The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Practicing Discernment: Jesus Lies

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When we’re afraid, we often mask our fear as anger. There are many truths about Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit which really strike fear into the hearts of Christians, thus they react with great anger whenever those truths are discussed. The fact that our three glorious Creators are sovereign is one of them. Christians certainly want their Gods to have some degree of control—but not absolute control, or then They’d have to be controlling evil. It really scares humans to think that the Gods who they are depending on in life are actually the Source of all of the misery, carnage and pain in this world. When we’re scared, we get mad and we try to separate ourselves from the thing that scares us. This is why you see Christians clinging so fiercely to absolute lies about how their Gods operate and this is why those same Christians will flip out on you if you try to discuss certain things with them. It’s a fear response: people assume Gods who are controlling evil cannot possibly be good in Character. Well, yes, They can, and our Creators are good, but we’re not going to gain rock solid confidence in this fact by shutting down every time They try to discuss difficult truths with us.

If we want to stop being so afraid, we need to listen when our Gods speak and ask Them to help us learn everything They want to teach us. Because our Gods are good, They want to teach us how to remain confident in Their goodness in the face of all of Their wildness. Why do They make this such an uncomfortable process? It’s all about making us practice submission. You see, our Gods will not be our buddies, They are our Masters. They dominate, They don’t capitulate. Over and over in your own journey with Them, you’ll find that your only hope of obtaining peace in a situation will be to surrender yourself entirely into Their hands and stop trying to retain some element of control. It’s when our souls bow down to our Creators that They grant us some new level of understanding which leads to us experiencing more peace and joy in life. But when we refuse to bow, understanding is withheld from us, and we find that our only defense against fear is to try to cling to lies.

Now on this site, we teach you how to pursue the real Gods, not fantasy Gods. We humans don’t get to define who the real Gods are and how They operate. Our Gods define Themselves to us, and They say that They are three all-powerful Beings who reign with absolute control at all times. They also lie, and here is another uncomfortable truth that sends Christians fleeing to the hills. We are extremely threatened by the notion of our Gods intentionally deceiving us for the same reason that we’re threatened by Their absolute sovereignty: we think that Gods who lie can’t be good. Well, yes, They can, and we’re being more than a little hypocritical to pretend that we can’t fathom how goodness and deception can go together. After all, we humans are chronic liars, and many of the lies we tell are driven by very positive motivations.

When your little boy’s dog dies, you say that he’s gone to doggie heaven. You shouldn’t say this, by the way, because it’s insulting to God and it’s simply not true (see Honoring God with Our View of Heaven). But you do say it. Why? Because you’re trying to alleviate your kid’s fear. You’re trying to be a good parent. You’re trying to help his sad little heart.

Then there’s your friend Marcia who is just not a pretty girl. But when she shows you her new dress and asks how she looks do you say, “Same as always”? No, you tell her she looks gorgeous. You’re lying. You don’t honestly think she’s anywhere near gorgeous, but you sincerely care about her and you want to build her up, not tear her down. Marcia doesn’t need you to point out that the dress does nothing to change the features that make her unattractive. She needs you to verbally open the door to the pretty people’s club and suggest that she can also be a member. You lie out of love for your friend—how does this make you evil?

Then there’s Sam—the new guy at work who just made a major mistake. The boss is a jerk and prone to biting people’s heads off. You can see that Sam is already a bundle of nerves trying to work in such a tense atmosphere, so when the boss comes roaring into the room looking for a scapegoat, you boldly take the blame for what Sam did. “It was my fault, Sir. I just wasn’t paying attention.” You’re lying your face off, yet you feel rather heroic doing it, especially when you see Sam cowering at his desk looking at you with grateful admiration.

