Here is a word that came to my heart in a recent discussion with my wife Carolyn.

If you follow someone real closely as Elisha followed Elijah you can receive impartations from them that can be life changing and ministry altering, but you can also receive error from them. Be careful how closely you follow someone. Many ministers may teach and preach truth 90% of the time, but it’s the 10% that can throw you off sometimes. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. As the saying goes, have the sense of an old cow – learn to eat the hay and spit out the sticks.

I know of a man who was a great apostle to his nation, but he began associating with some people who subtly twisted the Scriptures and over a long period of time this man converted to Roman Catholicism. It was difficult to believe that this minister who was once mightily anointed by God would revert back to religion. I came out of Roman Catholicism and was never taught the Word. Basic doctrines of Christ such as repentance from dead works and faith toward God (Heb. 6:1-2) were never taught. I was never given an opportunity to be born again or baptized in the Holy Spirit. I never even saw anyone carry a Bible or read a Bible in the RC church. I’m convinced that a seducing spirit got ahold of this minister and deceived him.

I also remember hearing of another man who was a great soul winner, but then he started reading a book about the kind of diet God prescribed to Israel in the Old Testament and what they could eat and couldn’t eat. Soon he became consumed with it, and began to preach and teach on it. He lost his ability to win souls and his ministry ended up on the spiritual junk heap all because of a book he read.

Although our Christian culture is filled with good books, there are also many self-help books, motivational books, and spiritual junk food with doctrinal tangents containing unsound, unscriptural practices. In my 30 years of preaching the gospel I’ve witnessed extreme teachings on prayer and spiritual warfare, angels and demons, personal prophecy, and many other such topics. It seems there is a boredom with the basics of the Bible and a constant insatiable desire for something new and sensational. Be careful who you follow and what you hear and read.

Even the environment and sometimes the city or region you live in can affect your spiritual life to a great degree. For instance, there was much sexual immorality in the city of Corinth that infiltrated and began to defile the early church (1 Cor. 7). They became promiscuous.

My wife and I knew of a godly couple, Mr. and Mrs. X, along with their children who moved to Dallas, Texas years ago. The entrepreneurial spirit that is prevalent in cities like Dallas got ahold of Mr. X and he began chasing the money. Soon his spiritual life dried up and undue stress and strife entered into his marriage ending in divorce. They started out with such a purity and a love for the Lord with a genuine calling on their lives to serve Him in the gospel, but the spirit of mammon spoiled their early innocence and ruined their marriage. Very sad.

In Tulsa where I went to Bible school there is a political spirit in the body of Christ there as ministers seek to build their churches and ministries at any cost. Much strife and division exists there from the competition between churches. Lack of true accountability and ministerial ethics, moral failure, greed and covetousness, and a spirit of control have tainted so many ministries and works in that city. I have friends who live there that have witnessed horrible things being done in the name of Christ that are appalling and unbecoming to the kingdom of God.

Although there are many good and reputable ministries that have come out of that city and produced much blessing, the political spirit has infected many lives and churches and caused damage to the body of Christ there. Callings have been corrupted and motives tainted by the bigness and politicking of churches and organizations. Many ministers have become money minded and lost the anointing. The tragedy is that many don’t even know it, but continue on with business as usual.

Furthermore, in such cities where there are so many churches and ministries it becomes quite easy to slip into something the Lord has not called you to do and even intrude into an office you’re not called to and shorten your life. Add to that, the many believers who sit under pastors who are very controlling and quench the Spirit, affecting entire congregations and some of them don’t even realize how dry they are.

In assemblies where the Holy Spirit is not allowed to manifest Himself you can dry up and stall in your spiritual race where you reach a ceiling of limitation and confinement in your life and calling. Believe it or not, this can affect not only your spirit, but your marriage, your home, your children, and other relationships. It is the moving of the Holy Spirit that renews us and makes everything new, fresh, and alive again in our lives and spheres of influence.

