So why is it important to know for yourself what you believe? Because chances are if you don't know, someone else will decide it for you (notice the someone is not capitalized).
Paul makes it very clear in 2 Corinthians 4:1-5 as to the danger signs that were prevalent then... and even more so today. In contrasting his ministry with those of the false teachers in Corinth, God uses Paul to describe them in more detail (He wants us to know what to watch for!):
- Secret and shameful (Paul kept nothing in "hiding" -- there was nothing to hide!)
- Deceptive (craftiness): the word means "shrewd" - "under the radar" and it gives the idea of one who would stoop to any level to get their message across.
- Distort (or adulterating) the Word: to distort means to deceive by mixing error with truth. First, they begin by sharing truth, and in doing so, they disarm the hearer. It's not until later that error, flesh, and their own desires enter into the mix. Those who are not discerning truth from error, will assume that because some truth was spoken, then everything must be truth. That's why we need to know what we believe!
"But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them -- bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping."
The word "false" in this text is the same word we get the English word "plastic" from. Funny thing about plastic. You heat it up and you can do practically anything with it. One commentator pointed out that false teachers often get their crowd emotionally charged up - making it easier for them to say practically anything they want and have it received by most. They are master manipulators. That's why we need to know what we believe!
"For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake." - Paul
Someone in class shared how they pray every day for discernment because it is so necessary in this day and time.
I couldn't agree more.