together as One. The very desire Jesus prayed for us is found in John 17:21-23, “Father, just as you are in me and I am in you, may they (we) also be in us so that the world may believe that you sent me…that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity.” Jesus also prayed that we would each be sanctified by truth – not sanctified by experiences or other worldly aromas, environments, or psychic bizarre happenings. The latter gives a superficial power to people while the former glorifies God’s power on earth. The aim is to make Jesus evident to all on earth – not show how great we are.
God is Spirit. Jesus makes God known through human flesh. Jesus tore the curtain and allowed the opportunity for the Spirit of God to live inside us making God evident to others through our flesh. While, we are not God, we do bring Him glory by His Spirit living through us. Without Jesus, we would not be able to bring God glory. Jesus is God – He is the exact representation of His Father in Heaven (Hebrews 1:3). He is God with us (Matthew 1:23). He is Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6). He is God and Savior (2 Peter 1:1). He is the Word who was God in the beginning (John 1:1).
The difference between the fruit of the Spirit and the fruit of mysticism is who is gaining glory. The Spirit seeks to glorify God and edify others; mysticism seeks to glorify and edify self. Mystics seek an atmosphere and they create channels for spirits that result in shaking and convulsing. Their minds become fuzzy, so they can be easily persuaded. They think their every thought is a word from God; they see no need to test the spirits. They simply fly forward with their internal leanings. They seldom look to the word for they think they have elevated above it and found a new pathway to who God is. This proves that mysticism has a very inward focus – to the point of being senseless not serviceable.
On the other hand, the Spirit of God produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23). All of this fruit serves others. This fruit magnifies God’s character; each explains Him. Each equips us for ministry to God’s people; by this fruit we are prepared to lead the lost to Christ.
Mysticism is tempting and intriguing, especially living in world of stress. It can temporarily serve our need that calms our nerves, but it is dangerous. You may have an encounter that makes you think, “I could not have had this without God!” However, you can have “otherworldly” encounters without God – you can have them with the devil. He seeks to deceive you through being a camouflage of light…but then he whams you with his evil purposes in the end. That purpose is to steal, kill and destroy you and any kind of representation you have of Christ. In essence, when you go the route of mysticism, you become a puppet in the devil’s hand. You are not in control, nor do you have power. You are a dummy in a demon’s playground.
Jesus says, “Sanctify them in truth. Your Word is truth” (John 17:17). Isaiah said, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8). Going beyond God’s teachings, His holy scriptures, His flawless doctrine and steering from the purpose of His church that equips us is to sell our soul to a multitude of sins. Don’t be a dummy in the devil’s playground! Be a useful vessel in God’s Kingdom and produce fruit that lasts!