From cancel culture to shadow bans to unbridled hatred for a man who makes pillows — a strange delusion has arrived on American soil.
“Just as they have chosen their own ways, And their soul delights in their abominations, So will I choose their delusions, And bring their fears on them; Because, when I called, no one answered, When I spoke they did not hear; But they did evil before My eyes, And chose that in which I do not delight.” (Isaiah 66:3–4, NKJV)
Sounds about right.
Welcome to America, 2021.
HAVE PEOPLE TRULY GONE MAD?
Daily I’m watching or reading stuff that makes me wonder if people have gone crazy.
The Washington Post reports: On Twitter, one owner said that although he couldn’t throw away his pillows because they help him sleep, he would punch them daily “to show my anger . . . then will not buy any new ones.”
Of course, this is in reference to MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell promoting the claim that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. Some, like the Washington Post writer, would call it a false claim.
This isn’t normal behavior. Someone is so upset that they beat their MyPillow brand pillow because the CEO holds to a common opinion that the election was stolen? Madness. Another customer threw her pillow in the trash and sent a photo to the company. Who does this? They are enraged simply because someone expresses an opinion? A strong delusion is hovering over our nation.
People have a right to boycott. However, it’s the strange emotional response that I’m talking about. People are getting strangely uptight about the most benign things. Who cares if Mr. Pillow questions the fairness of the election? In fact, any balanced, smart and wise person would at least entertain the possibility and consider the evidence.
The Bible passage above is about God’s response to Levites who were worshiping improperly. If God will send a delusion to them, it shouldn’t surprise us that he would also do the same to an openly perverse culture. Madness is upon us.
“…because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,” (2 Thessalonians 2:10–11, ESV)
SOCIAL MEDIA IS LEADING THE WAY
People actually believe it’s a heinous violation to suggest that the election was stolen. Madness. Such a consideration is low level, non-threatening, perfectly legal water-cooler banter. There's nothing immoral about it. Yet social media is banning such discussion and cancelling those who refuse to comply with their restrictions.
Yeah, I know, it sounds like I’m talking about China.
In a report from 2010 about Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, a democracy advocate imprisoned for seditious speech, we can see very quickly how America is beginning to look a lot like this Communist nation. Author Brian Palmer wrote, “Not every Chinese dissident who speaks out of turn winds up in jail. Other penalties include a stern rebuke, losing your job, brief detention, or re-education through labor.”
Speaking “out of turn” is costing many Americans when they promote ideas that run contrary to today's controlled narrative.
If our speech wasn’t being controlled, we should be free to openly communicate on social media. We should be able to lie, to share conspiracy theories, to challenge narratives, to go against the grain, to provoke people to think, to gather a following and even to spur on a healthy, legal resistance to ideas we disagree with. I'm not saying it's all good and healthy, but I am saying it's what free speech looks like.
The sky is green, aliens have infiltrated Arkansas, the earth is flat, Donald Trump is still the President and our nation is truly free — all perfectly acceptable conspiracy theories that should never be banned by social media.
BE CAREFUL WHEN BRINGING UP THE NAZIS — IF YOU ARE A CONSERVITIVE
The Walt Disney Company became the top trending topic on Twitter when they fired actress Gina Carano from her role on The Mandalorian for simply sharing an opinion. Literally, that’s all she did. She exercised free thought. Publicly. Like the imprisoned Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner, she spoke “out of turn” by suggesting similarities between the hate-driven beliefs of the Nazis and the hatred many Americans have for those with differing political views. That’s all it took to end her Disney career. Cancelled. Shamed. Outed. Hated as if she were some vile criminal.
Ironically, liberal star Pedro Pascal used Nazi comparisons as well, yet he remains employed. In a now-deleted tweet in 2020, Pascal compared Trump supporters to Nazis according to a New York Post report.
