Should You Run From Jesus Always?

The following is a sample chapter from Should You RUN From Jesus Always? Available on Amazon (click here)
(Note, this page is modified from the book chapter so as to make it a stand-alone web article.)

SPOTTING NEW AGE TEACHING

New Age TeachingBefore getting any deeper into Jesus Always we should take a few moments to learn some of the characteristics of New Age teaching. Knowing these characteristics will help you identify books, videos, and other materials that contain New Age teaching.

What Is New Age?

In his book “A Time Of Departing,” Ray Yungen defines New Age as:

The Age of Aquarius, supposedly the Golden Age, when man becomes aware of his power and divinity. – Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing, 2006, page 204

This sounds like a fad from the 60’s that has come and gone. But don’t be deceived. New Age spirituality is bigger than ever, and it is everywhere. Ray Yungen writes:

Christian Yoga, spiritual disciplines, spiritual formation, the silence, sacred space, and contemplative prayer—do any of these sound familiar? If you haven’t heard of them yet, chances are it’s just a matter of time before these terms start showing up in your church. – Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing, 2006, page 204

Author and speaker Warren Smith was deeply immersed in the New Age Movement. At the height of his involvement with New Age:

“the Lord intervened. He exposed the darkness that was actually behind the deceptive “peace,” “love,” and “light” of our New Age/New Gospel teachings. By the time it was all over, it was clear to us that all of our New Age beliefs had been founded on half-truths and lies.” - Warren Smith, blog post

In his book “False Christ Coming, Does Anybody Care?” Warren describes the “Jesus” of the New Age Movement::

The New Age Gospel teaches that when humanity collectively accepts and experiences itself as being part of Christ and a part of God, we will not only save ourselves, we will save our world… With “new revelation” often accompanied by direct personal spiritual experience, people are taught that because they are a part of God, they are actually “at-one” with God and all creation. – Warren Smith, False Christ Coming, Does Anybody Care?, 2011, Pages 13 & 14

New Age PracticesNew Age teaching and spirituality is growing in our churches, it is moving into our schools. I regularly receive flyers from organizations that train teachers in how to use New Age techniques. They don’t mention the phrase “New Age,” but they offer training in New Age p;rtactices such as “Yoga & Mindfulness for Kids” (from an organization known as PESI), and “Calming The Overactive Brain” (offered by the Institute For Brain Potential).

So what does this have to do with Jesus Always? I’ve reproduced the front of a brochure from PESI to the right.

The word “Yoga” means unity. Yoga is a practice that is at the core of Hinduism (New Age). It is the way to achieve unity with the Hindu Gods. Notice how Yoga is described in this flyer as being: “a wonderful introduction to present-moment awareness and introduction to present-moment awareness and mindfulness.” This describes the New Age spirituality that we'll see in Jesus Always. Key New Age practices to look for include:

Present-moment awareness: this means to not think about the past, nor worry about the future, but to focus on the present.

Mindfulness: focusing on being calm in the present moment, and accepting your feelings and whatever you are experiencing.

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” - Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center

Oneness with god: this is commonly manifested in what is called Practicing the Presence (of god). Practicing the Presence, or sometimes it is just referred to as the Presence (with a capital “P”) involves sitting quietly, often whispering a simple word or phrase to help you empty your mind and experience the presence of god. As you calm and empty your mind, the god who is within you (oneness with god) may be experienced.

The Silence: this refers to emptying your mind of all thoughts; “to suspend thought through word repetition or breath focus—inward mental silence. Tilden Edwards called this the ‘bridge to far Eastern spirituality.’”2

Repetition / Breath Focus: these are two of the most common practices used to help empty your mind. Repetition refers to repeating a single word or phrase. This might be the name of “Jesus” or a phrase such as “I love you Jesus.” Throughout Jesus Always you will encounter exhortions to pray short prayers such as these. Breath focus means to slow and control your breathing, often by saying one word or phrase as you inhale, and another as you exhale.

Look for these practices, or variations of them, in Jesus Always. You’ll find them throughout the book. None of these are biblical. None of these are in scripture. We never see Jesus, nor any of the apostles… nor in fact anyone in scripture practicing any of these techniques.

New Age CandlesDo they work? Yes they do. You can do these things and feel very spiritual, and feel very close to god. You can do these things and feel good… calm and relaxed. But they are not biblical. So why do they work?

Remember what scripture says, the true battle is not happening in a realm you can see. We are in a spiritual battle.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:12

You are in a battle against spiritual forces of darkness, and they will do whatever it takes to draw you away from the true Jesus Christ… such as making you feel good when using practices that open you to demonic influence. Demons have the ability to calm you, to give you peace, and make you feel spiritual and close to “god.” Using the practices described in this chapter opens people to demonic spiritual forces, not God.

Do you remember what scripture says happened to the man who was cleaned out and left empty? He was in the condition New Age practices strive to achieve… empty:

Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. Then it says, “I will return to my house from which I came”; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.—Matthew 12:43-45

What should he have done after the unclean spirit left? Filled himself with scripture. We are to fill ourselves with God’s word, leaving no room for demons, or even fleshly thoughts.

What should you do when you encounter someone teaching the practices identified in this chapter? Or when you encounter a book or DVD promoting these practices? Run! New Age practices are very dangerous. Don’t get anywhere near them. Don’t let them into your life. Tightly shut and lock the door to your mind and feelings, and turn to the true Jesus in scripture.


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All quotes from Jesus Always are copyright 2016 by Sarah Young
Hebrews 7:25 -- 2 Corinthians 2:14 -- John 8:29 -- Matthew 28:19-20 -- Isaiah 57:16 -- Psalm 103:9