When we humans lie for good reasons, we want those reasons to be applauded. We want points for being the good parent, the kind friend, and the valiant coworker. We even boast of the lies we tell that help people out of a jam, holding up our clever use of deception as evidence that we are good in character. This is how we act with each other all the time, yet when it comes to our Gods lying to us, out come the furious accusations that good Gods would never intentionally deceive. What kind of sense does this make? It was our Gods who taught us the value of lying for good reasons in the first place. And just as we lie to each other to help, protect, and save, our Gods lie to us all the time for the same reasons. We’ve already learned that a lie can actually be evidence of fine character in a human being. Well, that same principle applies to our Gods. It’s motivation that determines whether a lie is good or bad. We rush to point this out when we’re the ones doing the lying, but when do we ever give our Gods the chance to discuss Their motivations before we accuse Them of being evil?

In this post, we’re going to accomplish several goals. First, we’re going to prove to you just how often our Gods lie and how many forms those lies take by calling your attention to some of the many lies Jesus tosses out in the Gospel books. Second, we’re going to show you how to spot a lie by exercising those discernment muscles. The fact that Jesus is doing the talking doesn’t change certain fundamental truths, such as the fact that our Gods will never submit to us. Third, we want to show you how the Church encourages you to rely on your ego instead of God to discern truth. You’ll find that some of the lies we’re going to expose in this post end up being promoted by the Church as rock solid promises from God that we Christians should be claiming and quoting as a means of coercing God into giving us what we want.

The reason we’re so quick to take Jesus literally when He’s obviously being deceptive is because our egos love the sound of what He is saying. We simply don’t want to accept that our Gods have all the power and that They will not take orders from us. So we scour the Book for any one liners in which it sounds like a Supreme God is offering to exalt human specks as either His equals or His superiors, then we rip that line out, stuff it into a “Bible Promise Book,” and encourage all of Christendom to stand on it in faith. Well, we can ignore truth and context all day long, but that isn’t going to make our Gods turn into our slaves. If we want to actually benefit from reading the Bible, we need to be listening to the Holy Spirit, not our egos. The Holy Spirit uses the biblical records to confront us with some critical facts about who our Gods are, how They operate, and what They want from us. But the Church uses the Bible to minimize, simplify, and control our Gods. As always, the question is: who are you going to rely on for truth in life—the Creators or the created?

LYING JESUS

So now let’s get into it. As you read through the Gospels, you’re going to find many times when Jesus says something that doesn’t sound quite right, because it will be in direct conflict with some critical truth that the Holy Spirit has already taught you. To get our minds sharp and ready to practice discernment, let’s run through a quick list of some essential truths about our three glorious Lords.

Our Gods demand submission from us. They want that submission to be total, not partial. Our Gods will never submit to us.

Our Gods demand reverence from us.

Our Gods want us to give Them our absolute trust, and that trust is to be founded on the fact that They are good in Character.

We are utterly dependent on our Gods for all things, whereas They depend on us for nothing.

We are powerless, our Gods are all-powerful.

We have no spiritual wisdom on our own. Our Gods are the Ones who teach us truth, and They consider the revelation of truth to be a reward for our sincere submission to Them. When we withhold submission, They withhold wisdom. When we remain entrenched in rebellion for too long, They take back the wisdom we once received and turn us into spiritual fools.

Our Gods judge our behaviors by the motivations which drive them. They recognize the difference between accidental and intentional sins, as well as the difference between a desire to do harm and a desire to do good.

Our Gods are in absolute control over all things. They do not relinquish that control to us at any time.

Our Gods are not threatened by Their own creations. This includes demons.

Our Gods are not human—They are a totally other kind of Being. They do not share our limitations, but are limitless.

Our Gods are all knowing. Because They know the end from the beginning, They are never surprised by anything we do. They never set unrealistic expectations.

Everything our Gods create ends up benefiting Them in some way.

Our three Gods work together as a unified Team, but They are separate Individuals who view Each Other as Peers of equal status.

Bearing these things in mind, let’s now check out some famous Jesus fibs.

WHO IS SUBMITTING TO WHO?

