"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. Matthew 7:15(NIV)
Have you ever had a sugarless cookie? The kind made with imitation sugar or saccharin. What about a chocolate chip cookie made with carob chips instead of real chocolate? They may be healthier, but they donít taste the same. I mean no offense to those who eat and enjoy those healthier cookies. Iíve just never acquired a taste for them. For me, itís the real thing, or nothing.
While contemplating why anyone would purposely eat cookies like that, my thoughts turn to how many come as imitators of Godís children. They present themselves as ordained by God, truth seekers, and reformist. Their message is dynamic and often entertaining. They are so well honed itís hard to know their true nature or agenda. Their words are smooth, they flow with precision timing, and we come away feeling so good we believe these imitators could only be sent by God. Those who refute these beloved leaders are shunned and dismissed as trouble makers.
That leads me to the question of how those false prophets can be identified. Letís think back to our cookie made with imitation sugar and carob chips. When we inspect it, it appears to be just like all other chocolate chip cookies. Upon further inspection we notice the texture is not quite right, and the chips look different. If those signs donít send up red flags, the taste will. A master baker may spot the imitations using only their sight, but others who are unfamiliar with baking, or (heaven forbid) have never enjoyed a real chocolate chip cookie, may not realize thereís something much better. In the same way the master baker spots the differences in the cookie, a child of God who studies His word will be able to spot a false prophet. Those who donít meditate on Scripture will be less likely to identify the differences. Therefore, my dear friend, you must wrap yourself in Godís word as a hedge of protection against the ďferocious wolves.Ē
Dear Father in Heaven, as I study your word, grant me the ability to spot false imitators of You. Show me Your truth as I delve into Your promises. Fill me up with Your wisdom and knowledge, so that I may never be one of those false imitators. In Jesus Holy name, Amen.