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Faith Imagined: Internet Cafe: Spiritual Flu Shot

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

October 22, 2009

Internet Cafe: Spiritual Flu Shot

Spiritual Flu Shot

I bought a book from the religious section at Barnes and Noble a few years back. It looked like an interesting, encouraging read and the author on the cover looked smart and friendly. I went home and started reading it. As I read it, I felt very empowered. The book discussed deep, spiritual ideas, and I believed that I had found a hoard of valuable insight.

I read one quote from the author that I thought was brilliant, so I typed the quote word for word and massed emailed it to almost everyone on my address list. I wanted everyone to know what wonderful things I was reading. I wanted everyone to be encouraged by this author as I was.

After I sent out the email, I continued reading the book. I began to get a sinking feeling deep in my spirit. I noticed that I was already on the second chapter of the book, but the author had yet to write anything about Jesus. How could that be? Jesus is the highlight; He is the main attraction.

I quickly started thumbing through the book desperately looking for the name “Jesus,” but I couldn’t find His name. Then, I flipped to the back cover of the book to see which Christian leaders had supported her book, but I didn’t recognize any of the names.

Finally, I got on line and looked up the author’s name and the truth became evident:

I had an encounter with a false prophet.

Her words sounded beautiful, spiritual and right-on. I felt comforted and encouraged by her ideas about spirituality. Many things she touched on were based on biblical truth. I could probably back much of what she said with scripture. Yet, even with a ton of supporting evidence, she still purposefully skipped over Jesus and His sacrifice for us on the cross.

When I realized that I had been unknowingly tricked by a false prophet, I was so ashamed. Why didn’t I research the author before I bought the book? Why did I mass email my friends with this author’s spiritual emptiness? I knew what I had to do. I had to eat a big o’ slice of humble pie and mass email all my friends back and tell them that I had made a mistake.

It was very embarrassing, but I did it. I explained what happened and apologized for not getting more information before spreading the false teaching.

I was so disheartened about this entire event for several years until God recently taught me something. God gave me the image of a spiritual flu shot. Sometimes God exposes us to a small dose of failure to prepare us for a greater victory.

I can say honestly say that now before I consume information and pass on information, I ALWAYS verify the creditability of the author. My false-prophet radar is constantly in high-gear, and I am now able to quickly recognize false teaching that glosses over the importance of Jesus Christ and the cross.

The amazing thing is that my email address list has multiplied greatly since my mass email several years ago. I am now a leader in several ministries, including writing ministries which emphasize the passing on of information. God was so good to me that He allowed me to stumble when the stakes weren’t that high. If I were to stumble now, I wouldn’t even want to think about the damage that could be done.

Has God ever allowed you to stumble? Can you look back and see how God might have been giving you a spiritual flu shot? Can you see a difference in your life today because of that spiritual flu shot?

“God, thank You for allowing us to stumble. No hurt, disappointment or failure comes without Your notice and design. Help us to get over our humiliation and look to Your instruction. Show us how to get rid of our pride and become wiser in You. For it is in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.”
“Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning” (Proverbs 9.9 NIV).

You can also read this at the Internet Cafe!

*Note - I know that vaccines are a hot topic, but please look beyond the argument and to the strength and mercy of God! Nothing happens in this world without His knowledge; and if we cling to Him, we shall always be victorious even in devastation (Romans 8.28).

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Blogger Deborah Ann said...

I did the exact same thing not too long ago. I saw a video called 'The Secret' that Oprah was promoting. I got caught up in it, thought it was an answer to prayer and whatnot, and started telling everyone about it. Then, like you, I wondered where Jesus was. And then last spring when Oprah denied Christ on her show, well that burst the last of that bubble. I think this is a good experience for all of us. Another great post!

2:07 PM  
Blogger Crissy said...

I made a comment over at internet cafe but I wanted to say again how much i enjoyed your devo!

2:42 PM  
Blogger Bina @ Bina's Pad said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE this: "Sometimes God exposes us to a small dose of failure to prepare us for a greater victory." Has been my experience, more than once, but I am so very thankful that He loves me too much to leave me where I am!

Thanks for this devo today...touched my heart!

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Laurel@FromMyHeartToYours said...

Alisa, I left a comment over at the cafe but wanted to drop by here too! Great devo!

