What is it with people drinking the Kool-Aid these days? Everywhere I turn people appear to be buying into all manner of lies and deceptions. Society feels upside-down from what it was when I was young, like we’re all living in some parallel universe. Everyone has become so consumed with devouring one another and becoming so-called social justice warriors that we no longer care about justice for all, only for ourselves or our cause. In the end, not even the elite among us receives justice because truth be known, we cannot fix in society what first needs to be fixed in us. We have all become the proverbial frogs in the boiling pot of water.
According to Wikipedia, “Drinking the Kool-Aid is a phrase suggesting that one has mindlessly adopted a dogma of a group or a (cult) leader without fully understanding the ramifications or implications”. The backdrop of this comes out of the 1978 Jonestown Massacre, where 918 followers of cult leader Jim Jones committed suicide by drinking a mixture of Kool-Aid (or similar substance), cyanide, and prescription drugs. The phrase can also be used to indicate accepting an idea or changing a preference due to popularity, peer pressure, or persuasion, when in reality the idea itself can be far from truth or reality.
Now that we’ve had a quick history lesson, did you also know that scripture talks about how in the last days before the second coming of Christ, deception will likely be more prevalent than any other time in history? Take the following portions of scripture as examples:
3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.2 Timothy 4:3-4 (emphasis mine)
Should we be asking ourselves if we have itchy ears?
28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.Romans 1:28-32
Or if we are allowing our depraved minds to run amok?
9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 (emphasis mine)
Or if we should drink from the cup of delusion? This cup will surely be coming to all of our lips soon if we too refuse to love the truth. The risk is real if we choose to turn away from Him completely, or else if we continue to trust in others to know God and hear His voice on our behalf, for it is then that we become increasingly open to deception.
Don’t drink the Kool-Aid! You don’t have to! Personally seek God out for yourself instead! The Holy Spirit has been given as a gift to Christ-followers as our teacher, counselor, guide to all truth, comforter, and friend. Develop an intimate relationship with Him through prayer and reading, researching, and studying of scripture so that you know and recognize truth when you hear it, are able to accept truth into your spirit, and you know His voice over the enemy’s.
Through that intimacy I believe people of faith who understand the biblical narrative of these times (not because they’ve been told what it might be, but because they are taking the time to study it out for themselves) are enabled by the Holy Spirit to grow in love and have confidence to fearlessly face the future. Scripture tells us that knowing truth is what sets us free (see John 8:31). If you don’t know the biblical narrative, by default you will be at risk of accepting a world or secular narrative instead, as people respond to God according to the narrative they embrace.
Simply put, the secular narrative is the void that is filled by anything else other than the biblical one, and is constantly being pulsated out to us through culture, society, social media, the workplace, advertising, music, gaming, television and movies, the news, and sadly even in many churches. It reminds me of the first time I ever went to Las Vegas. I had never seen anything like it in my whole life. Night or day it did not matter, the entire purpose of that city is to dazzle and distract, and make one forget all about reality. The startling thing is reality is still there waiting in the end.
In a sermon by one of my favorite teachers, Mike Bickle, he pointed out four negative characteristics (or types of reactions) of people who don’t know the biblical narrative of the end times: fear, offense, lust, and deception. After having listened to it, I could not have agreed more. Here are my added thoughts on each:
- Fear – wondering what in the world is happening. Because we are not 100% certain of the timeline, when trials and tribulation of any kind close in, we risk responding out of fear much like the church in Thessalonica in biblical times, who believed they missed the second coming (see 2 Thessalonians 2). We too, when the world is in turmoil and we face trials and tribulation, can easily become convinced because we are experiencing such that we have “missed the boat”, even fearing we have either lost our salvation or never had it to begin with, which becomes a huge distractor.
A second note on fear to be aware of is that Satan uses fear as a means of dividing and scattering the sheep, so beware. Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).
- Offense – God’s leadership cannot be trusted… “How can a loving God…”. Becoming offended by the way we perceive God working on our behalf, or of the trials and turbulence closing in, displays a lack of trust in God’s leadership through challenging times and the hope and promise we have in Him, causing us to turn away (see John 6:66). Psalms 119:137-138,156, and 165 tells us life is found in the revelation of His judgements, for they are always true and fair, and for those who delight themselves in Him and love His ways, nothing shall offend them.
- Lust – I call this one “dissipation”, which the dictionary defines as “a wasting by misuse”, [such as] the dissipation of a fortune”, or “mental distraction; amusement; diversion”. In terms of physics/mechanics, it goes on to define dissipation as “a process in which energy is used or lost without accomplishing useful work”. Wow talk about a waste of energy – that last part says it all! Essentially the “lust” Mike Bickle references is for anything or everything outside of God Himself, allowing the opportunity to “self-medicate” in order to escape outward circumstances or pressures rather than facing and embracing reality through the strength of the Holy Spirit (see Luke 21:34)
- Deception – false prophets, false narrative. This too is a huge one because scripture warns us that in the latter times there will be those who fall away from the faith (see 1 Timothy 4:1). The risk would be setting ourselves or our loved ones up to buying into another gospel (see Galatians 1:6-10) or worse, small compromises that can ultimately lead to the mark of the beast and the economic system and pressures of the antichrist. False narratives focus on universalism and inclusion, and can range from a variety of things from religious to those things considered a religion in itself, such as climate change or any other “good cause” – anything that moves the focus onto itself and away from Christ (see 1 Timothy 4:1). Remember, too, that to merely believe things about Jesus does not mean you are born again (even devils believe and tremble – see James 2:19). Ask yourself the question – has your belief brought you to an active faith and relationship with Jesus, the living Son of God?
Regardless of where you stand on the timing of when Christ returns for His bride, scripture makes it clear that the most intense darkness and significant apostasy (or “falling away”) across the earth is simultaneous with the greatest awakening in history, as the wheat and tares mature together (see Matthew 13:24-30). Now is no longer the time for passive Christianity. Satan is extremely busy about hastening the day of his antichrist, which means there will be increasing pressure put upon us to gradually slide down the path of one small compromise after another. We must follow Ephesians 6:10-18 whole-heartedly. Jesus didn’t tell us to pick up our easy chair, He told us to pick up our cross!
In a world of “grey”, for believers to personally grasp the fullness of truths that are absolute, those that come from the Holy Spirit calling out, revealing, resonating and confirming scripture within us as we cultivate intimacy with Him, is key to what is going to offer hope to people who seek it and desperately need it. We can become the people of understanding described in Daniel chapter 12, helping our loved ones and others within our sphere (including generational) to avoid falling into one or more of these four negative traps.
Beloved, the time is rapidly closing in where we can no longer sit idly by and do or say nothing. The time to politely and as lovingly as possible speak out, stand up, and say “I will not comply” may be fast upon us.
I leave you with this quote from Martin Niemӧller, who said of the National Socialist (or “NAZI”) rule:
“First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”