The true purpose of life is to develop a strong personal bond with our three glorious Creators: Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. We were created by Them for this reason, and until we align our priorities with Theirs, we’re missing the point of everything. But once we do reach the point where we are seriously pursuing God in our hearts, what then? Well, that’s when we get into the vast and thrilling topic of spiritual maturity.
There are two main areas in which we need to mature: knowing God better, and treating Him better. We can’t do either of these things without His help, but when we are responding well to God in our souls, He delights in helping us with these things. It isn’t a negative to God that we start off as such blind, bumbling creatures. He made us this way on purpose because God enjoys maturing us. This is very important to realize, because it’s easy to become very frustrated with your own rate of progress. We often want to grow faster and in a different order than God wants us to. But since we can’t grow without Him, His plan for us always ends up being the one we have to conform to.
Spiritual discernment has been turned into an absurd game of sorcery by the Church. When Christians boast of having “the gift of discernment,” they usually mean they are extra good at “sensing” demons. Yet the louder someone boasts of their discernment, the less discerning they really are, and some of the blindest fools we have in the Church are those who go around promoting themselves as experts on the spiritual realms. You simply can’t become wise while you’re obsessing over demons, because God is jealous and He withholds wisdom from those who refuse to make Him their first priority.
When we talk about spiritual discernment in our material, we’re talking about real discernment, and that simply means being able to tell truth from lies. Since demons are a frequent source of lies in the Christian’s life, demons come up a lot in discussions about discernment, but demons are certainly not who we want to be focusing on. There’s no value whatsoever in trying to become an expert on demons. We only want to know enough about demons to be able to tell when they are trying to deceive us—after that, we shouldn’t care in the least what demons are up to. Demons are not our focus in life, God is, and God is jealous, which means He wants to be the One we find more fascinating than mere created beings.
Now we’ve said that spiritual maturity is about knowing God better and improving our treatment of Him. Spiritual discernment plays a big role in this process. To know God better, we have to learn how to tell when we’re hearing truth about Him and when we’re hearing lies. To treat God better, we need to have an accurate understanding of what pleases Him. So where do we start? Well, there are certain core truths about how God wants you to respond to Him which will radically change your approach to life once you get a hold of them. And once you understand some core truths, discernment is a simple matter of recognizing when someone is trying to sell you a reversal of those truths.
Now your relationship with God is a soul thing. Your soul is the part of you that He matures, your soul’s response to God is what you are judged by, and how your soul is responding to Him in this very moment determines whether or not He is pleased with you right now. There are many soul attitudes which please God, and as He matures you, He will teach you what those attitudes are and help you cultivate them. Some attitudes are more important than others, and there are four which are absolutely vital to you moving forward in your walk with God. Because the Church as a whole is fiercely rebelling against God, she does not want you to develop these four attitudes. Instead, she is constantly bombarding you with false teaching about God and pressuring you to engage in activities which will make you embrace the polar opposite of these four critical attitudes.
If God was a father who was trying to teach his son good manners, the Church would be the evil nanny who encourages the child to be rude and secretly rewards him every time he lips off. The Church is currently warring against God—intentionally and determinedly. If you are serious about pleasing God, you need to realize what a dark place the Church is currently in because so much of what she teaches you is designed to keep you either stuck in spiritual stagnation or lodged in willful rebellion. Happily, you are not responsible for what the Church is doing, but you certainly don’t want to end up missing out on what you could have with God because you let the Church become your primary influence in life. This is the great challenge for serious Christians: they must learn to pursue God at the cost of losing the support of the Church, for the Church has become quite aggressive in trying to drive out serious Christians from her midst. You’ll get along fine with the Church as long as you’re willing to embrace attitudes which insult God. But once you get serious about honoring Him, you will find it impossible to stay aligned with many of the Church’s foundational doctrines.
So now let’s talk about these four soul attitudes that are so essential to you forming a close relationship with God. The first is reverence. God wants you to develop a deep respect for Him which is based on a fear of His infinite power. Next is submission. God is going to work with you to develop an attitude of absolute submission to Him in all things. He will not invite you past certain levels with Him until you invite Him to totally dominate you as the Supreme Authority in your life. The third essential attitude is dependency. It is a fact that you are absolutely dependent on God for all things, but we rarely acknowledge this. To grow close to God, you need to learn to acknowledge and embrace your absolute dependency on Him. And finally, there is the attitude of trust. Your entire relationship with God is built on trust that God’s Character is good, but there are other things you need to learn to trust Him about as well. You need to trust that He is for you in life, that His ways are better than yours, and that He can be counted on to do what will be best for your soul in the long term. These four attitudes are so essential to your walk with God that He is going to be constantly working on them in your life. No matter what kind of trial you’re going through, you can be sure that the development of one or more of these attitudes is at least one of the reasons that trial is in your life.
