If you look carefully you will notice that the line between good and bad keeps getting blurry. Most times what was good last year suddenly becomes evil this year and vice versa. These rapid changes or should I call it the evolution of evil into good or good into bad affects every aspect of our lives and a mistake on this issue can be painful and costly.
On this blog (Attain Better Life) am mostly concerned about the attainment of a better life through the understanding and application of spirituality and spiritual laws. I approach this subject of personal growth from the spiritual side because I believe that humans are primarily spirits having human experience via the aid of the flesh.
Because of my spiritual approach to personal growth, I tend to quote the bible a lot, after all the bible is the best self-help book available. And I encourage people to seek personal growth through spiritual means, although I encourage this path, I also feel I need to mention the dangers of the spiritual path to personal growth.
The fact is that there are many dangers associated with attaining personal growth through spiritual enlightenment path so I won’t try to list or explain them all but I will rather focus on the things you need to look out for whenever someone tries to sell personal growth or self-help to you via spiritual means.
False Interpretations and False Doctrine
It doesn’t matter which religion you research you will come across people who for whatever reason decided to deliberately misinterpret texts. Growing up in a Christian family I have seen first hand how many Christians deliberately misinterpret scripture verses for their own personal gains. I also know that this is common in Islam.
Deliberate misinterpretation of Bible scriptures is what made some people in the US to assert that they have a “God-given right” to own slaves. Some of them even went further to claim that “by owning slaves” they are following the commandments of God.
In the examples mentioned above, the pastors knew they were misleading their congregation still they proceed. So, please bear in mind that if someone is misleading you by twisting scripture verses, they already know what they are doing and their agenda for you ain’t a good one.
So, if you are currently involved in some personal development program that focuses heavily on the spiritual side, please do yourself a favour by comparing the message and program with other similar programs.
For example if you go to some women empowerment program and they suddenly asked everyone to strip naked for some “special prayer” or “hypnotises session”, you should immediately compare it in your mind with other women empowerment program and if none of them has ever asked you to strip naked, then you should know that it’s time for you to leave the premise.
Don’t fool yourself with statements such as “it’s a new unorthodox personal growth method/system” or “it’s always good to try something new.” Just leave immediately things don’t add up or seem right to you.
When you come across the “truth“, you will know it in your heart because as Plato said, “All learning is remembering”. The real truth lies in you. You only need to be reminded of it.
In order to avoid falling victim to false interpretations and doctrines, always compare the message you are given with other teachings in the same field and do your own research.
Fake teachers and gurus all fall victim to the same nemesis and its name is inconsistency. It was Abraham Lincoln who said, “No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.” The inconsistency of fraudulent teachers, preachers and gurus is your iron-clad proof to confirm that he or she is a fraud.
Inconsistencies Between Words and Action
The quote for this article is the Bible verse of 1 John 4:1 which says “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God.” Why do you need to “try the spirit?” Because talk is cheap. People can say whatever they like as far as it gets them what they want and they become good at saying anything if no one is holding them to account.
When the scripture says “try the spirit”, it is simply telling you to test and verify if what the person is saying and there personal actions are the same. It also means you should also check if their advice produces the result they promised that it would produce.
If someone tells you to fast for 40 days for spiritual enlightenment and you did as instructed but you weren’t any better after the 40 days fasting, then you should stop believing any word that comes out of the mouth of that person.
The same goes if someone is preaching holiness and righteousness but their lifestyle is a total contradiction to this message, then you know it’s time to stop listening to that person’s message.
A true teacher must embody their message in their lifestyle. If I preach righteousness, I must live a righteous life. If I preach prosperity, I must be prosperous myself. If I preach abundance, I must be experiencing abundance in my life. If I teach health, I must be living a healthy lifestyle.
If you want to lose weight, and for some reason, you had the option of selecting one out of two personal trainers. One is fit and strong while the other is fat and breaths heavily, which one would you choose? You will obviously choose the personal trainer who is fit and strong because he/she practice what they preach. There is consistency in what they say and do.
So, whichever guru or mentor you are following or listening to, don’t just believe their words, test it. Verify if they practice what they preach. Ask them to show you examples where their advice has been applied and it yielded the desired result.
Believe not everyone for there are many false teachers, preachers and gurus around. They all hide behind statements such as “a new unorthodox method” or “a new and radical approach to an old problem.” A person action must match up to there message.
I have seen people on YouTube who started out teaching a particular type of message but within a 2 years period, their message and their lifestyle are contradicting each other. You see this a lot of evangelical pastors.
I don’t want to be judgemental but the scripture says “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits” and my non-judgemental way testing/trying the spirit is by comparing the message with the person. If the message and the person don’t correlate, then I move on. In the spirit of keeping it simple, to ensure you are not being deceived, make sure “the man and the message” are congruent.
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