Christian Gurus or the Real Deal?

I was reading the latest invitation to a women’s conference with a stellar billing of well known speakers/writers and it got me to thinking about how many of us are “groupies” of this or that Christian “guru”. Some people I know have done every study that has been published by this or that Christian teacher, but have never read the Bible in its entirety. Some choose to experience the Word only through the lenses of someone else’s testimony and teaching. Ron Hutchcraft explores this phenomenon among Christians in today’s devotional. He reminds us that our dependence on a person other than God may lead to deception or disappointment. We are to test what we hear by our own study of the Word. Why will we purchase every new “best seller” from Christian speakers and devour each one looking for a kernel of truth that we can use, but we ignore time spent at the Lord’s knee, learning from God’s own Word. .

It reminds me of the story in John 4 of the Samaritan woman at the well. After her encounter with Christ, she ran to the city to tell everyone about the man who had told her everything about herself! A pretty powerful testimony to be sure. But it is what they did next that sticks with me. They, too, went to the well to meet and talk to this stranger offering living water. In the end we are told:

” From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.” So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”

Spend some time with the Real Deal, the primary source, the author and perfecter of our faith. Spend some time with Jesus today, not just your Christian guru.

From:  “A Word With You”  by Ron Hutchcraft

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I think I remember when I first heard the word “guru”. That’s g u r u. It was way back in the 1960’s when the Beetles went to see that Hindu mystic. I think he was called the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Not someone I would want to trust with my future, but that’s who they went to. Now the term is used a lot more broadly today of a spiritual leader that people listen to, and follow, and quote all the time. Guru – that’s supposed to be a Hindu concept. Oh, Christians have theirs as well.

I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “The Problem With Christian Gurus.”

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from the book of 1 Samuel. I’m in chapter 8. Up to this point, the Jewish people have been ruled in a theocracy. In other words, they’ve been ruled by God through a group of men who reported directly to God and through whom God spoke to them. They were called the judges. And perhaps one of the most prominent of those judges was Samuel.

In his book, 1 Samuel, we read of a major change. The people are restless, they’re discontent, and they’re expressing that, “You know, having a judge be the one who speaks for God and who speaks to God” for them is just no longer satisfying to them. So, here’s what it says, “Now appoint a king to lead us such as all the other nations have.” So Samuel goes to God and says, “I don’t want to be a part of this. I don’t want to preside over them getting away from You and getting a king to listen to.” But God says, “Now listen to them, but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.”

Well, that’s exactly what Samuel does. He talks about the taxes, the sons going into the army, etc., etc. And finally it says, “When the day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen. And the Lord will not answer you in that day. But the people refused to listen. ‘No’ they said. ‘We want a king over us!’ Well, when Samuel heard all that the people said, he reported it to the Lord. And the Lord answered, ‘Listen to them and give them a king.'”

It’s interesting that the Jews had a king complex. We sort of have a king complex too. God’s authority in our life is expressed through His Word and His Son. Sometimes that just doesn’t seem to be enough. We like to have some human being as our spiritual authority. Now recently there’s been an explosion of Christian heroes, celebrities, and stars – Christian gurus. And we swear by them.

We say, “Well, according to my Reverend… Doctor… According to my favorite preacher… Well, according to this great teacher… You know, the radio guy said…” Wait a minute! “This Christian author… I always read him.” “Well, my pastor… the super pastor we have, he said…” And then we have our local heroes. They’re not all national heroes. It may be some local leader we just go by. But see, there’s such a narrow view of God’s truth, because you’re just getting what it seems to be He said to one man. You’re just getting his view of it.

It goes like this: “If so-and-so says it, it must be true.” How many times in recent years have we been let down by too much trust in a leader rather than in Jesus Himself. 1 John 4:1 says, “Test the spirits to see whether they are of God.” Paul even said to the Bereans, “Check out what I said. Check it out in God’s Word. Don’t take it just because a great Apostle Paul says it.” So God says, “Test what you hear. Don’t let a person be your final authority. Let the Bible be your only measure and Christ the only star.”

See, if you happen to be an influence over people, you have a heavy responsibility. You know what that is? Don’t tie them to you. You keep pointing them toward Jesus.

We should submit to Christ and only to His authority. All these other heroes are just His servants – His channels. And they’re imperfect. You’ve got the Word of God; you’ve got the Son of God. You don’t need a Christian guru.