So then, reverence, submission, trust, and dependency are four key principles which God is going to be talking to you about for your entire life. Even after you die, you will continue to be working on these things. There’s no such thing as “completing” your education on reverence. There are infinite levels of understanding on this topic, and each time you progress to a new level, you will move closer to God. So the goal is not to conquer these four things, but to be continuously growing in these four areas, understanding that they are the foundation upon which intimacy with God is built.
Now once you understand that God wants these four things from you, you’re ready to start practicing a whole new level of discernment. By now you’ve picked up a lot of ideas from the Church about who God is and how He operates. Which of those ideas are right and which are wrong? Well, any teaching or ritual which encourages you to reject one of the four essential soul attitudes is a lie. The more you think about what you’re being taught, the more you’ll realize that the Church is constantly trying to reverse these four principles on you. Let’s now take a closer look at each one to see how she does this.
What motivates you to obey God when He asks you to do something that you really don’t want to do? If you were taught the Gospel message properly, you should have found part of it very offensive to your pride. There’s nothing pleasant about God saying you are a sinner who deserves to roast in Hell for all of eternity. Sure, God says He loves you. But He also says that He’ll chuck you into Hell and enjoy torturing you forever unless you meet His requirements for salvation. Our pride hates this message. We don’t like the idea of God having all of the power and all of the say. If we had it our way, God would do a lot of things differently. So given how much God annoys us at times, why do we ever bother to obey Him? The answer is reverence.
Reverence is the natural result of realizing that the Guy who created the entire universe could easily turn your existence into a horrific nightmare if you irritate Him. Reverence is essentially a fear of getting nailed by God’s terrifying wrath. Another common term for reverence is the fear of the Lord, and whenever you find God talking about people fearing Him in the Bible, He’s talking about reverence.
Why do you keep a respectful distance from a buzzing electric fence? Because you understand that the thing has the power to seriously hurt you. Why don’t you stick your hand into a wild lion’s cage? Because you don’t want to get your hand bitten off. Revering God isn’t about cowering in a corner as if we’re trapped in a room with an angry bear. God’s wrath is not some wild, unrestrained monster that’s chasing us down. God says it’s very easy to stay on the right side of Him, as long as we abide by certain rules. You know that the electric fence isn’t going to harm you unless you touch it. You know that the wild lion can’t bite you unless you stick your hand in his area. Proper reverence results in respect, not paralyzed fear. God wants us to talk to Him about every little thing. He wants us to be totally honest with Him, and sometimes that means we’ll be screaming at Him and having bratty hissy fits. But God will draw certain lines in His relationship with you which He will warn you not to cross. And if you cross them, it will be as if you reached out and grabbed that electric fence: you’re going to get nailed. Not because the fence came running after you, but because you refused to respect the sign that warned you to stay back. It is reverence that drives us to submit to God in the first place, and it is reverence that motivates us to keep obeying God after we are saved. Reverence is vital, and you aren’t going to get anywhere with God without it.
So how does the Church try to undermine your reverence for God? There are two main ways. First, she tries to get you to fear the wrong things. God teaches you to fear Him first and foremost, so the Church works hard to try and teach you to fear anything but Him. Her end time teaching is a classic example of this. When you think about the end times, what words come to mind? The antichrist. Tribulation. 666. These are very common fears for Christians, but who exactly are they fearing? Not God, but demons and human beings. God teaches you to revere Him. God always turns your focus onto Him and off of other things. So what does the Church do? She tries to drag your focus off of God and she teaches you to fear created things more than Him. This is a reversal of truth, and whenever truth is being reversed, you’re being deceived. The reality is that the Church is preparing you all wrong for the end times, and if you listen to her, you’re going to miserably tank when those times arrive. Yes, the end times are very near, and we have a lot of material that will help you prepare. You’ll find that our material is quite different than what the Church teaches because we teach you how to prepare for the end times in a way that pleases God, and that means keeping your focus on Him and pursuing His priorities for you. The Church is lying her face off about the end times and many other things in an effort to block you from developing reverence.
