"...don't go along with him; shut your ears...
He tried to turn you traitor against God, your God..."
Deuteronomy 13:8, 10 (The Message)
These bits of verses are talking about if anyone tries to get you to turn away from God and/or worship other Gods. God tells us to stone the people to death who try to do this, but this day and age, we can't really do that and not get arrested, however, we can shut our ears to it and walk away.
I had this happen to me when I was a young adult, about the age of 19. I was involved in a cult for teens - that's a story for another time - but the head of this cult was a man who didn't have time for Christians. And I was a Christian. I may not have acted very much like one, but I still believed in my heart that Jesus was my Lord and Savior. I just wasn't allowed to talk about it much in this group or I'd get mocked and ridiculed.
I was living in California, very active in this cult - had moved away from my family in the hopes that doing so would gain me "points" in this group. I lived there for several months and I had a psycho roommate who caused me to call my dad numerous times to come get me, only to be talked out of it by one of the group's "counselors". One time my dad even came to get me (we lived in another state) and by the time he got there, I told him I had changed my mind. I can't imagine how frustrated he must have been!
Finally, the thing that got me to leave the cult, once and for all, was one night I was invited to the house of the leader of the group for dinner. I remember thinking how awesome it was that I was getting to eat at his house. The dinner was great. The conversation was great. And then, the deciding factor happened. This man and his wife tried to talk me out of my faith. I believe there's a verse in the Bible which talks about the Holy Spirit giving us the words we need. [Edited to add, this verse is found in Mark 13:11) Well... he did just that.
I wasn't an outspoken kid. I am now and I have no hesitation in speaking up for myself or anyone I love, but back then, I was a follower, not a leader. I don't remember much from that conversation except for the fact that I would not denounce my faith. I know that was the Holy Spirit taking over for me - doing what I couldn't do for myself. I remember when I got in my car to go home, I was shaking. And when I got back to my apartment, I called my dad and told him to come get me asap because I needed to get out of there NOW.
As it turns out, I was about to get kicked out of the cult anyway, but I knew God had protected me that night and that I needed to leave. I am so thankful for getting out of that group. It was twisted and messed up and I'm still getting PTSD treatment for all they did to warp my self-worth. God is gracious and he saved me from something that has messed up the lives of many people I love. (But, praise God, they are all free from the control of this group now!)
Now I know, if the time ever comes where I have to choose my faith or my life, the Holy Spirit will give me the strength to choose my faith. Something that, at one time, caused me so much fear, now leaves me feeling at peace. Thank you, Jesus!