The enormous challenge of false teachings in church poses a pain taking work on the church to find out false teachers and their mission. The most difficult task in this is in tracing the infiltrated false doctrines in the church denominations that uphold scriptural truth.
What can help a person with an average knowledge of the Bible to differentiate between false teachings from the truth is to have a general clue of what false teaching is. The Bible has given a general clue of what false teaching and its effects can be by the teaching of what true Christian life should be. From the knowledge of what true Christianity is one can deduce teachings that are meant to lead astray to the false Christian life.
Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? (Luke 9:23-25 NIV).
Apostle Paul later on in ministry speaking on the same subject also says:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, given God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God this is your true and proper worship to God (Romans 12:1).
The basis of true Christianity is self-sacrifice and total submission to God. Christ lived on earth as a sacrificial lamb to the glory of God (Philippians 2:3-8), the apostles upon their call also have to pour their lives as a living fragrance unto the Lord by spreading the gospel (2 Corinthians 2:14-15). What matters to a true believer is the will of God, bringing glory to God in everything and making sure that he or she lives in obedience to God’s Word.
On the contrary, false Christianity is self-centred, the “I” kind of Christianity. Only looking to self-benefits. What makes the difference between the two is mindset. While a true Christian’s mind is set on God and pleasing Him (Romans 8:5-8), a superficial Christian sets his mind on man and his desires.
The religious activities of a false Christian could be ill-motivated thus:
- pray only to meet end needs and not to glorify God.
- Give offerings and tithe only for the reason of getting back from God.
- Pray simply to experience the presence of God and satisfy the emotional longing and the emptiness of the heart.
- Praying in church simply to show others how prayerful we are and then be esteemed “spiritually.”
- praying simply for the reason of charismatic experience.
- Preaching and teaching to simply show off theological and eloquent prowess.
- Serving in church simply for people’s approval and self-glory.
When self is the attention of Christian activities the Spirit of God is not in control and God is not on the throne of the Church and the glory is not His. Such is the situation of the contemporary church. Much of what is present in the church today is flesh (man) and not God. Most Christian activities in the church are only done hypocritically in the name of God but they are centred on man; his needs and desires.
As an individual Christian, you must dispossess your Christian life from self-centred Christian practices and let it be about God and His glory alone. The ultimate standard you must meet is to bring glory to God in everything you do (1 Corinthians 10:31).
It is a lack of faith that makes us think we’re serving God by loving ourselves. We display our true confidence in God by surrendering our lives to His glory.