Teaching is very important as Jesus did more teaching than anything else, but we must also be mindful that the letter kills; it is the Spirit that gives life. The apostle Paul prayed for utterance so that Christ would be made manifest (Col. 4:3-4). He always purposed to preach the Word, not with enticing words of man’s speech, but in demonstration of the Spirit and the power of God, so that people’s faith would not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God (1 Cor. 2:4-5).

These are examples of environments, associations, and ceilings that affect our spiritual lives and callings.

Today there are many churches who are more interested in being relevant to draw people into the congregation and not offend them than they are to follow the plan of God as laid forth in the Scriptures. God’s plan is that His people would be a Spirit filled people who demonstrate the supernatural.

Many churches have toned down on the supernatural and are not allowing the Holy Spirit to move. Some no longer even allow the public use of speaking in tongues, but seem ashamed of it, when many of our young people are intrigued and actually fascinated by it.

Understand this: Whenever the supernatural ceased to operate in Israel of old they returned to idolatry and heathenism. And they only got back into relationship with Jehovah after a series of stunning supernatural manifestations. I see the same type of thing happening today in many churches.

I conclude with a word for the wise. Don’t get stuck. Don’t get in a rut. Don’t dry up. Watch your spiritual diet. Watch your spiritual associations. Be careful who you follow. Make sure they have a strong base in the Word and are sound in doctrine. They must also be men of proven character who are filled with the Spirit and allow Him to move in the corporate assembly.

Be filled with the Spirit!



  1. This makes me think, perhaps our best insurance against being deceived is to “die daily”–to make it a lifestyle of surrendering ourselves, and all that concerns us…otherwise, the devil knows our weaknesses; and if our mind isn’t being renewed, but carnal, we can be tricked! It just seems to me, the true Christian path is not easy, because it’s not according to our natural man — but it’s the most wonderful, exciting way to live (I love the old hymn–oh that we could sing many of these in church again–“Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus”). Your speaking of regional strongholds–how important to be where the Lord wants us! I’d shared that for several years, I believed I was being directed to N.H. (because of a strong, uplifting impression–kind of a dream–but I will continue to look to God about this direction, if this truly was from Him–do you have any advice; and do you know of the strongholds here in N.H. to be vary of?) I did make it here finally last spring, and with God opening a door that was closed, have been able to rent a very adequate, pleasant apt. yet on a temporary basis–that being unusual, but leaves me open, as I have no guidance where to go more permanently. When I came here I had many business type things to get settled, and doctor appts. all working out, some in amazing ways; as well as family situations–seeing my grandchildren, problematic because of the sinful lifestyles of the parents. I really needed specific direction… I strongly felt I needed to take a stand, and be clear as to where I was coming from; so I spoke with the parents that biblically they were wrong, and I couldn’t support what they were doing (around that time I heard an excellent sermon on how to know if you are saved — in my heart, I very much wanted to email this to family members (my children mainly) which I did, including the parents here of my grandchildren. They were not offended apparently, and I have been invited to visit, yet not so much as to get awkwardly involved with the “family” units they’ve created. Two of my children that are professing believers, are involved in on-going sexual relationships. I have approached them on this including with scripture warnings, and encouragement to give their lives to Him in a deeper way; but they’ve never shown a positive response. I’ve let them know (on the scriptural basis, 1Cor.5) that I can’t be communicating, carrying on a friendly relationship with this behavior going on–that’s worked basically for a cut off with both these children. This seems right to me, and on my end to keep trusting, and praying; I wonder what you think as to them being cut off…did you warn, or plead often with Carolyn’s sister? Thank you again for this post.

    • We didn’t preach to Carolyn’s sister too much. She knew where we stood spiritually. It’s best with family members to leave the door of communication open, for it may be their only lifeline to God. Of course, we must differentiate between believers and sinners. Sinners are not in Christ and they don’t know any better than to sin. It’s their nature. We must do our best not to offend people unnecessarily so that they can remain open to our witness.

  2. Great word. Thank you for sharing.
    We, my wife and I lived under such a church many years ago. Thank God we go to a place that does what the word says. Southeast Christian Church in Portland Oregon
    Phil Dieringer

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