The truth is, under Nazi rule, controlling the narrative was prime in their efforts of domination. They used propaganda to promote their beliefs about Jews in magazines, films and other media. They burned books and took over newspapers to ensure their message prevailed. How can you not compare what happened then to what’s happening now? No, millions of Americans have not been slaughtered (well, I take that back. #abortion), but we can’t help but to question the eerie similarities between the narrative controlling efforts.
It’s a good thing I’m not employed by Disney. I’d be out of a job after that last paragraph.
THE DELUSION CAN BE SEEN ON THE LEFT AND THE RIGHT
Before you presume this is an all-out assault on the left, I’ve been stunned at the level of madness on the right as well.
Many pro-Trump conservatives have become unglued this election season. I mean, many of them are nuts! They are often more triggered than many liberals when their beliefs about Donald Trump aren’t affirmed. I’ve witnessed many a “solid, balanced, mature and Christian” conservative go off the rails at the mere suggestion that Donald Trump is no longer our President.
On one hand I can almost sympathize with the liberals. Most of the strange, crazy conspiracy theories that are being promoted as right-wing propaganda are ridiculous. I’d love for the world to be eradicated of them too. (Yes, I know I just supported the right to promote conspiracy theories in the previous section, but whether it’s helpful or not is another question.)
The delusion is strong and we can’t presume that it's limited to those on the other side. If we have become resistant to what God desires, or worse, if we are erroneously suggesting our unrighteous, unhealthy desires are endorsed by God, we are ripe for a spirit of delusion to overcome us.
“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” (Romans 1:28, ESV)
FEAR, DELUSION AND HATRED
…So will I choose their delusions, And bring their fears on them…
God brings the delusions. God brings the fears.
You might be thinking that I’m using biblical principles simply to make a dramatic point. You’d be wrong.
I am literally suggesting that God may very well have sent a delusion to America.
I’ve never seen fear overtake a people like I have over the last twelve months. Hatred is everywhere. People are shaming others for not putting a piece of cloth over their mouths. Those being shamed are lashing out in anger and sometimes violence. A customer slapped a grocery store worker in the mouth after being asked to wear a mask. Again, who does this? What normal person gets so agitated by others who won’t wear masks and what normal person goes mad when asked to wear one? Normal people don’t do this.
The only solution is to deeply repent, to surrender our lives to Jesus and to abandon our own sinfulness. God isn’t playing games. His passion is for mankind to turn to him. There is an amazingly simple yet costly solution to the delusion:
Humble ourselves. Pray. Seek God’s face. Turn from our wicked ways.
“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place.” (2 Chronicles 7:13–15, ESV)
If we don’t do this, the delusion will only grow stronger and the madness will overtake our nation. Don’t ever presume you are exempt. The times are dire. God help us.
Today’s Christian generation in this nation at least is becoming quite the expert at right versus wrong. The fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil has been bit into, and not only does it taste great but it’s being shared among friends. Eve knew she needed Adam to taste and see that the tree was definitely good to make one wise—and the serpent was very pleased.
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:6)
My recent article posted to Charisma Media on the debacle with David Dao and United Airlines and various related Facebook posts resulted in some disturbing retorts.
Time and again professing Christians were speaking as supposed experts in right versus wrong, and many eagerly supported the rebellious behavior of David Dao. They were proud of him for standing up for his ‘rights’ and sticking it to United Airlines. The point that David may or may not be a Christian doesn’t matter. It’s not his behavior I’m addressing, it’s the response from Christians that is disturbing. The behavior of United Airlines or the airport police are non-factors as well, at least in regard to the appropriate reaction we should be supporting. No matter how badly we are treated, we must respond rightly, biblically.
I’m glad Jesus didn’t stand up for his rights when he was wrongly convicted and then slaughtered on a cross. He didn’t have to prove his innocence. He didn’t have to plot revenge. He didn’t have a “how dare they” attitude. He wasn’t analyzing right versus wrong.
His famous words would be well repeated by all of us: Father forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.
