I am guilty myself of being self-absorbed, and of course, it is not deliberate but rather to various extents part of all our natures.
I personally think that Religious self-absorption is the most hideous! The reason for this is that it focuses our attention on particular doctrines and personally held beliefs; that is not usually Biblical, or in some cases what might be called “extra-Biblical”, which is also unbiblical.
How does one discover how far off they might be? The answer is found in the Holy Spirit, the ultimate teacher! At this point, many will stop reading as it sounds like an oversimplification of finding the truth. But in fact, it is the only way to come into a knowledge of the truth!
I have studied my Bible for over 40 years, within the time frame I have been taught what I call extra-Biblical teachings, and like I said, they are not Biblical and oftentimes off balance. This is what so-called cults do, they use the scripture and customize them to their particular stick.
It is very important to have “good” Bible teachers. Even from the time of the Apostle Paul, many ministers struggled to have teaching explained within the proper contexts. Nowadays are certainly no exception! Many well intention people (and institutions) preach questionable doctrines as being from Christ, these are the ones Jesus referenced in Matthew 24:5,KJV: “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many.”
Jesus is speaking about false teachings “particularly” in the “end days” – and not just people claiming to be the Messiah or Savior! This passage describes a spiritual delusion, not just an intellectual one. All glory belongs to Christ the Lord, and not the teachers in other words. Ask yourself, how many have claimed to hold the truth, yet have deceived many?
It takes the Lord time to show us the places that we lack understanding, and I have found that one of the biggest obstetrical in my life has been well-meaning, yet deceived people themselves! This is why we must trust in the Lord, and lean not to our own understanding! That brings me to the point of walking by faith, and not by sight. It is too easy to be instructed by others “the way”, but ultimately we must discover this for ourselves. I am not speaking about some type of pluralistic philosophy based on relativism, I am speaking about being led of the Lord into all Biblical truths!
I have found that the first thing that must go is my introspective self adsorption to leaning to my own understanding. Only then is it possible for the Lord to show us himself and his absolute designing of the events and perceptions we may often misread?
Again, this is a very personal thing that all true believers need to yield to in our lives, as the Lord will not force His will upon anyone! This is not about rigid religious customs, ceremonies, or scriptural dogma, it is about yielding ourselves to Christ!
The problem is that many false teachers walk around today wanting people to follow them. Yet we must not; as that place of spiritual understanding and reproof belongs only to the Lord alone! Yes, there is correction and reproof from Elders in the church, but even being put out of the body, is so that ultimately the Lord will show us what we need to learn! That’s the only way anyone can truly learn anyway, as it’s our spiritual condition the Lord is concerned with, not our doctrine per say.
I once had a brother tell me that he could not teach me any more of the Lord. That was one of the most liberating moments in my life, although I didn’t realize it at the time. This was a painful point in my life, that the brother was removed I had known so well, however, it was so that the Lord himself could show me even greater truths; and by no small part in using even more mature brethren to help me grow in my understanding!
We used to say in street ministry, “don’t put God in a box – he won’t be able to teach you anything!” This holds particularly true concerning bad Bible teachings from people and institutions!