“I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, My Father in heaven will do it for you.” (Matt. 18:19)

Here’s sweet music to our egos—Jesus is telling His disciples that all they have to do is command Yahweh in pairs and He’ll rush to do anything they want. This statement has several things wrong with it. First, our Gods work with each of us on an individual basis, yet here it’s suggested that there is power in numbers. The obvious implication of this statement is that Yahweh might blow off Peter asking Him to do something, but if Peter can get John to back him up, then Yahweh will turn into some agreeable automaton who can’t refuse them. Well, no, that’s really not how things work. Jesus is suggesting that human approval matters more than God’s. It’s getting two humans to agree that something is a good idea which results in a request that can’t be denied. Meanwhile, God’s opinion is irrelevant.

Another major red flag here is the lack of limitations. Jesus says the disciples can have anything they ask. What happened to God’s preferences being more important than our own? Jesus is completely reversing the power structure here: He’s making humans the masters, and Yahweh the slave. Sure, your ego wants to embrace it, but the Holy Spirit is going to tell you that this just isn’t a statement you should be taking literally.

ACCORDING TO THE CHURCH this baby is one for the Bible Promise books. It’s a rock solid promise of God which all believers should take quite literally and stand on resolutely. Here’s a key discernment tip: pay attention to what kinds of soul attitudes are being embraced when a so-called promise of God starts getting applied by Christians. You’ll find that this little gem from Jesus is a favorite in prayer warrior circles. It’s a promise that inspires Christians to put their all into trying to dominate God, insisting that He can be intimidated by their great numbers, and that He will submit to Them if they just nag Him long enough. Well, no, when we’re properly applying truth, we end up honoring God with our soul attitudes, and domination is hardly honoring. So if the statement itself doesn’t strike you as a big fat lie, you should be persuaded that something is wrong by seeing how pompous and domineering Christians become when they try to apply this gem literally.

SO WHAT WAS JESUS DOING? Well, let’s check out the context. First, Jesus is talking to His disciples here, not future believers. Second, Jesus’ disciples are a bunch of arrogant glory hogs who are in the middle of bickering over who is going to be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. This is one of those many times when Jesus’ boys just aren’t interested in learning or growing. Instead, they just want to hear about the many perks they’re going to rake in for being members of Jesus’ incrowd. In the Church, you’re taught to look up to the disciples as fabulous spiritual role models. But, no, men who are focusing on the attainment of rank, glory, and power as their motivation for obeying God are totally missing the point. Jesus is talking to a bunch of inflated egos here, and in Matthew 18, He tosses out a mix of lies and truth. First He tells them that they must be humble, then He tells them that they can control God. It’s a baiting game: are the disciples going to focus on truth or lies?

IF BELIEVERS GROUP UP, THEY GET EXTRA JESUS

“For where two or three gather together in My Name, I am there among them.” (Matt. 18:20)

Is this statement literally true? Yes, but it implies something that is not true. Jesus is God, and as God, He is everywhere all of the time. So, yes, He is present wherever Christians are gathered together, but He’s also present when Christians are by themselves and He’s present with unbelievers.

ACCORDING TO THE CHURCH, this statement proves the point that Jesus is extra present wherever Christians have grouped together. The Church picks right up on the ridiculous lie that this statement implies, but instead of teaching you why it’s a deception, she encourages you to stand on that lie as a literal truth.

SO WHAT WAS JESUS DOING? This statement directly follows that guff about the disciples being able to control Yahweh simply by acting in pairs. Now Jesus suggests that He can also be controlled by His disciples. They can make Him show up by grouping together, and they can make Yahweh exercise His power in ways that please them. It’s all an absurd deception: our grouping up has no effect whatsoever on our Gods. But you have to realize that the ancient Jews were firm believers in “the power of numbers” so Jesus’ disciples were an easy sell on this idea that they could control God through numbers. You’ll find that the Jewish writers of the Old Testament books often imply that Yahweh was persuaded into action by large numbers of Jews praying and fasting in unison.