If we support violating Scripture in our attempt to right wrongs we are utilizing a demonic anointing of rebellion and witchcraft to do so. It’s that serious.
There’s an unholy spirit of protest that’s gaining strength in our nation in recent years, and much of the church is cheerleading that spirit from the pews and from the streets. Is there a way to deal with improprieties? Of course, but it involves the fruits of the Spirit. When we advance strategically against the enemy, we can never adopt his own strategies and anointing. The fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control must be evident.
The unhealthy spirit of protest actually plays out every day in churches around the world. People who don’t get what they want, and who are offended by pastors and leaders, do all they can to prove they were violated—while plotting revenge through gossip, complaining, accusation, slander or other devious means.
STOP USING LEADERS TO GAIN WHAT YOU WANT
It’s a spirit of religion that’s driving so much of the angst and anger that’s directed at those who stand in our way.
My definition of religion is: man’s attempt to use God to get what he wants.
Further, when we use other people to selfishly advance in our own lives, especially as it relates to spiritual matters, we can know it’s a demonic spirit of religion that’s driving us. In fact, it was Eve’s desire for spiritual advance that caused her to eat the fruit. It’s appropriate to desire to advance but it’s improper to walk it out by using people and disobeying the Word of God.
In my nearly three decades of ministry my heart is grieved at how often people live defeated and then blame leaders, pastors, parents and others for their misfortune.
I love this Tweet by @IHOPKC:
We can do the will of God in our life without relying on others to open doors or be our source of promotion.
We don’t have to fight with pastors, bosses, airlines, the police or other supposed oppressors. We don’t have to blame them for misfortune. There’s a better way.
I come alive when I see people growing and stepping into their ministries. When they take their callings seriously and give themselves to the process of promotion, God takes notice, and it’s God, not man who will ensure our ministries are fulfilled.
FROM MY BOOK SIX ENEMIES: ENEMY NUMBER SIX—RELIANCE ON MAN
A foundational component of God’s government (His way of delegating and administering) on the Earth is the facilitation of ministry through mankind. God uses people in a variety of very important manners in order for Kingdom life to function well. In this divine and diverse system God has established a system of interdependence. I need you and you need me.
Added to this key truth is the very important principle of submission. We must submit to one another, and we must most certainly submit to our authorities. I address this topic more comprehensively in my book Covens in the Church. We are not called to be anarchists who embrace a non-Biblical methodology of self-governance. God’s government demands humble submission to others in our lives.
It’s from this position and attitude of service where God can more effectively trust His children to become holy dreamers. God can entrust divine missions to us when He knows that our heart is bent on loving others well and preferring them above ourselves.
The problem comes when healthy interdependence gives way to burdensome co–dependence. All sorts of issues arise when we find ourselves being frustrated and held back in ministry and attaching blame to other people. If we align ourselves with this enemy, we’ll be fooled into thinking that the fulfillment of our ministry is fully dependent on our pastor or leader.
Does God use others to help facilitate our ministry? Yes. Are we to take it upon ourselves to determine how others are to facilitate our ministry? No. God has called us to serve. True ministry is actually service. So, as servants, we humbly avail ourselves to others and do our best to help them in their ministry.
Luke 14:8-11 (NKJV)“When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
As we truly embrace the principle of preferring others above ourselves, it will actually feel unusual to expect others to make a place for us and our ministry. Instead of becoming frustrated when a place isn’t made for us, we’ll be at peace knowing that God is fully in charge of our destiny. We can serve well, expect nothing, be fearless of rejection and allow the process of biblical promotion to naturally take place.
When that issue is resolved, you can focus on the journey of personal development and preparation for the ministry that God has called you to. If a call to preach has been burned in your heart, then in due time you will most certainly preach, but not before you are ready. God may use others to create a divine delay in your ministry. Don’t blame others for this speed bump. You aren’t to be reliant on others, but you are to avail yourself to others. Serve them well.