Hugs from Canada

7:29 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Testing the spirits... I once did not understand that.. after many years of being born again and finding myself in the same place as this, I have learned... The Holy Spirit in us is such a good spirit tester.. I listen close to Him now..

10:39 PM  
Blogger Corrie Howe said...

Yes, I've eaten a big piece of humble pie, but it became like an Spiritual flew shot for me too.

Thanks for joining my blog "Just Because My Pickle Talks." I really liked your post the other day about letting God's light shine through the darkest places. When God gave us a special needs child, we believe He wanted us to take His light into this dark place too.

I'm praying through what this looks like. I know blogging moms of special needs children who regularly write about their faith. I know I have a lot of followers how know I'm a believer in Christ, but they are not. I've found I'm beginning to win a hearing with them after a couple of months, but I didn't start off openly writing about my faith. However, I didn't purposely hide it either.

Are you familiar with The Navigator ministry? Their motto is "To Know Christ and to make Him known." My husband and I have worked within their discipleship model for years.

I know that the Lord has given me a gift and a passion for writing. I know that He often uses me to write to individuals and share the Good News.

Sorry to put all this in comments, I couldn't find a place to send you an email.

I look forward to following you in the different places you write.

7:21 AM  
Blogger Crystal said...

Thanks Alisa! I did the same thing as Deborah Ann and got all caught up in "The Secret" when it came out. I was a Mary Kay consultant at the time (and MK is supposed to be a Christian-based company) - they had all of their directors showing this video to their consultants. Even after I stopped being a consultant, I had the video and the book - and after getting part way through the book, I also got that same feeling you got...thank sinking feeling. I kept thinking, "This information is not new - Jesus came up with these principles thousands of years ago." I repented to God, and started spending more time in fellowship with Him and HIS word. That's been a few years ago now - and there is no one like Jesus. :)
I had a challenging situation come up this week, because on this online mommies forum I belong to, a gal asked if anyone knew of a church that didn't bash the gay/lesbian population. And I thought, well, our church wouldn't "bash" it per se, but if asked if they thought that homosexuality was a sin, I'm 100% certain they would say "yes". But our church is very welcoming to every sinner (which we all are) regardless of the sin. But I still didn't post a response. Then I saw a gal post on how her church was very welcoming of that particular community, and that they even had two women ministers that were "partners" - and that her husband calls their church "Christianity Light - because it had all of the love and none of the guilt.". I was like, "What???" - now don't get me wrong, I know that in Christ we have no condemnation, and I'm saying that guilt should be preached - but it almost made me feel like, "Well, if everyone is so awesome on their own, what did we need Jesus for?" And I'm afraid that many churches are falling into this "Let's not offend anyone, or have people feel conviction for their sins - or even mention the torture Jesus endured for our sake. Let's just skim over that part, and make people feel good about themselves." Jesus offended just about EVERYONE he came in contact with...that's why they KILLED him. If he was just going around telling people how awesome they were, and how all the things they were doing were OK, I don't think he would have hung on that cross - but that was not the will of the Father. Argh...okay, sorry, I got on my soapbox there a little bit...stepping down now. I guess with where I am in my own personal relationship today, I am striving to always remember Jesus and what he did and never take that for granted.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Melinda said...

Love this post ... I can so relate to it. I recently experienced this in ministry. I started a ministry last spring, but my motives were not right and neither was the timing. It fizzled. God brought the opportunity to me again this fall, waited for HIs confirmation and He brought all the pieces into place and the results are like night and day. The difference between ME-driven ministry and God-driven ministry: ENORMOUS! ;0)

12:31 PM  
Blogger Matt Grudzielanek said...

The thief comes to us in deceptive ways. We did an exercise in a class the other day imaging what the devil looks like to us. I remember one woman said--he looks normal--suave, clean shaven--attractive. And that is exactly the deception; on the surface, the visual seems true, but as one digs--the ugliness comes out. Thankfully in your case, the deception was only limited to blush cheeks of embarassment; in my line of work, integrity is everything and is hardest acknowledged when I make a mistake--but giving it forgiveness and professing your failing is healing in itself and people will look up to you for it. Blessing to you child and God continues to work through you.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Ana said...

Hi, I stopped by and fell in love with your blog, I'll be back for more :)

11:45 PM  
Blogger Midday Escapades said...

This has happened to me before. Good thing you were able to catch it and fix it. Another great post!

Guess what??? I have an award for you at my place:

1:17 AM  

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