Like us today, the Jews bought into the arrogant notion that God shares our same burdens and limitations: He’s intimidated by gangs, He’s worn down by nagging, and He longs to please human beings. Well no, this is absurd, but Jesus’ disciples have no problem swallowing the delusion that they can be the commanders of Yahweh and Jesus. It’s what they want to believe, so Jesus encourages them in their delusions by saying, “That’s right: Yahweh and I take orders from you. We live to please you. It’s all about you.” This is essentially a snow job: it’s Jesus telling puffed up egos what those egos want to hear. Why would He do this? Well, in our list of essential truths we mentioned how our Gods demand submission from us and how They consider spiritual wisdom to be a reward for sincere submission. Jesus’ disciples are not submitting to Him, thus He is withholding wisdom on purpose. This is a form of discipline which our Gods continue to use today. Look around at all of these pompous fatheads in the Church who actually believe the lies they are preaching about God. When we refuse to listen to God, He responds by turning us into proud dingdongs who are so blind to our own ignorance that we actually go around promoting ourselves as flawless wellsprings of truth. The apostle John was a fine example of this. In the midst of a letter that is filled with theological problems, John arrogantly says:

Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them. But we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us. If they do not belong to God, they do not listen to us. That is how we know if someone has the Spirit of truth or the spirit of deception. (1 Jn. 4:5-6)

In other words, if you disagree with John, you’re obviously with Satan’s team. John doesn’t teach his flock to check the validity of his teaching with God directly. Instead, he sets himself up as God’s flawless interpreter and says that anyone who disagrees with him or his fellow apostles is spiritually deluded. Nice.

HUMANS CAN OUTSHINE GOD

“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in Me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in My Name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask Me for anything in My Name, and I will do it!” (Jn. 14:12-14)

We’re in the middle of the Last Supper here, and notice how Jesus sets His followers up as not only being His masters, but also His superiors. Jesus might be God Almighty, but mere mortals can easily surpass Him in the miracle department. But wait a second—Jesus forgave people’s sins and declared them to be eternally accepted by Himself and Yahweh. We can do greater works than passing out eternal salvation? Apparently so.

So why does Jesus say He’ll do anything we ask? Well, because He’s trying to find ways to glorify Yahweh and apparently He needs our help with that. He’s so desperate to put on a show, that He’ll rush to do anything we want. Wow, what a doormat.

ACCORDING TO THE CHURCH this gem is your personal guarantee that Divine power lurks within you. In certain denominations, you are taught to sic Jesus on any demon or disease that comes your way. You are taught to view yourself as being the invincible master of your own fate. All that stands between you and a perfect life of health, wealth and happiness is learning to properly wield your greater-than-God powers. Submission—what’s that? God bows to us, we don’t bow to Him. And clearly there’s nothing to revere about Him if we’re the ones with the greater power. Dependency? That’s a joke. We’re the ones who God is depending on in life, hence we need to check in with Him regularly to point out what He’s doing wrong and tell Him how to do better. Bring on those weekly lists of prayer requests from the church body—let’s circulate everyone’s gripes with how God is running His universe, then let’s all gang up on Him with lectures on how He ought to improve. It’s all so very…disrespectful. But hey, once you’re the god of God, things are going to get ugly fast.

SO WHAT WAS JESUS DOING? Well, He’s sitting in a room full of disciples who are down in the dumps. These guys don’t recognize Jesus as God, they see Him as a mere human prophet who was supposed to seize the throne in Jerusalem, drive the Romans out, and turn Israel into a world power. This was the common interpretation of Yahweh’s Old Testament Messianic prophecies, and it’s an interpretation that was driven by exalting human preferences as more important than honoring God (see Know Your Bible Lesson 61: The Triumphal Entry). You see, the Jews as a whole were a very spiritually rebellious people and they were obsessed with the dream of becoming the top dog in their region of the world. By the time we get to the Last Supper, the disciples are finally having to face the fact that Jesus has no intention of fulfilling their dreams of Israel becoming a world power. Not only that, but He’s on some suicidal bender and determined to go give Himself into the hands of the Jewish authorities who want to kill Him. To put it simply, Jesus has turned out to be a very bitter disappointment to the Jews and the disciples are feeling sad, duped, and disillusioned on this evening. Here’s where Jesus starts pepping them up with comments that make it sound like all hope is not lost. While the disciples expect their personal lives to be nightmares of mockery and persecution after their great Leader is dead and gone, Jesus tells them that that’s not how things will work out. The disciples aren’t going to crash and burn—instead, they’ve got some very exciting times ahead of them and there is good reason to hope. Will they ever really boss God around? Not hardly, but even in the depths of despair, the disciples are nowhere near humble, so Jesus is appealing to their egos as a quick way to perk them up.

