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John 7:28
Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him,…”

In the past I have worried a great deal about false teaching. I knew there was a lot of it and I was afraid I would get sucked into the wrong way if the teacher appeared to be really smart and spoke with sincerity, authority, and used the Bible to substantiate the teaching. Jesus said, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” [Matthew 7:15] I was afraid I would be fooled by the sheep’s clothing.

Today, I had a simple epiphany: false teaching can be recognized if one knows the Source.

If I know what God has taught me, if I understand what I have read, if I spend time in prayer and meditation, if I remember how God has touched my life in the past, then I will recognize God’s hand upon a teacher.

It’s similar to knowing a friend or family member. If someone would tell a bad story about a friend, but I know that friend well, I can determine whether it’s true or false. If I know that person’s character, I know that some things are simply outside the realm of possibility. Oh sure, people can act differently than their normal character, but those actions would have to be provoked by a profound change or external pressures.

The really sad part is that we don’t always know people very well. Sometimes it’s because people are not transparent; they don’t want to be known. And so, by all appearances, their behavior is unpredictable; their character is unformed in the eyes of the world. But sometimes, it’s our fault: we don’t take the time to know the very people we care about in our lives. We don’t listen. We don’t look. We make assumptions. If we treat God the same way as we treat our acquaintances, we will make false assumptions about God as well.

God’s character does not change. We are encouraged to know Him. He shows Himself every day. He shows Himself in scripture. He shows himself in nature. He shows himself in the light. He shows himself in love.

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” [Matthew 11:29-30]

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