Funny enough, this is an unplanned post. As in, it was not in my schedule for April. But I have come to realize that Holy Spirit is the one who determines what gets written. Don’t ask me why it took me so long? ? I had something else in mind to write, but surprisingly I was reminded of something I wrote down years back and also heard “Red Herring!” for the title.
What does Red Herring mean?
I went to Google, my dearest and my closest friend on earth ( I kid……somewhat ) just to be sure I wasn’t hearing things and behold, red herring was perfect for what I had in mind.
A red herring is something that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important issue. Wikipedia
In simple terms, the red herring is a deliberate diversion of attention.
A red herring serves the purpose of distraction.
Because you get distracted, stop praying and leave the line of those about to receive from God.
You see guys! Satan is very wise. He knows that a lot of us Christians are not deep in the Word of God and in the Spirit as we ought to be.
He also knows that a lot of us find it difficult to decipher what actually comes from God and what comes from him so as soon as he notices something good coming , the answer to our prayers coming, he sends red herrings to distract us, and divert our attention and cause us to lose that thing we prayed so earnestly for.
Money, sex, women, position, fame are shiny objects used by Satan to divert Christians from the finish line.
A red herring can appear to be the direct result of our prayers.
One time to be careful of red herrings is in our moment of expectation. It comes in such a glossy and beautiful package after we have prayed and fasted that we jump on it without examining the contents of the package. It looks so much like our hearts desire and follows our specifications that we think ” surely this is from God. We shelve all reservations and it appears good to us because of our expectation.
A Red herring can come our way to make us lose the perfect answer to our prayers that our father in heaven has sent to us.
Sister Arabel, prayed earnestly for God to give her the man of her dreams. She fasted, kept herself holy, gave regularly to people and to the Church. She was an usher, a chorister, a sanctuary keeper, a deliverance minister and a house fellowship leader.
After five years of praying to meet the man of her dreams, she attends a crusade and feels the power of God powerfully on her life. She feels and hears God say that breakthrough is near.
Just a week after this powerful encounter, she meets Ethan. Tall, dark, handsome, he works in a bank and most importantly he appears to be a Christian and he is serious about marriage.
“Surely Ethan is Godsent” . She thinks to herself.” Surely he is the answer to her prayers. It can not be a coincidence that he appears right after I pray and hear God speak” . She also had a dream that she and Ethan were riding a bicycle together. Surely, that signified that he was her husband. She asks some prophets and they say Ethan’s star is bright. It is on the strength of this that she ignores the odd phone calls,occasional showings and slaps, and womanizing attitude of Ethan.
Ironically, Christians sometimes fall for red herrings because of wrong dreams and visions.
They got married, and she discovers she married a brute. Her beautiful skin is marked with bruises and beatings, her husband brings his mistresses home and doesn’t respect her at all. He was an occassional church goer.
After this, she asks God how she went wrong after all he sent Ethan to her. To her shock God tells her Bro Ethan was never her husband. If she had been patient for a few more months, Bro Kelechi would have been posted to her Church and would have asked for her hand in marriage. Arabella starts wailing when she hears this. Bro Kelechi was the youth pastor of her church, a handsome, dashing man who genuinely feared God and loved him passionately. He had just gotten married, his wife was pregnant with twins and he was recently posted to Minnesota, America ( Hi! Precious) to head the branch there.
Sister Arabella simply fainted. She got distracted and paid the price.
I have had encounters with red herrings in different spheres of my life. Job, relationships etc.
Red herrings can appear perfect and God sent at first.
I remember that first job I mentioned here where my boss used to send me to the downstairs canteen to buy food ?. But in the beginning, it appeared perfect. It seemed like it was the direct answer to my prayers after years of graduating.
Sure! It wasn’t a lawyer position but I didn’t allow that to deter me. I packed my bag and baggage and off to Abuja I went.
After almost a year, the Holy Spirit urged me to leave. And few months later I got this one I have now. I was blessed to still have that chance to leave.
That job was a red herring designed to let me miss this job I have now. If I had not left when I did, I wouldn’t have gotten this one as I would have signed some documents that would have tied me to that job forever. Imagine! A job where all I did was sat down, gist and buy food for my boss and sit in during permanent secretaries meetings. As opposed to actually practicing law, and being paid three times that salary.
That’s what a red herring does. The aim is to take you so far off the path that God has chosen for you that you never get back in it. It is a devilish distraction engineered to occupy your time and money while the real thing passes.
A red herring can result into confusion.
It is not of God so of course it causes confusion.
I have seen this happen severally and even though God is not an author of confusion, a lot of people still get confused by red herrings. They spend so much time battling confusion and wondering what to do that they eventually miss out on the real deal.
You spend years praying for a good job or a good guy and two show up. Lol. No matter how much you weigh it, one of those will be the best option.
Wrong dreams, visions and prophecies can give room to red herrings.
God already has plans for an oil company job for you, but you start dreaming of being a volunteer in Peru. You see yourself on a plain. Your prophet tells you ” your star is in the abroad” . You stop praying for a good job and start scouting volunteer positions abroad.
Some other things I have noticed about red herrings are:
If it’s too good to be true, it usually is.
There’s no peace because it doesn’t come from God.
Sin may be involved.
The best way to avoid falling for a red herring is to have a genuine relationship with God.
P.S the first time I conceived this was a few years back when I wrote ” the breakthrough junction” in my book. One of the things I said to look out for at the breakthrough junction was ” the shiny red stuff” but you know what? Red herring does cover it more succinctly “.