JESUS STRESSES OVER SATAN ATTACKING US

“Simon, Simon, look out! Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Lk. 22:31-32)

Notice how Jesus presents Satan as having to ask for permission to attack Peter, thus reminding His boys that Satan is not a free agent. But then He makes it out like He is stressed over the idea of Satan attacking Peter so He’s been praying for Peter. Wait—Jesus is God, so who does God pray to? To understand this passage, you have to realize that Jesus isn’t recognized as God by His disciples at this point. They consider Him to be a human, and so they assume He is praying to the same God who Satan must get clearance from: the glorious Yahweh. Notice how Jesus flaunts His future knowledge by implying He already knows that Peter will recover from his bout of testing. But this businesses about Jesus praying for Peter, well, that’s just ridiculous.

ACCORDING TO THE CHURCH we should view Jesus as functioning as a Subordinate to His Father. After all, Yahweh is 100% God, whereas Jesus is said to be a God-human hybrid. Jesus is the lesser God—the One who only ever does what He is told to do by the superior Yahweh. And once we view Jesus this way, it makes perfect sense that Jesus should pray and plead for Yahweh to go easy on His followers. This kind of language lends support to the absurd notion that our three Gods are not a united front, but rather in a state of constant disagreement over how to handle us. Thus we have Jesus and the Holy Spirit constantly interceding with Yahweh on our behalf. Yahweh is that grim and distant God who is a lot less merciful and compassionate than sweet Jesus. Given how moody and violent “the God of the Old Testament” is, it’s supposed to be a big sigh of relief that we’ve got sweet Jesus constantly pleading for Yahweh to go easy on us (see Courtroom Drama: A Metaphor of Heaven that Insults Yahweh). The Holy Spirit does His part as well—groaning on our behalf for Yahweh to be nice. According to the delusional apostle Paul:

In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with Yahweh’s own will. (Rom. 8:26-27)

And to further promote this idea that Jesus is our gracious buffer who protects us from Yahweh’s wrath, Paul says:

Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at Yahweh’s right hand, pleading for us. (Rom. 8:34)

Why does God need to plead with God? And given that Yahweh promotes Himself as being an extremely gracious and compassionate Being, why is Jesus always having to beg Him not to condemn us? Do you see what a mess we end up in when we don’t exercise discernment? We can’t just take everything Jesus says literally. We have to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance and realize that much of what Jesus says is simply not true.

SO WHAT WAS JESUS DOING? For starters, He’s talking to Peter within the context of Peter’s own ignorance. Peter sees Jesus as an impressive human who Yahweh has set apart with a very special calling. But Peter is still a monotheist—meaning that he only believes in one God. Yet while Peter is not grasping who Jesus really is, he’s very bonded to Jesus emotionally and this whole idea of betraying Jesus is going to greatly upset him. Peter is an extreme little guy who wants to believe he’s more capable than he is of showing courage under fire. Jesus knows that Peter is going to be brutally hard on himself when he crumbles in the face of pressure. So here Jesus affirms that He is personally for Peter. Here He is arming Peter with truths that will help Peter get out from under the trap of self-loathing. First, He says that He knows that Peter is going to flunk the test, yet things will still work out. Peter won’t be banned from Jesus’ disciples. On the contrary, Jesus says Peter will still be a very useful guy by telling him to strengthen the other disciples when he recovers from his own failing. What a cool thought.

