Many of today’s Christians are following after spiritual experiences, and equating those spiritual experiences with a close relationship with God. There is also a tendency to follow after people who claim to have had these spectacular spiritual experiences and are teaching others how to experience these things for themselves. Since, like with gifts, the tendency is to equate salvation, blessing, special favor, anointing, holiness, and righteousness with these experiences, the assumption is that the person or leader who has regular supernatural encounters has a close relationship with God and is, therefore, one to be followed. (See “Man-centered, not God-centered” to review the dangers of following after people rather than God.)
Some commonly sought-after spiritual experiences are:
● Seeing and interacting with angels and/or demons.
○ In particular, the belief that everyone has an “angel” that they can and should speak to for guidance, help, and to gain understanding of spiritual matters.
○ Important to Note: This is no different than a “spirit guide,” “Ascended Master,” or other spiritual guides used by those in occult groups. It is just being called by a different name that Christians can more easily accept.
● Battling demons (this is part of a charismatic “spiritual warfare”).
● Visions, dreams, and dream interpretation.
● “Traveling in the spirit” or “seeing in the spirit” to other dimensions and realms.
○ This includes the “courtrooms of heaven,” which is used as a type of so-called “spiritual warfare.”
○ This also includes bilocation, translation, and dream insertion.
○ Important to Note: Charismatic infiltrators and those they have deceived are using the terms “traveling and seeing in the spirit” to describe, teach, and practice what occultists call “astral projection or astral travel.” These activities are demonically led and inspired, and are regularly taught and practiced by those in occult groups, and by those seeking occult gifts and abilities. Furthermore, the methods of instruction on astral travel within charismatic groups are the same methods of instruction used in occult groups. Only the name of the practice has been changed.
Although many of these experiences are expressly unbiblical, not all are. The difference is often the focus and desire of the heart. For example, are you focused on following after the spiritual experience of having a vision, or are you focused on the true God, His Word, and your relationship with Him? Do you seek after fighting demons (what is known as a “warrior mentality” or a “warrior identity”), or do you seek after a relationship with God and doing His will, resting in the words of Jesus that “nothing shall harm you?” Is your identity wrapped up in the fact that demons are subject to you, or in the fact that your name is written in Heaven? Where is the focus of your heart? What is your motivation?
Luke 10:20 (BSB)
“Nevertheless, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (emphasis added)
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