Demons are the number one foes that the Church wants you to fear. She teaches you that mighty Satan rules this world and that he is constantly managing to do things that God hates. The Church teaches you to obsess over demons: to name them, track them, sense them, rebuke them, fight them, and even try to manipulate them. Deliverance ministries are a fine example of this. Deliverance ministers teach that your body is literally possessed by a boatload of demons and that you’ll never get free of them unless you do everything the ministers tell you to do. Deliverance ministries do enormous damage to Christians by both terrorizing them and teaching them to wield powers that they do not have. Whenever you find the power of demons being exalted as greater than the power of God in any area, you are listening to a lie. Whoever you believe to have superior power is who you will revere the most in life, so the Church works hard to get demons to be number one in your mind.
Soul bondage is another fine example of a very popular deception which encourages you to fear demons more than you do God. There is no such thing as soul bondage, just as there’s no such thing as selling your soul to the devil. But Christians are taught to believe in these things because they are fabulous ways to block the development of proper reverence.
Now we said that the Church uses two main strategies to mess you up in the reverence department. The first is to get you to revere the wrong things. The second is to teach you to develop the wrong kind of reverence. Here is where the Church gets very sly in that she teaches you that fearing the Lord is indeed of vital importance—but then she lies to you about what that fear should look like. The key to making this work is to first convince you that God judges you by your earthsuit actions and desires instead of by your soul’s response to Him. Once she gets you to accept a wrong view of how God judges you, it’s very easy to convince you that the moment you make one wrong move, BAM, God reacts with hate. Legalism is a classic example here. Legalistic theology says that you have to earn God’s favor through good behaviors and if you fail, He will be furious with you. This results in you cultivating the wrong kind of reverence—one in which you fear God as you would some huge snarling beast who you were trapped in a room with. Popular teachings here are that there are certain people who God refuses to talk to, that our sins actually prevent God from hearing our prayers, that all sexual perverts are going to burn in Hell, and that God expects you to control your flesh.
There are many souls in this world who have done horrible things, and they want to get right with God, but they are convinced that He would never accept them because they have been taught to develop the wrong kind of reverence. The Church plays a big role in keeping these souls too terrified to dare to reach out to God. Has she successfully worked this scheme on you? Some key indicators that you’re developing the wrong kind of reverence are as follows: you are avoiding certain negative subjects in your prayers because you are convinced that God is disgusted with you (see Overcoming Shame), you think you’ve committed an unpardonable sin, you think God is punishing you for past sins which you have tried to repent of, you think you’re under a generational curse, you keep confessing the same things over and over because you feel like God is still angry with you, you think God is refusing to accept your efforts to repent (see Understanding Repentance), or you think God has predestined you to burn in Hell. We have material on our site which can help you with all of these issues, but it is vital that you gain a correct understanding of how God judges you, because it is deceptions about Divine judgment that all of these other fears are built on. The truth is that God is very easy to succeed with, and that He makes pleasing Him very easy to do no matter what kind of issues you’re currently struggling with. To learn more about this, see Understanding Divine Judgment: Illumination, Empowerment & A God Who Delights In Mercy.
Now let’s move on to the soul attitude of dependency. You are totally dependent on God for all things—this remains true whether you acknowledge it or not. There’s nothing you can do to become less dependent on God, but you can choose to ignore or minimize how dependent you are on Him, and this leads to all sorts of problems. To grow closer to God, you need to acknowledge, accept, and embrace your dependency on God, and this is what He helps you to do. But because the Church wants to hamper your spiritual development, she is constantly putting out teaching that directly opposes the fundamental truth of your dependency on God.
So then, God wants two things from you in the dependency department. First, He wants you to acknowledge that you can do nothing apart from Him. Here is where the Church comes along and insists that you can do all kinds of things apart from God. At the same time, she teaches you to believe that you are very dependent on things other than God: things like your pastors and the prayers of other believers. The second thing God wants you to do is choose to joyfully embrace your dependency on Him. Here is where the Church teaches you to resent the notion that you are totally dependent on Him. Let’s now look at some common doctrines in the Church which promote the wrong view of dependency.
You’ve probably heard it said that’s it’s important for Christians to lift each other up in prayer. But why is this important? The Church teaches you to believe that you desperately need other Christians to prop you up in life. In fact, she tries to convince you that you will be guaranteed to go astray if you don’t fellowship with other believers on a regular basis. She also teaches you that you can’t possibly grow spiritually if you don’t do those daily devotions (see Escaping the Boredom of Reading the Bible). Community confirmation is another popular doctrine in certain denominations, and the idea here is to make you afraid to believe that God has said something to you until the leaders in your church or the whole church body gives you their approval.
