I would imagine there are exceptions, but not many people plan to be heretics. They don’t start out wanting to believe things that undermine the gospel. They didn’t plan to lead others astray. They didn’t start out hoping that they would be an enemy of the gospel of Jesus. Yet, Paul declares that there were people that he weeps over who were that way. Their god had become their stomach, and their glory was their shame:
Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.(Philippians 3:17-19)
What was his antidote for such a state? Walk with others. Notice who looks and acts like Jesus and walk with them. Let them rub off your rough edges. Be teachable. Be correctable.
Why? Why is that the antidote to wandering from the faith? It is because we all have excesses. We all lean a certain direction because of our personality or our background or our past struggles with sin. We try to avoid sin, and so we make rules for ourselves. Over time, unexamined rules become legalism. Zealous application of righteousness can become cruelty. We believe strongly in the principle that good deeds are rewarded. Eventually, this belief in blessing becomes a prosperity gospel. On and on it goes. Little deviations can become big errors over time.
This is one reason we need each other so much. We teach one another. We rub off the rough edges. We correct each other’s misconceptions. The question is: Will we value this service we do for one another? Will it matter to us enough that we will seek it? Will we treasure it? Paul did. He invites us to do the same.
Something to think about,