To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. Colossians 1:27-29 (NIV)
I went to some supervisory training led by a very charismatic man. He was an excellent speaker. The morning passed quickly as he shared tips on how to best manage our office and employees. He used clever word associations, told interesting stories, modeled how we could interact with our staff, and kept us entertained as he taught. But, the whole morning, I could not feel quite at ease. Whenever I go to hear a speaker, even Christians, I ask God to help me to know the truth of their words. What the trainer said sounded good for the most part. On the surface, he seemed to speak truth. In fact, sometimes, he even came close to Biblical principles in his lessons. At one point, he almost quoted Phillipians 4:8. Some of the words were not quite right, but it sounded very similar and if I had not memorized the verse, I would not have known that it was different. One point that he made raised the hair on the back of my neck. He said everyone in the room was perfect. He kept repeating the point until it seemed to make sense. He stated everyone is the perfect one of themselves. In other words, I am the only one who is perfect at being me. So therefore, I am perfect. He said it over and over encouraging all of us to raise our hands to indicate that we believed that yes, we are perfect. Despite some arguing from participants that we are not perfect, soon, everyone in the room, including me, had raised our hand. I was singled out for my reluctance, but after hearing the man gloat over how others in the past had disputed his statements and yet, he always won (“It is not my business to care what you think about me”), I decided this would not be the proper setting to argue. I could not help thinking the entire time, “No one outside of Christ is perfect. He is the only one who is perfect, it is only in Him, that we can achieve perfection, and then, only when we reach heaven”. I prayed that God would help me not to swallow everything this gifted teacher had to say as truth. He was an excellent speaker and his words could have gone down like sugar water. But, instead, I felt like gagging when God opened my eyes to see the ring on the man’s hand. It was a small gold ring, not ostentatious, but carved into it was the pentagram, a symbol of witchcraft or paganism. The world teaches lies that sound like truth. If we have not studied God’s Word and kept in close relationship with Him, it will be hard to know the difference. Not everyone will proudly display the mark of Satan. Don’t be tricked! Stay alert! His energy flowing through you will help others around you not to be deceived as well. Next time, I am determined not to raise my hand.