But now let’s think about this—who does God say you are dependent on in life? On Him. Well, God is not the Bible, and God is not a human being. So when the Church tries to convince you that you can’t possibly succeed with God unless you are depending on other humans and a physical book, what is she doing? She is trying to prevent you from cultivating yet another soul attitude which is vital to you thriving in your walk with God. Even though the Bible is filled with examples of God pushing people to depend on Him alone in life and reaming them out when they refuse to do so, the Church teaches you to ignore these passages and focus on the fact that you need your pastor to tell you God’s will for your life.
Because she’s aligned herself with demons, and demons love to reverse truth, the Church is always trying to shove reversals of God’s truth down your throat. Not only does she want you to view yourself as utterly dependent on someone other than God, she even goes so far as to teach you that God depends on you. Can we get anymore ludicrous? And yet when you aren’t practicing discernment—which means stopping to ask the Holy Spirit for His view on the things you’re being taught—you end up swallowing the most ridiculous lies.
The way that the Church teaches you to pray is guaranteed to lead you astray. If you can control the way Christians pray, you can actually change their beliefs about God. So if you want Christians to believe that their Creator actually depends on them in life, what do you do? You teach those Christians that prayer is about keeping God informed about what’s happening in this world and telling Him what to do about it.
“God, our nation is turning so dark. Please start a revival here.”
“God, my mother-in-law doesn’t know You. Please make an opportunity for me to share the Gospel with her.”
“God we’re starting a new series on discipleship this week. Soften the hearts of our congregation and give them a hunger to grow closer to You.”
“God, there’s an important election coming up and only one candidate shows regard for You. Please make him be the winner.”
Before you can be comfortable talking to God like this, you have to think He’s a rather blind and limited Being. Do you really think God doesn’t know about your mother-in-law’s salvation status? Do you really think He’s not aware of the election? And notice how you are informing God about what’s really going on with people, as if you are wiser than He is. You clearly assume that your mother-in-law would be open to the truth if she heard it, and you also assume that you are the perfect person to share it with her. You clearly have a very high opinion of the sermons you’ve written for your new series, and you actually have the audacity to tell the Sovereign King how He ought to manage His own creations.
Often when we pray like this, we aren’t trying to be disrespectful. We aren’t trying to talk down to God like He’s some kind of Halfwit who is up in Heaven feeling stumped by all the troubles in the world. And yet, seriously, He’s God. He’s all-knowing and all-wise. As she teaches us to sing songs about God’s great power and wisdom, the Church simultaneously urges us to talk to Him like He’s a moron who desperately needs dots like us to tell Him what to do when. God might have created the entire universe, but He obviously doesn’t know how to run it, which is why we’re always giving Him these useful tips. Here’s an important principle to bear in mind: you don’t give advice to someone who you think is smarter than you. So every time you try to advise God, you’re actually claiming to have superior wisdom than Him in some area.
Now certainly God wants us to share our hearts and preferences with Him. But saying, “I wish You would heal me,” is different than saying, “God, make my medical scan come back with good results.” You see, the Church never has to come right out and say, “God is an incompetent dingdong who depends on you for guidance in life.” She just has to teach you to constantly boss God around, and you’ll arrive at that same conclusion without even trying. The way you pray has a powerful effect on your beliefs. The Church knows this, and by teaching you to pray all wrong, she effectively drives you away from developing those four essential soul attitudes. Because let’s get real: you’re not showing much respect for God if you’re constantly talking down to Him, and once you stop respecting God, there goes your reverence. It’s a domino effect: teach Christians to pray wrong and you can corrupt their entire theology far more effectively than if you stood up and tried to teach them blatant lies. But the Church is in a hurry, so she does both.
