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Building a personal relationship with God will show up deceivers - Reverend Berbick

Published:Saturday | October 23, 2021 | 12:06 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston/Gleaner Writer -

IN RECENT times, some pastors have been accused of deceiving their flocks or playing mind games. Fresh in the minds of many is the gruesome killing of two members of the Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries in Paradise, Montego Bay, St James, last Sunday. Another member was killed after attacking the police.

It brings into question the missing link in a believer’s life and their relationship with the Supreme being.

Reverend Marie Berbick told Family and Religion that for her, having a relationship with God should be the most important objective for any Christian as pointed out by Proverbs 16:9 which says that a man’s heart plans his way but it is God who directs his footsteps.

“In order for God to direct your footsteps, a man must be subjected to the will of God. You will not know the will of God for your life unless you have a relationship with God. Every Christian needs to have a relationship with God, or we will spend our lives committed to religion and still not know God,” she states.

Believers, points out Berbick, should all invest in Bible reading and meditation as she said that knowledge of God’s word is essential for all believers to grow in their Christian walk and to strengthen their relationship with God.

“The word of God provides the nourishment and spiritual food that we need to sustain our walk with God. All of us have a responsibility as Christians to build up our knowledge of the things of God and to share that knowledge with others. Just like a salesman needs to know the product that he is selling, a Christian ought to know the word of God if he is going to evangelise,” she stated, adding that Christians who do not know the word of God are liable to be deceived such as what led to the MoBay incident.

She said that failing to read the word will see a lack of spiritual growth and an inability to manifest Christ in their lives.

“Christians who do not read the word of God are liable to be deceived by those who claim to know the word of God. 2 Corinthians 11:13-14 speaks about those who come to deceive, disguised as angels of light, and the Bible says that even those of us Christians who think we are solid in our discernment can be deceived,” she notes.

Knowing that deceivers are out there, Berbick points out that believers should school themselves "by studying to show themselves approved unto God a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15).

She said that many are being deceived because they do not study the Word and equip themselves to discern or reject false doctrines and false apostles.

When it comes to accepting the word as gospel from preachers, Berbick urges them to not be afraid to question them.

According to her, if a pastor or a leader is teaching doctrine and engaging in behaviour that is unbiblical, a congregant has the right to question it. “Unfortunately, many Christians are not reading the word of God. They have a peripheral relationship with the word. They rely on a third party such as their pastor to tell them what the word of God says, and that is why so many people are being deceived,” she opines.

In concluding, Berbick said that godly wisdom and the spirit of discernment help believers to identify those who come to deceive.

"Unfortunately, as I pointed out before, if you do not have knowledge of a thing, it will be difficult to know when something is off with that thing. So believers need to become knowledgeable of the things of God by studying the word of God and developing a relationship with God rather than leaving themselves vulnerable to deceptive teachings and practices that are not of God.”