Jesus could have said, “What a worthless loser you’re going to be once you deny Me.” This is what demons love to say to us today: they hold one failing over our heads and try to convince us that we’re useless to God forevermore now that we’ve stumbled so badly. Yet Jesus says to Peter “When you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” In other words, “You’re going to fall, but I want you to get right back in the saddle because you’re still very valuable to Me and you can do a lot of good.” This is really quite encouraging when you think about it, and the best way for Jesus to communicate His support to a guy who thinks Jesus is a human is to, well, talk like a human. So Jesus says “I’ve been praying for you, bro.” This is how we Christians still express our support for each other today: we say “I’m praying for you.” We really shouldn’t be praying for each other, because in telling God how to manage other souls, we’re setting ourselves up as wiser than He is (see Lifting Each Other Up in Prayer). But since most Christians aren’t interested in maturing, they remain spiritual infants. Then they promote lies that make them feel good, because feeling good is more important to them than honoring God.

Now if our Gods weren’t willing to work us with us where we are at, we would have no hope of maturing. We’d be as stuck as the human baby whose mother tells him, “I’m not feeding you until you learn to walk.” But happily, our Gods do meet us where we are at and They introduce truth to us in small pieces that we can handle. Jesus knows that Peter isn’t ready to see Jesus as Yahweh’s Equal. So Jesus talks to Peter as a fellow human Jew—Jesus says He’s praying to Yahweh on Peter’s behalf. It’s a lie, but it also communicates support in a way that Peter can understand.

JESUS FAKES IGNORANCE

Jesus really has a grand time playing the part of a limited human being in the Gospels. In Mark 9, we find Him pretending that He doesn’t know how long a boy has been possessed by a demon.

“How long has this been happening to him?” Jesus asked the boy’s father. (Mk. 9:21)

Because the Church loves to slam Jesus with this garbage about Him being half-human, you can find many books written by dingdongs who go on and on about how it took Jesus a long time to figure out that He was actually someone special. Christian theologians like to portray Jesus as slowly emerging from a fog bank of ignorance as He grows up as a child in Israel. He starts to suspect He’s someone special at a young age, then He starts to figure out that He’s the Messiah. But He can’t quite overcome His human limitations, which is why we find Him acting hungry, tired, stressed, and ignorant. This is what Christian theologians teach because they’re not listening to the Holy Spirit. Instead of just believing these fools, you need to be highly suspicious of any teaching that encourages you to minimize the magnificence, power, and abilities of any of one of your glorious Creators.

SO WHAT WAS JESUS DOING? Here in Mark 9, Jesus is getting ready to show off His supremacy over demons yet again. He’s working with a particularly hardened crowd, which He makes clear with this disgusted comment:

“You unbelieving generation! How long will I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to Me.” (Mk. 9:19)

To glorify Himself, He then asks the father how long the boy has been possessed. This is for the benefit of the crowd. He wants the humans to understand that this kid has been possessed for a long time and that no one has been able to help him.

HUMANS CONTROL DEMONS

Now after Jesus does His God thing and flicks the demon off of the kid in Mark 9, His dingdong disciples prove how much they see Jesus as their equal by asking:

“Why couldn’t we drive it out?” (Mk. 9:28)

Really?? To appreciate the inappropriateness of this question, you have to try and set aside all of the lies the Church has pounded into you about humans having sorcerer like powers. The idea of humans controlling demons is ludicrous from beginning to end. We are impotent specks. We control nothing. It is God and only God who exorcises demons. When we stand in a room shouting, “In Jesus’ Name, I command you to come out!” well, we’re just exercising our vocal cords. Jesus isn’t some trained dog who does tricks on our commands, and demons hardly view us as their superiors. But if we were to really accept these basic facts, what would happen to all of this boasting and strutting around like mighty warriors? Where would be the justification for us depicting ourselves as fearless knights holding back the legions of darkness with some puny sword and our awesome faith?

