8 Ways to Tell If You're Being Led Astray

lost little sheep in tall grass Parable of the Lost Sheep

We’re living in a time of spiritual deception permeating the Church to the level where the Word of God is being seriously compromised, causing Christ-followers the inability to discern truth from lies, and between good and evil.

As the Apostle John wrote, “I am writing these things to warn you about those who want to lead you astray” (1 John 2:26).

Below is an eye-opening look at what Christians are accepting and believing as biblical truth in today’s culture and how to recognize the errors.

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  • 1. You’re Discouraged from Reading Your Bible

    1. You’re Discouraged from Reading Your Bible


    If your spiritual leaders are telling you to not read or study God’s word on your own because you don’t have the skills, position, or education to do so, you are being lead astray.

    Scripture is clear that God will teach us all things. “As for you, the anointing you received from Him remain in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in Him” (1 John 2:27).

    A way to lead people in a wrong direction is to keep them from knowing the truth because reading the Bible opens individuals’ eyes. “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26).

    2. You Believe God Approves of Everything You Think and Say

    If you’re speaking your mind on Social Media sights telling everyone off, making fun of people, going on the attack, and so on, think about, “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless” (James 1:26).

    If we aren’t aware how the enemy can speak through us at times, then we’ve been led astray because the thoughts and word coming out of our mouths need to be filtered through the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Like 2 Corinthians 10:5 instructs, we are to demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ.

    As well Titus 3:9, urges us to avoid foolish controversies, arguments, and quarrels because they are useless and unprofitable to all involved.

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  • 3. You Believe God’s Love Is Based on Good Works

    3. You Believe God’s Love Is Based on Good Works


    If you’re being told doing good works causes God to love you more, then you’re being led astray. His love is based on whom He is and what He’s done to save us. 

    As Titus 3:4-7 explains, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Sprit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." 

    Pushing individuals to “do” more for God without encouraging them to know Him, is leading them astray. Sadly many individuals have been encouraged to jump on the bandwagon to do things for God without first being led to Him, His word, and accepting His gift of Salvation.

    Tragically the Gospel has been pushed to the back burner, with individuals joining and even leading ministries without understanding God’s love and Salvation through Jesus Christ.

    4. You Believe Laws Change People’s Hearts

    “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" (John 1:17).

    The Ten Commandments proved that laws and regulations do not change hearts, and unchanged hearts do not change behaviors. Rather, they prove the opposite of how true transformation in our thinking and behavior has to come from the inside out.

    Yet it’s easy for individuals to fall back into legalism. “You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace” (Galatians 5:4).

    The sinful nature of men and women is to break God’s laws but the grace of God is what changes hearts and behaviors.

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  • Woman being tempted to do evil

    5. You’re A Stumbling Block


    If you’re interfering with God’s will in another’s life, then you’ve been led astray and are causing others to stumble. “Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come” (Matthew 18:7).

    Although we can’t stop stumbling blocks from being in the world, we can stop them from coming through us. The Apostle Peter pulled Jesus aside and rebuked him for speaking of His upcoming death and resurrection saying, “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you!” (Matthew 16:22)

    In response, “Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns’”(Matthew 16:23).

    Even if it's hard realizing at times who is influencing us, it’s important for us to examine our motives, words, and actions. Peter’s good intentions of trying to protect Christ from the cross were the enemy’s attempt to keep Jesus from fulfilling God’s will for His life.

    Like him, even if we have the best of intentions of trying to keep someone from going a way we don’t agree with, we could unknowingly be leading them away from God’s will for their lives.

    Romans 14:13 cautions to, “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.”

    6. You’re Not Living What You Believe

    If you’re telling everyone you’re a Christian and love God but living in ways that don’t line up with His word, then you’ve been led astray by believing He doesn’t mind sin.

    “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires” (Romans 8:5).

    As Christians, if our lives haven’t been changed and transformed, it’s an indication our hearts haven’t truly been made new either because we’re believing we can love God and keep on sinning.

    But Romans 6:2 explains, “By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”

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  • 7. You Misunderstand Worship

    7. You Misunderstand Worship


    What songs are you singing in church? Is it all about you and what you’re going through? If it is, it’s probably not about worshipping God. 

    Many have been led astray to believe worship is singing about our struggles, desires, and heartaches. But focusing on God is where worship begins. It’s being led in Spirit and truth, like Jesus explained. “God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:34). 

    In the Bible, worship occurred when people’s eyes were opened to the truth of who God is rather than their struggles here on earth. After Jesus calmed the wind, “Then those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God” (Matthew 14:33).

    Worship comes in seeing God’s splendor and holiness (Psalm 96:6), in recognizing Him as our Lord and Maker (Psalm 95:6).

    8. You’re Following Unbiblical Teaching

    “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons” (1 Timothy 4:1).

    In trying to be relative and seeker-friendly, churches are throwing God’s truth under the bus and welcoming ungodly, worldly attitudes and behaviors into their congregations.

    More and more churches are only hiring trendy leadership and worship teams revealing they’re more in-step with a fallen culture than the Word of God (1 Timothy 3:1-10). As well, many are opening their doors wide to welcome yoga’s multiple deities inside their buildings (Psalm 81:9).

    Edgy, profane language (Ephesians 5:4) is being spoken and celebrated in church services, as it corrupts the teaching of God’s word, ignoring Ephesians 4:29 urging to not let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths.

    Many are no longer supporting biblical truth but are rebellious, full of meaningless talk and deception (Titus 1:10). Increasingly church denominations are redefining God and His word, calling it irrelevant and outdated in today’s culture, with some calling God “She” and sanctioning abortion.

    1 Timothy 4:2 explains, “Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.”

    Likewise Isaiah 5:20 reminds us, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”

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    Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters. She enjoys writing about faith, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. Her writing has been published by Focus on the Family, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, kirkcameron.com, Ungrind.org, StartMarriageRight.com, and more. She has a M.A. in Communication from Regent University and serves as associate producer for Soul Check TV.