Have you ever heard it said that “God can’t move a parked car?” Whenever you hear someone talking about what God can’t do, you know there’s a problem, because God can do anything. Yet while the Church cranks out the worship songs about God’s great abilities, she also teaches you that no one can possibly get saved unless they hear the Gospel message told to them by human lips. This is why we should be living to spread the Gospel, and why it’s so vital that we witness at every opportunity. Don’t you know? Jesus is up in Heaven handcuffed to a chair and He can’t get free and return for that Second Coming until we humans manage to spread the light to every corner of the globe. And as for the Holy Spirit—well, He’d love to say something to you, but He can’t talk until you part His lips for Him by cracking open your Bible. You see, the Holy Spirit might be God Almighty, but everything He’ll ever want to say has already been written down in the Word, and now that He’s out of original thoughts, it’s on you to read the Book. And by the way, if you think that God has told you to do something which contradicts something He’s said in the Bible, then obviously you’re wrong because God would never go against the written words of this book which we’ve all decided to worship in His place (see Present Convictions vs. Past Commands).
See how it works? God depends on you. He needs your help to save people. He needs your help to find His own vocal cords, and He needs your help to do good deeds. The Church teaches that serving God is about assisting a God who can’t possibly get anything done without you (see Understanding Why God Calls Us to Serve Him). And not only does God need you to help Him run this physical world, He also needs you to help Him manage the supernatural realms. Come on, all you mighty prayer warriors and prophetic intercessors. Suit up in that spiritual armor and help God send those demons packing by casting all of your powerful spells. “In Jesus’ Name, I rebuke you!” You gotta say the words, because Jesus doesn’t know what to do or who to zap until you tell Him.
The Church teaches you to view the Holy Spirit like some kind of narcoleptic who keeps dozing off in the middle of a crisis. So you have to keep kicking Him awake with your desperate prayers that draw His attention to the crisis at hand and then you need to tell Him to drive those demons off of you because, well, maybe He’ll assume you’d rather have them stay. After all, the Holy Spirit only created you—you can’t expect Him to know that you don’t find it fun to be harassed by demons. And those darn demons are always slipping past His guard, because they’re so much more clever than God is. What a pain. What a relief that you’re all things in Christ. Well, to be more accurate, the Church teaches you that you’re superior to Christ. You’re superior to all three of your Creators, actually, which is why you’re always bossing Them around. Oh look, it’s Sunday again. Let’s all troop down to the church house to sing some nice insulting songs that let our Gods know what incompetents we think They are. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit who’s always leaving us to come and Fall Afresh—surely He feels blessed when we all pretend to think He’s not already with us. “Lord, reign in me”—if only He would. But in real life we don’t think He’s capable of reigning over anything, which is why we’re always trying to co-rule with Him. Oh, well, maybe we can give Him a boost of esteem by pretending to think He has the chops to reign without our help. There’s nothing like bossing God around to music.
With the Church teaching us to insult God all day every day, is it any wonder we struggle to revere Him? Is it any wonder we go around talking like He is horrified by the evil in this world and groaning over the lost? The Church teaches us to view the Fall as a big whoops that God never wanted to happen. Things were going along so great and then we humans messed everything up by sinning. Then demons somehow took the place over and God has been scrambling to catch up ever since. Poor God. By the time the Church is done deceiving us, He seems like a very pathetic Figure indeed.
Now let’s move on to our third critical attitude: that of trust. God wants you to cultivate absolute trust in Him. But if you really think that God can be trumped by Satan and snookered by clever humans, are you going to trust Him? Not hardly. How wise can God really be if stupid humans can mess up His plans? To ensure that you never develop proper trust in God, the Church teaches you to deny His sovereignty. God teaches that He rules over all things, not just some things. He teaches that He is the Creator and controller of all things. But wait a second—where did sin come from? Where did we get the desire to do sick and twisted things to each other? Where did demons come from? Where did death, disease, and pain come from? If it exists, God made it, God is sustaining it, and God is controlling it. This is what it means to be the Sovereign Ruler. And it is only when you understand that God is in total control of all things that you can totally trust Him.
If God is only in partial control, then no matter how good you think His intentions are, you can’t really trust that He will work all things out for the best. A God who has no association with evil is not God at all, but some pathetic wimp who must be weeping in a corner over how disastrous His Creation has turned out. And indeed, we do paint pictures of Jesus weeping over the world, don’t we? We paint Him either looking at the globe with large tears rolling down His face, or we picture Him sprawled out on the earth desperately praying. It’s all bunch of rubbish. But the Church wants you to see God this way: as some crying, overwhelmed Weakling who keeps being shocked and dismayed by how low we humans sink. Once you view God like this, you’re not going to view Him as worthy of absolute trust. Instead, you’re going to trust yourself more than you do Him, and you’re only going to turn to Him in times of serious crisis. Watch how many people come flocking to the Church whenever some really scary thing happens in the world. Those same folks are only seeking God because they’re currently feeling overwhelmed by the crisis in their lives. We humans aren’t wise. We’re actually pretty stupid. But we pretend we’re wise until we’re forced to admit otherwise.
