17 Sep “Watch Out For ‘Sleeper Sheep'” by Todd Hampson
There have recently been several high-profile personalities that have supposedly given up on the Christian faith, either because of some special doubts that no one else has ever had or because they wish to embrace a life-style that they know is at odds with God. Maybe you know someone personally who has done something similar.
However, as a former agnostic myself, I can assure you that if you leave the oasis that is Jesus, you will not find water in the desert. If these people are truly sincere, they will come back to God as Solomon did and if not, then their love for the desert was supreme all along.
The term “sleeper agents” or “sleepers” is relatively new, often associated with the Cold War, but the concept has been around a long time. It is a person who appears to love, respect and admire a country and its values (in this case the universal church), but at some point are “activated” to start thinking, speaking or acting diametrically opposed to it. The longer the time-frame and the greater their circle of influence, the more havoc they can inflict on others around them.
Often the reason presented for newly unfound faith is “love” of some kind, sometimes described as being even loftier than the Creator’s love.
Remember the Apostle John, “the Apostle of Love”, “the one Jesus loved”? He said this about “sleeper agents”: “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.” (1 John 2:19)
And Jesus, in the often-misquoted “do not judge” chapter Matthew 7, said this: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” (Matthew 7:15) Of course, we continue to love people as God gives us grace. We cannot determine heart motives or ultimate destinies, but we can determine if someone is nipping at us or chewing on our leg. Other sheep should not do this.
So don’t let “sleeper sheep” ruin your faith. Shake them off, especially if they are biting your leg and let them run off into the desert looking for water while you enjoy your rest and peace in the oasis.