This will undercut those who are looking for an opportunity to boast that their work is just like ours. These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. ~ 2 Corinthians 11:12b-15
The deeper I go into the Word of God, the more concrete His Word becomes in my life. As a result, I am better able to identify and move on the nuances that uncover false friends.
What is a false friend?
A false friend is an enemy. They have no good intentions for you. Whatever use they have for you is only for their own benefit, not yours.
How can you identify a false friend?
By the fruit of your interactions with them; by the fruit your relationship produces.
I’ve taken my own advice and I am happy to report that I am basically false-friendless. Basically means that there are a couple of relationships that have not had their final notifications; but I have received insight that the notifications have to be made. It’s just a matter of time.
This insight came through a series of recent conversations with different women I once considered to be very close friends. After each conversation, I realized I had to stop leaving my door open. An open door to them meant another opportunity to rob me of joy, to dampen my optimism, to speak death into my life, to discourage me from walking in faith according to my understanding. They did not, have not, perceived my open door as the opportunity it was to start anew, to begin again with a stronger foundation, to encourage each other in love, move forward in a shared faith and to be supportive of one another in our daily lives.
I’ve reached a point, where I realize it’s their lost, not mine.
I am blessed. Not only through my own life, but also through the many intersecting lives that have touched on mine. Yes, even the broken relationships with the false friends have blessed me. And I thank God for the opportunity to learn through these women. There is no wasted time. There are no wasted lessons. EVERTHING works together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them (Romans 8:28). When you know that, you appreciate even the pain in your life and the people who cause it.
Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God.
But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them. But we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us. If they do not belong to God, they do not listen to us. That is how we know if someone has the Spirit of truth or the spirit of deception. ~ 1 John 4:1, 4-6
A few days ago, I was truly blessed to hear a sermon that lifted my spirit so high, I can’t recall the last time I was so encouraged. I had literally just crossed the street after leaving the church, when my phone rang. It was one of the women I mentioned above. By the time I hung up from her, my heart was heavy and I had to literally drag myself home. Most of the energy I had received from the Biblical lesson a few minutes earlier had nearly been sucked from me. This is an example of the “fruit of your interactions” also mentioned above. What came to mind was, John 10:10, the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy.
The Bible teaching that night was about how the enemy is aware of God’s movement in our lives. The pastor paraphrased First Chronicles 14:8 by saying, “When the enemy heard that God was manifesting His promise in David’s life, he went to search David out and attack him.” This is a powerful word to receive. When you’re close to a breakthrough, the attacks intensify.
I shared the experience of that night (the sermon, the call, the result) with another of the aforementioned women last night and she said something that was equally as, if not more so, powerful than the pastor’s words. She said that during her time of being stripped of relationships (false-friends), when she received a phone call from her list of contacts, she would look at the phone and ask, “Who sent you?” The answer she received in her spirit determined if she answered the phone or not. There were many calls she never picked up. There were many of my calls that went unanswered. That’s not to say that I believe the devil has ever sent me any place, but I do accept that whatever reason I may have been calling for was not something that would have edified her in her walk at that moment. That’s a fine nuance that many people may never appreciate.
The people in your life that operate as enemies may not come at you with guns blazing. They may not even realize that their momentary role in your life is contrary to God’s plan for you and His instructions to you. You are responsible for knowing what God has for you and what He has told you to do. You are further responsible for acting in accordance to that knowledge. So when people come at you with their agenda, which will ALWAYS be contrary to God’s agenda for your life, you need to be able to identify them as the enemy – in that moment they are against you and your purpose. If you’re not sure about the nuances that make a friend an enemy, ask them, “Who sent you?”
“Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me. When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. ~ Matthew 10:16-20