Spiritual Grooming

Michael Beck

“Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:30)

Spiritual “grooming” takes place when someone wants to lead you into experiences you would normally be uncomfortable with and reject. You may be told that the problem is not with the experience but with you. You are too “old-fashioned” or too “rigid.” You have to “try it” first and then you will like it. The goal is to break down your resistance and “open you up” to the exciting world you have been “missing” out on.

Be careful of seducing spirits and doctrines of demons. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1) God’s true spokesmen speak for God; false prophets speak for themselves. They promote their own causes and doctrines and experience. They sow discord and division because they make fidelity toward God equivalent to agreement with them.

Ultimately what do they want? They want you in their orbit, under their influence, part of their fold, and one of their number. To do this they must “peddle” something to you that you can’t find anywhere else. They must make themselves unique. They may have others who are of their ilk who they will share you with, but their pleasure is knowing that you are one of a growing number who are “on board” with them and their “brand” of Christianity.

The “works of the flesh” go beyond adultery, fornication, etc.; they also include variance, emulations, strife, seditions, and heresies. These more subtle sins operate in the religious sphere more than anywhere else. One of the sure signs that someone is walking in these works of the flesh is that they promote exalted realms of spiritual experience that they claim to have entered into and you can access also if you would only “open” yourself up to them.

Beware of the “grooming” of men who lie in wait to deceive and take advantage of you. Refuse the advances of those who would spiritually debauch you. Let the Holy Spirit lead you into all truth.

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.