The Scriptures contain strong prohibitions against false prophets and false guidance. To site just a few verses:

  • Deuteronomy 18:20: But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.”
  • Ezekiel 13:9 — My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD.
  • Joshua 14:14 — Then the LORD said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.
  • Jeremiah 23:16 — This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.
  • Matthew 24:24 — For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

The difference between true and false doctrines are crucial for salvation and spiritual growth. Without the truth we are kept from knowing God personally and from growing spiritually. In teaching on the topic of spiritual warfare, I often say that spiritual warfare isn’t a power encounter as much as it is a truth encounter. 

When we consider the armor of God that Paul talks about in Ephesians 6, we can attribute every bit of the armor of God to knowing the truth. With this, the number one tactic of the great adversary is deception. This was the first strategy used in the Garden in Genesis 3 and he hasn’t changed his ways. The way that the devil gets us from walking with God and growing with God is by lying to us. As Jesus says, he is the father of all lies. 

But what does all of this have to do with anxiety? Anxiety, or worry, is the result of an unsettledness about the future. When we worry, we live in a place where we’ve fallen into the trap of believing that God is not in control of the future. “What about tomorrow? Will there be enough money? Will I get sick? Will that person stop liking me?” 

To live in a place where you’ve predicted in your heart (even if subconsciously) that God isn’t going to take care of the future is to be a false prophet. You’re predicting a scenario that is contrary to the truth revealed in Scripture.

Jesus says in Matthew 6:34, “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Joshua 1:9 says, “I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” And Psalms 23:4, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley,I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

One of my favorites on this is Romans 8:38–39

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38–39

God is in complete control of the future. In the Cross, God went to the greatest lengths to secure your future. You don’t have to worry. When you do, you’re being a false prophet. You’re leading yourself (and others by your witness) astray. You’re telling yourself (that God is going to abandon you. This is contrary to the guidance of Scripture which says time and time again that he will never abandon you.

It is a lie that God will abandon you and that he’s not in complete control of the future. Know that truth for the truth will set you free. He’s got this. Fight the lie that drives worry. Don’t be a false prophet. Live in the freedom of knowing the truth.

Matt Ayars

President of Wesley Biblical Seminary

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