Luke 14:11 (NKJV) For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Your promotion isn’t dependent on others noticing your greatness, but rather is on the revelation of your weakness! When humility becomes the driving force in our lives, God gets very excited about the powerful ministry that will eventually flow through us.
John 13:2-5 (NKJV) And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.
Jesus was about to experience mankind enforcing their rule over him. However, no matter how resistant other people were to the ministry of Jesus, God would not be denied! Pontius Pilate couldn’t stop the earthshaking ministry of Jesus. Judas couldn’t. The guards couldn’t. Jesus prevailed.
This act of humility, as Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, was a visible revelation of the condition of His heart and character. Our call to humility is the same. No man can stop what God desires to do through our lives as we surrender in complete humility.
Our destiny will be facilitated in many ways through God’s government on Earth; however no man can stand in the way of our fulfilled destiny. Our reliance is on God, not man.
Often, people will leave churches because their ministry isn’t received. It’s hindered or even rejected. For example, someone may feel a calling to sing on the worship team. The worship team leadership, however, may not feel that this particular person is a good fit for the team. It can be very easy for the individual to allow offense to take root in their heart. Their thought is that the worship leader is standing in the way of God and is stifling the Holy Spirit. This person can easily embrace a divisive spirit, bitterness and anger. So, in frustration they just leave in hopes of finding a more enlightened leader who will allow them to minister.
This scenario tragically occurs every day in churches around the world. Rebellion to authority is embraced along with a heart of accusation as they take their immaturity to the next church on their unhealthy journey to personal affirmation.
Ministry is service. If a church doesn’t need our particular gifting to be expressed, then that’s OK. We serve another way. If God needs us to sing, to preach or to work in a particular function He will make sure that no man can stand in our way. Ministry, though personally fulfilling, isn’t about personal fulfillment. It’s about service.
Check out Paul’s description of ministry:
2 Corinthians 6:3-10 (NIV) We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
Are you sure you want to minister? Though the question is sobering and thought-provoking, the answer for all of us must remain “Yes.” We are called to minister, however true ministry as defined in Scripture may be something quite different than many think. It’s a call to wash feet and to die at the hands of others. It’s a tragic yet precious calling.
1 Thessalonians 2:6 (NIV) We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else. As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you …
2 Corinthians 4:8-12 (NIV) We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
If our destiny is to minister (it is!), then we must grab hold of the amazing example of Paul and other biblical leaders. In these two passages alone we discover:
- We are not to seek praise (affirmation, promotion, etc.) from man.
- We are not to be a burden.
- Though hard pressed we are not to be crushed.
Truly, our destiny, as Paul emphasized, is to die. The very people that we wanted our promotion to come through may actually be those that disappoint us and cause our flesh to die. God values the process of killing pride, selfish ambition and other obstacles to pure ministry. We must understand this if we are to come out of this healthy and invigorated! God is calling us to minister with power, and this reality should take us well beyond our own personal fulfillment when we are able to minister according to our own giftings and desires.
Our destiny will not be held back by pastors, leaders, friends, parents or anybody else, but God will use these people to facilitate the process of brokenness that is so necessary in our lives.
As we allow this process to happen, and refuse to indict others, a humble and burning man or woman of God will emerge as a powerful weapon in the hands of the living God!
1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (NIV) Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”
It’s from a humble, vulnerable place where we can allow God to flow through our weaknesses. God receives the glory and we boast in Him alone. It’s our reflection of the glory of God that will most quickly result in fulfilled destiny. As we shine Jesus, the world will crave what we have to impart.
Ephesians 4:1-3 (NIV) As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
So, the message of humility should be quite obvious at this point. The very simple conclusion for us as we pursue a fulfilled destiny and ministry is this: Rely on God and trust His process. God will use people to both encourage us and discipline us. They will be used to refine us and promote us. They are instruments in God’s hands. Don’t get upset at the instruments if they don’t recognize you. Serve them well and trust God to make you ready for the ministry that He has called you to.