Think about how you pray and then ask yourself, “Do I talk to God like I really believe He is wiser than I am?” If you know nothing about heart surgery, would you try to tell your surgeon how to perform his operation on you? Of course not, but you’re constantly telling God Almighty the best way to go about things. Why? Because you don’t trust Him. You trust other humans and your own gut instincts way more than you trust God. You also trust in titles. Does your pastor claim to be anointed? Well, then, obviously everything he says must be true. Does someone have a degree in biblical studies? Does someone call himself a “Dr.” or a “theologian”? The Church is all for you developing absolute trust—as long as it’s not in God. Instead, she wants you to trust in titles: prophet, pastor, missionary, evangelist, teacher. She wants you to trust in miracles: healings, exorcisms, testimonials. And most of all, she wants you to trust in your ability to control God.
Now God might be rather useless, but He still has some impressive power. If you could find a way to combine your brains with His power, that would surely be a winning combination. Here’s where the Church introduces you to a wide range of God controlling tools. Holy water. Getting some title bearer to lay his hands on you. Chanting Scripture. Praying in large numbers. Praying repetitively. Sacrificial giving. Fasting.
This is the great news about God that the Church wants to impart to you: He might be sort of dense, but He is so darn easy to manipulate. If you just declare what you want in some confident tone, God will be forced to capitulate to the power of your spoken word. He’s so intimidated by us humans, that when we gang up on Him in large numbers, He feels compelled to give us what we want. When we name it and claim it, He is so impressed by our lack of respect that He rushes to do what we want. And by the time you’re done treating Jesus and the Holy Spirit like your trained guard dogs who will attack your enemies at your command, do you really respect Them? Not hardly. You don’t trust Them, either. Are you accepting your dependency on Them as you constantly bark the orders? No, but you’re doing a fabulous job of practicing domination, and domination is the polar opposite of that last critical attitude that you need to develop if you’re going to have any hope of ever pleasing God.
Submission is so critical to your relationship with God that it’s impossible to get saved without it. But here’s what’s fascinating about submission: it never comes up until there is a conflict of wills. You see, as long as you agree with everything God is doing, you’ll never learn to submit to Him. And since you can’t get saved without submission, the Church works hard to prevent you from ever hearing the real Gospel message—the part where God says you’re a vile sinner who He will gladly chuck into Hell if you don’t fall down on your face in front of Him. No, no, no, we can’t be having souls getting their pride chafed like that, or else there would be an opportunity for submission. So let’s only talk about how God is love and never talk about His wrath. Let’s affirm rebellion and never say anything that might offend unchurched Harry and Mary. Let’s talk about sweet Jesus who acted so meek and mild as He was chewing out those Pharisees and ripping on His disciples for not having enough faith.
On second thought, that might be kind of hard to pull off since Jesus acts so hostile in the Gospel books, so let’s just teach Christians to not read too closely. Let’s teach them that they’re too stupid to understand the Bible on their own—that ought to discourage them. Then let’s chuck the entire Old Testament in the trash can and tell them that it’s irrelevant because they’re New Testament believers. We can’t afford for people to be reading the Old Testament because they might notice all those times when Yahweh is acting wrathful and claiming to be involved in evil. So let’s just lie and say that Christ is on every page of the Old Testament, when He’s really hardly mentioned, and then we’ll make all of Christianity into an obsession with a false Jesus who never gets mad at anyone.
We might even be able to talk souls into believing that God was just joking about Hell being eternal, and then we can crank out the books and movies in which we teach that merely loving someone on earth is good enough to have them get into Heaven. Heck, if our dogs and cats can wind up in Heaven, why not people who spit in God’s face? Heaven is clearly going to be whatever we want it to be, because we are the real gods of this universe. Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit only exist to serve us. Haven’t you heard? God is Love, and Love has to have someone to love in order to be happy. That’s why God made us: because He needed someone to love. That’s why Jesus came down and let us all torture Him to death: to demonstrate how desperate He is to be with us forever. And since He needs us, we can work those needs against Him and get Him to play the part of our eternal Servant. “Do this. Fix her. Save him. Stop doing that.” It’s so fun to boss God around.
