The Berean Heart
Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
So many brothers and sisters in Christ are looking and longing for a great Holy Spirit move on their churches and on themselves. Oh, how we dream of watching and participating in supernatural manifestations, changing lives, seeing lives saved and salvations abound. Oh, the joy of bringing the Holy Spirit anointing on full display and watching the darkness of this day flee.
Therein lies the danger, though.
Never become so enamored by the sizzle that you begin to neglect the steak. What can be used for good can just as easily be used for evil.
Remember Balaam? His story is in Numbers, chapters 22-24. He was a prophet of God, but his heart wasn't steady towards Jehovah. He was offered a king's ransom to curse the Israelites. King Balak knew this man was blessed with supernatural power. He was known as a prophet and acknowledged as such far and wide. Balaam kept pestering God, trying to get him to change His mind about cursing Israel as the bribe grew and grew, even though he knew better. Finally, God let Balaam have his way, letting him go with the grand officials. Sometimes having your own way can be dangerous, if not outright fatal. Balaam nearly died, saved only by his humble donkey who turned aside to get his foolish master out of the way of certain destruction. Being chastised by a donkey has to be humbling enough, but God opened the eyes of His greedy, errant prophet and finally got his attention. From that point on, he obeyed and prophesied only what he was told to say. He learned his lesson, but it nearly came at the cost of his life. I'm sure he never abused his God-given gifts and abilities again. Nearly dying can do that to a fellow.
God is indeed supernatural, but not all things supernatural are of God, no matter who says or does it. Matthew 7: 21-23 says:
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Just because someone is performing all the signs and wonders associated with believers doesn't make him a believer. In 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10, we read:
9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
We are definitely in an age of great deception. The lies are running rough-shod over anything and everything pertaining to God's word, His way, and His decrees. That is why God held up the Bereans as an example. They joyously welcomed the word of God and His miraculous Messiah, delighting in learning about His salvation, and welcoming Paul as the messenger of God. However, they never practiced blind trust. God never called us to check our brains at the door. The Bereans checked everything against the Word itself, using it as the measuring stick, not the man who brought the message.
Will there be supernatural signs and wonders among the prepared sons and daughters of God? Yes, there will, and in this writer's humble opinion, we won't have to wait long for it to happen. But there will also be lying signs and wonders from the devil and his brood, designed to lead anyone astray who isn't solid in their knowledge of God's Word. With the rampant deception going on now, we probably aren't far from seeing those as well. Satan can't create, but he sure does his best to imitate. Testing everything like the Bereans did is the only way to keep from falling into those tempting traps our adversary likes to lay out for us.
There is nothing to fear, brothers and sisters. We have the Word to guide and guard us and Holy Spirit to lead us. We aren't helpless against the devil's deceptions. All we need is a Berean heart.