You see, real truth leaves no room for anyone to be exalted except our three glorious Lords. This is why the Church works so hard to bury the real truth under layers of ego-pleasing lies. And before there ever was a Church, the followers of Judaism played the same games. Throughout the Old Testament, we find Yahweh followers thinking way too much of themselves, and by the time we get to New Testament Israel, well, the universe is starting to feel pretty crowded with so many inflated egos walking around. Here in Mark 9 we find Jesus’ boys feeling embarrassed at their failed attempts to drive the demons out. It doesn’t even occur to anyone that perhaps God Almighty just isn’t in the mood to do what they want. No, these disciples have already bought into the notion that Yahweh is quite controllable, and they interpret Jesus’ actions to be more evidence that their irreverent assumptions are correct. Instead of marveling over how demons cower in Jesus’ Presence—instead of wondering what’s so special about Jesus that makes these demons respect Him more than they do humans—the disciples just want to know which page of the “Make God Obey You” manual they skipped which resulted in them not being able to show off earlier. And yes, it was all about showing off when the disciples tried to drive the demons out in Jesus’ absence. Small wonder that Jesus blocked them from being successful.

Now once you understand how arrogant and idiotic these disciples are being, you can appreciate why Jesus answers foolishness with more foolishness by giving them this absurd answer:

And He told them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer [and fasting].” (Mk. 9:29)

There’s debate among scholars about whether the bit about fasting should be included or not. But either way, this is a ridiculous answer for Jesus is clearly suggesting that humans can coerce God into obeying them. He basically tells them that they didn’t pray enough. Well, what is prayer? For most believers, prayer is when they close their eyes and tell God what to do. It’s a means of practicing domination, not submission. And the very fact that these disciples are asking Jesus for tips that will improve their ability to cast out demons whenever they feel like it demonstrates that no one is really interested in truth.

So how do our Gods respond to closed minds and hardened hearts? They respond with blatant lies. Jesus says, “Oh, so you want to know how you can cast out demons? Well, you see, you have to pray more than you did. You got to really work those nagging muscles and treat Yahweh like an idiot by repeating your request fifty times over. Don’t accept no for an answer—you know how God hates submission. Boss Him around. Tell Him how to use His power—that’s what He loves to hear.” And if you want to believe that Jesus also said that bit about fasting, well then it’s like He’s saying, “Oh, and have an empty stomach while you’re nagging Yahweh, because that really gets Him into gear.” Are you hearing what’s wrong with this? It’s utterly absurd. And yet…

ACCORDING TO THE CHURCH we should all view this comment of Jesus’ as a critical insight into how we humans can gain supremacy over demons. Today fasting is promoted as being a fabulous way to get God’s attention and persuade Him of how earnest we are. Because apparently He can’t see into our hearts, but He can see into our digestive tracts, so we have to signal Him when something is important to us by clearing out our GIs.

Today in the Church, repetitive praying is all the rage. Christians boast of being mighty intercessors, with intercession being a synonym for treating God like He’s a dumbbell. Once again, we treat God like some nimbus who can’t see into our hearts, so we have to use our verbal language to convince Him of the urgency of a situation. How do you communicate importance to another human? You repeat yourself. So we repeat things to God. What does a brat do when his mother won’t give him the candy bar he wants? He throws himself onto the ground screaming “Gimme, gimme, gimme!” What do Christian brats do when God isn’t instantly doing what they want? They group up in numbers and pray “Gimme, gimme, gimme!” Where is the respect for God’s Authority when we’re acting like this? There isn’t any. Where is the reverence, the submission and the trust in His higher wisdom? There isn’t any. Yet on all sides, Christians just accept that God actually wants us to treat Him like this because, look, Jesus was answering idiocy with more idiocy in the Gospels, so that means God’s entire priority system must have reversed overnight. Are you seeing the problem?

