The most effective kind of deception always has a grain of truth at its center. Taking a grain of truth and wrapping it with deception has been elevated to an art form in many Christian circles, and the danger of such a practice is that each time one notices the extra biblical doctrine they are summarily pointed to the grain of truth and told that fundamentally, it is biblical.
When I was younger, actually when I first arrived upon American shores, I was acquainted with cream stuffed donuts. There was a donut shop near the apartment we rented, (as of last March it is still there since nostalgia caused me and my brother Daniel to revisit it), that made the best cream stuffed donuts in the world. They had chocolate cream, strawberry cream and vanilla cream donuts, which in essence were just a mass of gooey goodness, surrounded by a thin donut layer. What made them so out of this world good, was the fact that they stuffed allot of cream inside the donut. After moving away, I would try the cream stuffed donuts in other shops, but there always seemed to be too little cream to notice it. Just as I got sick of playing ‘where’s the cream in my cream stuffed donut’ and finally gave up eating them altogether, allot of Christians are playing ‘where’s the truth in modern doctrine’, and are getting fed up with not finding it.
There is a nugget of truth in some of today’s teachings, but not nearly enough to warrant consuming them. One of the teachings that I’ve had to contend against most often is the teaching that God wants us to be full, and be filled but rather than with spiritual things, with the things and desires of this world. They take that nugget of truth and extrapolate it to mean that God wants us to have full wallets, full stomachs, be filled with what amounts to naked greed, be full of ourselves, and be filled with love for the things of this world.
So if God wants us to be filled, what exactly does He want us to be filled with?
Ephesians 5:18, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
The first and most essential thing we must be filled with is the Holy Spirit! If we are filled with the Spirit of God, then all the other virtues we are encouraged and admonished to be filled with are possible in our lives. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we are transformed by the power of the living God, to desire what He desires, and aspire toward those things which bring us eternal reward, not just temporary pleasures. I’ve been working on a study of the Holy Spirit, which was meant to be an issue of the Prophetic Times but it has gotten so voluminous, that I am toying with the idea of just putting it in a book form. The Holy Spirit is one of those overlooked necessities in the life of the believer, and from the promise of the Spirit’s coming, to the day the Spirit descended, to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, to the need of being filled with the Holy Spirit, it is an amazing, humbling, and eye opening study.
Another virtue that the Word encourages us to be filled with is the knowledge of God’s will. To know God’s will and to walk in it is to live a life of victory, a life of steadfastness, a life of faith and obedience. The knowledge of the will of God is not difficult to attain, because it is written in His word. It is when men attempt to impose their wills upon the will of God that we venture off the path of righteousness and holiness. God meant what He said, He has established His will, and just because we feel as though in our own minds we would not perceive an issue in the same manner God does, it does not negate His will. What God calls sin, we must call sin also! What God calls righteous we must call righteous as well. It is tragically laughable that so many are able to reconcile the ideas that they can disobey God, reject His nature, and yet somehow still be His. Those who are God’s have been imprinted with His nature.
Colossians 1:9-11, “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy.”
When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, when we are filled with the knowledge of God’s will we are to also be filled with joy. When Paul wrote to Timothy, he described the reasons he was filled with joy, and it had nothing to do with someone making a faith pledge to his ministry, or purchasing that new carriage he’d had his eye on for so long.
That which filled Paul with joy was the remembrance of the genuine faith that he saw in Timothy, and the two generations that came before him that were also filled with faith, namely Timothy’s grandmother Lois, and his mother Eunice.
As children of God we find our joy in the things of God. We are filled with joy when we see a soul repent and turn to God, we are filled with joy when we see the hand of God working mightily in the midst of the congregation, we are filled with joy when we see faith in the lives of our brethren and we are filled with joy when we feel His presence in our prayer time.
The Word tells us that we must also be filled with kindness. As those who were called of God, as the elect of God, as those who are holy and beloved, we must put on kindness. When we are filled with kindness, it is evident. The nature of Christ is not something that can be hidden or camouflaged, it is evident and ever present, and as those being filled with kindness, we show it not only toward those that are deserving of it, but even to those who we may deem undeserving.
If we are to make an impact in this world, if we are to draw men unto Christ, then we must also be filled with faith and power. We have an abundance of scholars, theologians, teachers, preachers, evangelists, men specializing in prophecy, deliverance, and a multitude of other niche topics, but what we are lacking in the church today is true faith and the power of God.
Acts 6:8, “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.”
So who was Stephen, and why was he filled with faith and power? Stephen was a man who was appointed to serve food to widows, and even for such a menial task, it was required that he be a man of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit, and wisdom. Where has that standard gone?
Today, men who have no business being behind the pulpit have hijacked God’s house, and in so doing have presented their own versions of the nugget of truth wrapped up in a well crafted lie.
They cannot encourage men to be filled with the Holy Spirit, or with the knowledge of the will of God, with joy, with kindness, or with faith and power, because they would be seen for the hypocrites that they are. No, they cannot encourage men to be filled with Godly virtues, because they do not possess them themselves. And so, what can they encourage people to be filled with? The selfsame things that they are filled to overflowing with, namely the things of this world, and the pride of life. God help the modern day church!
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.