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Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 20 : Beware of False Prophets | Day 139

Reject the Voices of Strangers!

A 21-year-old girl asked her parents if she could visit another girl in a distant city. The girls had been good friends and were active in Christian work; therefore, the parents agreed. The day before she was supposed to return home, this daughter called her parents with the news that she had begun working with a Christian group and wanted to stay longer. The parents brushed aside a sense of apprehension and agreed to the extension of her visit. After all, she was an adult and seemed to be a strong Christian.

As the weeks passed, communication from the daughter became less frequent until one day she informed her parents that she would not be returning home. She had found her "true family" and would be serving them. The parents were shocked and heartbroken. They drove out to meet with their daughter. However, her new authorities would only agree to a short meeting that had to be monitored by one of her "older sisters."

God compares believers to vulnerable sheep. They have only one means of defense—fleeing from the voice of a stranger.

How was this girl deceived into joining those who opposed everything she had been taught? The answer is that she began listening to the enemy's voice, which came to her in sheep's clothing. At first, she was uneasy about some of the music and other activities taking place within the group, but she ignored the Holy Spirit's cautions and reasoned that these friends were also Christians, so what they were doing must be fine.

Jesus warns that as "sheep" our only defense is rejecting the voices of strangers: “A stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers” (John 10:5). Because this girl did not recognize and reject the false teachings to which she was exposed, she accepted and internalized them. Her new "family" convinced her that her parents' standards had been too strict and legalistic. Next, they persuaded her to join them in some worldly activities, which they assured her were perfectly acceptable.

As her Biblical foundations were challenged and her standards broken down, she and others began to ridicule her parents' beliefs. This produced within her a deadly mixture of blame, guilt, and bitterness. On the one hand, she enjoyed a sense of freedom from parental authority, but on the other hand, she experienced frequent depression, anxiety, and despair. The moral, spiritual, and physical destruction of this girl was a tragedy.

Before children can learn to reject the voice of a stranger, they must learn to recognize the voice of the Savior.

The goal of parents should be to raise their sons and daughters to search the Scriptures for what is true and right and to develop personal convictions based upon God's Word. Then when their beliefs are challenged, they will be able to stand strong on the authority of God's Word, rather than leaning on their own ideas or their parents' beliefs.

You can begin today to strengthen your family's Biblical foundation by making a list of your convictions and the Scriptures that they are based upon.

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard