Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Up on a Pedestal...Instead of a Cross

Puffed up by the Flatterer

"Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man. For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away." Job 32:21-22

Recently my family watched the movie, "Pilgrim's Progress: Journey to Heaven". It is based on the classic novel "Pilgrim's Progress" by John Bunyan.

In the story, you follow the walk of a man named "Christian" as he seeks eternal life. Along this journey, there are various people that he meets, including the "Flatterer". Christian had been warned to stay clear of the Flatterer, for he would say anything to lead him off of the path. And well into his journey - almost to his destination - Christian encounters him.

The Flatterer appears as a "shining one" and offers to help Christian on his way. He praises Christian for his faith, his wisdom, and his strength in making it so far along the journey. Giving heed to this man's words as he professed how "great" Christian was, Christian eventually finds himself off of the path.  By the time he has come to his senses, he has been ensnared by a net.

"A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet." Proverbs 29:5

Jesus tells us that the road to eternal life is one of self-denial; where we crucify the flesh so that Christ can live. However, the enemy - posing as an angel of light - will often sow to our flesh in order to deceive. This sowing can sound downright spiritual, but God will never share His glory with another. Anything that causes us to put our focus on man (even if it is ourselves) instead of on Christ is a deception.

"And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour." Acts 16:16-18

What the woman said was true. These men had come to teach the way unto salvation, but the motivation of the woman was wrong. Instead of placing the focus on Jesus, the women was drawing attention to the men, making of them some great ones. The Scriptures called this "divination"!  The divination was two-fold: 1) Bewitch the people into worshiping men; and 2) Get the men to receive the worship of the people. 
Flatter: to try to please by complimentary remarks or attention; to praise or compliment insincerely, effusively, or excessively.
God's word warns us against both being flatterers and receiving flattery. We must not think more highly of others than we ought to...and we must not allow ourselves to be placed in such a position to others.  When we give ear to flattery, we begin to put the old man up on a pedestal instead of a cross; the only thing which can result is a fall.

"The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful.  The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good. He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil." Psalm 36:1-4

Receiving the praises of men conditions you to seek praises from man; and as a result, your relationship with God becomes very shallow.  It is no longer important to be holy...we can just appear holy.  We can honor God with our lips, our sermons, our professions...while our hearts remain far from Him and dark as soot.  Mistakenly thinking that the validation of man is the equivalent of God's acceptance, the cross becomes despised and sin abounds as the old man is raised to prominence.  In fact, the more you allow people to sow into your flesh, the less you will begin to care about your actual condition before God.

Whenever someone is accommodating the flesh - regardless of how spiritual they may seem - you are dealing with an old man on a pedestal.  It is someone who has bought into the hype of his flatterers and has left off doing good to do evil...even while using divination to get you to do the same.  We are warned that this is a tactic Satan will use to pervert many in the last days.

"And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries...And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits." Daniel 11:21, 32

The Anti-christ will subdue and corrupt with flatteries.  Even now the spirit of anti-christ is defiling many with the same, as the flesh is continually exalted and pampered at the expense of spiritual maturity.  However, as God says in Psalm 36 above, such iniquity will be found out.  Men may see and praise our works, but God looks at the intent and motivations of the heart.  Is the Lord working through the pure heart of a new man to accomplish His purposes or is the old man doing "good works" to be seen of, and receive accolades from, men? 

There is nothing hidden which will not be brought to light...and the unveiling has started.  As Glenn Jackson says in his prophecy "The Furnace Doors Shall Now Be Opened Wide":
In this most critical hour, the "furnace doors" shall now be opened wide in the midst of God's people and "all" that is being [and has been] built and sustained by the "arm of the flesh" will be "exposed" by holy fire.
Every man's work is being tried by fire so as to show what type of work it is.  From the most known preachers to the relatively obscure believer; no one is immune from this fiery trial.  God is sweeping through to reveal who we really are..not just who we appear to be to folks.  When He puts His finger on that which displeases Him, will we turn to counterfeit comfort in the flatteries of men or will we ask God to search us and remove every unclean thing?  As brother Glenn says, there are only two possible responses: we will either repent or continue in rebellion.

Do not be surprised nor shaken as God lays bare the hearts of men so that He can manifest those who have been reproved or approved by Him; judgment starts at the house of God.  Those who have been found sincere will be strong and do exploits as the Lord moves in power and might to bring in an end time harvest.

"For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ." I Thessalonians 2:3- 6


  1. This really convicts me. Because I lean towards being more insecure and dependent upon people's acceptance. So, if I hear flattery -- it makes me feel better. But then, after I think about what the person just said I get a sense that their motives were not exactly pure. ANd if you think about it, when we flatter -- are we doing it out of pure love??

    So, I am currently in the process of crucifying that fleshly side of me that desires those words of acceptance. Because I am already accepted by God through faith IN Christ Jesus!

    I know what I would rather hear are words of "encouragement" or a kind work in due season. But not vain flattery that only puffs up the ego.

  2. Hi Emily,

    You are so right. At its heart is a need to be accepted and approved by others. I too have dealt with this. Yet God is able to make us whole.

    One thing Satan knows is that if we are seeking man's approval, then we are controllable by Satan. We will seek to perform for man - responding to his inputs and dictates - instead of being led by the Holy Spirit.

    I also believe that the more death works in our old man, the less we will seek man's approval. Yet, how many times do we hear in God's word that Jesus was rejected? Yet Jesus esteemed the pleasing of His father to be more than the acceptance of man.

    I pray that God reveals in our hearts what is truly means to be accepted in the beloved; and that we will cherish the love of our Father more than we do the stroking of our flesh.

  3. Hi LDM,
    I thank God that I came across your website, and I know that it was only by his grace that I did. I apologize if I am getting off the subject of this post, or this is more like a testimony than a comment, but it and alot of other posts you have here has urged me to post this. Around July or August of last year, I was going through a very trying time. I was 4 or 5 mos pregnant w/ my only child, I strongly hated his father, and I desperately wanted to have an abortion. I was an emotional wreck. I still prayed to the Lord because that time showed me He is the only one I can trust in a world where you can't even trust your own parents. One day I was troubled and asked God what am I supposed to do, I am completely lost about life. Then something came over me that has never happened before, and although I was still committing sin, I truly feel like I could hear (feel) Jesus calling me! When I was younger my sunday school teacher said to us, when GOD speaks to you its AWESOME! Me being around 12 yrs old I didn't have the slightest idea of what she meant, that day I DID! That very second her words ran across my mind and I said I know what it means now. I was sooo overjoyed it felt like my soul wanted to jump out of my body and do cartwheels all over the place. After that alot of worldly things, money being #1, started becoming unimportant to me. I just wanted to do everything i could to please Jesus. I started reading my Bible more and scriptures that seemed like they should be easy to understand that were not, became crystal clear. Not long after, my bestfriend's aunt introduced her to a book called The Divine Revelations of Hell. After reading the book, that feeling of warning I had turned into a full alarm blaze! Soon after I started having dreams every now and then, about 3 in total, each one about the world coming to an end. It ended different everytime, and while none of these dreams depicted the second coming of Christ, i was convinced that it was a sign that time IS running out. I just knew God was definately trying to tell me something. I spoke with my mom about what i had been feeling and the book, her response was, "that woman (Mary K. Baxter book author) could have made up that whole story using scriptures from the bible to make money." she told me that at my age she was very much into the end times and prophesies as well, and that ever since Jesus' resurection everyone thought the second coming of Christ would be in their generation. I felt like i was being just plain paranoid, she actually mite have even said that I was. All my life i was told that if you believe in Jesus Christ, that he died for your sins and is your Lord and savior, then your saved. With all the things i had been feeling and the weird dreams, I felt like there is no way it could be that simple, could it? Since running into your blog site about a week ago and reading the different posts, it seems as if God answered my question? No it's not that simple, and some of your posts such as this one, have me questioning everything that I have stated earlier in the comment. Could I really be being led by the Holy Spirit or could it be an evil one trying to trick me into believing it is? The reason I question it is because I pray to the Lord about mostly everything, and while I have stopped diliberately listening to music that comes off as bad (I hardly listen to music at all lately) and caring less and less about most worldly things (having nice clothes, shoes,cars, MONEY) I feel like since there are still things in my life that I know God doesn't approve of then there is no way He could be working in my life. Could that be true?

  4. Hi Anonymous,

    It is a wonderful thing to see the Lord draw people to Himself. I agree that it is a life changing experience and journey.

    I can remember before I knew the Lord, I was shacking up with my boyfriend and his father sent us an audio tape of the book you mention. It really shook me up! When you are living every day, doing what you want to do, you just don't go around thinking about Hell. But that book brought me face-to-face with the fact that I was living like tomorrow would never end. I just had not thought about what would happen to me after death.

    I cannot speak for that woman's testimony, whether it is authentic or not. Yet for sure, Hell is real....and we don't have to go there. That is enough to know.

    On one hand, salvation really is that simple. We believe on the Lord Jesus (continually abiding in that belief) and we are saved. What I spend time discussing on this blog is our walk with Jesus as a result of that faith. I think the following short video may help answer some of your questions about justification and the process of sanctification.

    Other than that, I would just like to encourage you in the faith. Don't look at where you think you are or what you think you have to do. Just trust in God and let Him complete the work He is doing in you because He is faithful to do it. There are things in all of us that fall short with God. But the question is what road are you on? Are you moving closer to God and further away from sin or closer to sin and further away from God?

    He who has reached out to you, brought you unto Himself, and saved you is also able to keep you. :-)

  5. Wow! All praise be to the Lord Almighty Jesus! Thank you for your response and the video, they have really helped me. This ministry has truly been a blessing. I tell people to just visit this blog and just read an article or two and see if you perspective of things become just a little bit more aware. I try all the time to spread the word to people that have misunderstood what it truly means to be a Christian. While a few people say they will and really don't, most people clearly don't really want to hear it. Some (my son's father for instance) even say things like, "how can u try to tell me and you sin too?" even though alot is changing about my way of living. Then I feel like I could be leading people astray.

  6. i want to know who write this pages. Also I need to know the religion please. Just for personal purposes.

  7. Hello Anonymous,

    While the articles on this blog are often the result of study and fellowship with many saints, I write them. There are also instances where I am posting the writings of others, and in such cases, actual authorship is noted.

    I am a Christian, and you can click on the "Blog Profile" link above to view a summary of my beliefs. Thanks


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