CONCLUSION

We could go on and on because the Gospels are loaded with examples of Jesus lying to people. And then we get to the book of Revelation and wow, talk about our Gods messing with us (see Applying Revelation 20: Millennial Madness). But what’s the takeaway here? What kinds of conclusions should you be drawing from the fact that Jesus is intentionally deceiving believers all over the place?

First, you need to realize that true wisdom is a gift, not a right. Second, you need to realize that growing in wisdom is an essential part of developing an intimate bond with your three glorious Creators. You see, as long as you are strutting around thinking you’re all that and a bag of chips, you’re not going to get past square one with Them because They’ll never teach you bumpkus. We must be living in a state of sincere submission to our Gods before They’ll give us the privilege of understanding Them better, because They consider spiritual illumination to be a reward for obedience.

As humans, we are so very easy to deceive. Jesus’ disciples really believed that they could push God around, and they were so into the idea that they refused to listen when Jesus would talk about the importance of submission and humility. It isn’t that Jesus didn’t give His boys opportunities to grow past their foolishness—He gave them plenty of chances. But the disciples just weren’t very interested in growing up because they were so busy lusting after glory and power. By the time we get to the epistles, we find all kinds of absurd teaching about God which reflects what spiritual numskulls the early Church leaders really were. Wisdom is a gift, not a right, and when we stop treating our Gods with respect, They start taking Their gifts back again.

Once you start noticing how often Jesus is leading His boys astray, you start to realize that He was less than thrilled with their constant resistance. Several times in the Gospels, Jesus rips on His guys for being slow learners who have underdeveloped faith. Is this because God is unreasonable in His expectations for how fast we humans can mature? No, it’s because the disciples were fighting Jesus at every turn. Sure, He loved them. God loves all of His kids, even when they’re acting like immature brats. But that doesn’t mean He’s pleased with them.

As an individual Christian, you need to do better than the disciples did. You get there by sincerely submitting to your Creators and having a “Make me all that You want me to be” attitude in life. When we are sincerely seeking our Gods, does that mean They’ll tell us the absolute truth at all times? Not hardly. They’ll still lie to us plenty, but those lies will be about sheltering us from truths we’re not yet ready to handle and encouraging us through tough spots.

Our Gods have many reasons for lying to us, and since we can’t begin to handle knowing what They know, we need Them to keep us in the dark about most things. But we want Them to be lying to us for the reasons that we lie to our own kids: because we are trying to shelter them from truths that they’re not ready for today while we look forward to the day when they will be ready. The other alternative is to have our Gods lie to us because They’re blocking us from coming near to Them. This is like the friend you’ve hurt one too many times who then stops letting you in. When you ask how she is, she flashes a polite smile and says she’s fine when she’s not fine at all. When you ask her what’s new, she says nothing even though there’s plenty of news she could share. She’s using deception to shut you out because in her mind, you’ve abused the invitations she gave you to come close. It works the same with our Gods. If we keep giving Them a bunch of snarky attitude, if we keep insisting on dominating Them and if we keep tuning out Their convictions, then the day comes when They start saying, “Yeah, sure, whatever you want to believe about Us is true. We’re all about pleasing you. We’re all about glorifying you. Rebel all you want because now that you’re a Christian, We’ll never hold you accountable for anything” (see The Eternal Cost of Defying God: A Warning for Christians).

You don’t want your Creators to start shutting you out like this. It’s a bad sign when God stops telling you anything that’s tough to hear and everything He says to you is some dream come true. It’s a really bad sign when you find yourself believing that God really does depend on you and that’s why He just can’t wait to bring you to Heaven and let you share His throne with Him. When we lose a grip on those four essential soul attitudes of reverence, submission, dependency and trust, we stop listening, we stop growing, and we turn into gullible idiots who really do believe that our Creators exist to serve us.

FURTHER READING:
Recognizing Wolves: By Their Fruits You Won’t Know Them
Practicing Discernment: 3 Biblical Tests That Let Us Down
Identifying False Teaching About Demons: Three Easy Tests
The Great Offense of Paul: Rejecting the Divinity of Christ
Four Ways to Identify False Teaching in the Church

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