The Church wants you to dominate God. So she teaches you that who you really are in Christ is someone who is, well, superior to Christ. After all, Christ is just that ninny who does whatever you tell Him to do. Christ is the wimp who struggled to overcome Satan on the cross after He bumbled around on earth long enough to become perfected through suffering. That’s what it says in the New Testament, and obviously a pompous fool like the apostle Paul and the irreverent author of Hebrews could never be wrong about anything because the Bible is inerrant and infallible and a higher authority than God Himself.
According to the Church, everything is a higher authority than God. Satan is always overriding Him. The Bible is binding Him. Human beings are telling Him what to do. Even the created world has run amuck on Him. A tornado rips through towns in America—does the Church say it was God? Nope, it was Mother Nature—that powerful goddess who keeps managing to shove God off His throne. Or it was just bad luck or an unfortunate coincidence. It’s never God’s will when bad things happen, because God doesn’t do evil. Once you accept this, all you have to do is read the daily news headlines to get a feel for how impotent God is. It’s astounding how many things happen every hour in this world that God has nothing to do with and doesn’t want to have happen. Disease. Sex slavery. Child abuse. War. Terrorism. School shootings. Corrupt leaders. The persecution of Christians. Wow, our God is some kind of pathetic, isn’t He?
So then, how far do you think you’re going to get with God if you listen to the Church? Not far at all. By the time she’s done with you, you’ll never really get saved. You’ll just think you’re saved because the Church has been calling you saved ever since you gave your life to a Jesus who you thought was desperate to love you. Maybe you even blubbered in a few tongues, or you rolled around on the floor laughing hysterically, because God’s all for people making a mockery of His power and claiming that He makes them spontaneously drunk in the Spirit just for the heck of it. Either way, you’re loving life because suddenly you’ve got a social network and a bunch of folks making you meals when you’re sick and helping you gang up on God whenever He’s dragging His feet about fixing your problems.
Let’s be honest: there are a lot of perks to being accepted by the Church. But she puts a high price on obtaining her acceptance, and that price is that you treat your Creators like dirt. Because you don’t see the lightning bolts falling down on the heads of all these pompous prophets and lying shepherds, it’s easy to believe that God’s wrath is the joke that the Church makes it out to be. But is it? This God that we’ve gotten so used to mocking says He loves to avenge Himself on His enemies. He says that He’s got all kinds of delightful punishments in store for both the saved and the unsaved who just couldn’t be bothered with seriously seeking Him on this earth. If you really want to blow off His warnings, go ahead. Because the Church is wrong, and God really doesn’t feel sad at all about tormenting you in Hell forever more. In fact, He really likes the idea. Sure, He wants you to seek Him and He’d prefer to see you spend eternity in Heaven, developing an ever deepening communion with Him. But if you just can’t be bothered, He’ll adjust. He’ll adjust with shocking ease.
So how did the Church become so diabolical? How is she so organized in her strategies when her leadership is ever changing? Well, we humans are very responsive creatures and we’re not smart enough to cook up all of these strategies on our own. But when we align ourselves with demons, they are smart enough, and they understand how to weave together a system of doctrines that will systematically drive souls away from God. So it’s not that every deluded pastor in the Church really grasps the damage he’s doing. In real life, many leaders are just going along with the flow: passing on the lies they were taught, and punishing those who don’t conform to the program without ever really thinking about why.
God has intentionally set things up so that you will have to choose to please either the Church or Him. You can’t please both—He’s made sure of that. God has always put a high price on pleasing Him in this world. He’s always made pursuing Him seem like the less appealing option at first—the option that requires a grinding of our pride and a bitter relinquishing of the control that we are so sure we have. But those of us who choose to honor God at the cost of losing the backing of the Church will end up concluding that we have indeed made the right decision. The all-out pursuit of God is the only wise path, and the Church will try to pull you off of it every chance she gets. So the next time you’re introduced to some doctrine or some new religious ritual, think about the four essential soul attitudes that we’ve discussed in this post and ask: “Is this teaching encouraging me to pursue or reject these four things?”
Reverence, submission, dependency and trust: you can’t progress with God without cultivating these soul attitudes, and He will not help you cultivate them unless you are sincerely seeking Him. So choose the right path, and ask the Holy Spirit to give your current theology a thorough going over. Ask Him to help you unlearn any lies you’ve accepted about God and to help you align with His truth instead. Life is about knowing and pleasing our three glorious Creators. If we’re not living for Them, then we’re missing the point.