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At one time snake oil was a legitimate way to relieve pain. But when shysters started peddling other so-called remedies, snake oil got a bad name. Recently, we have seen a plethora of books promoting new paths to spirituality. Sadly, some of them are little more than snake oil. They masquerade as ways to get a fat bank account, a great relationship, a luxury car, a rewarding job, or a fine home. The Bible warns us about falling for empty promises from people whose motive is to increase their own wealth. The book of Hebrews identifies some important principles God’s people should practice. These principles honor God, benefit others, and bring us genuine fulfillment. We read in Hebrews 13 that we should love each other as brothers and sisters; we should help the needy and remember those in prison. We should remember those who suffer persecution. We should honor marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. We should not love money. Rather, we should remember that God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” Above all, the writer says, we should remember those leaders who taught us the word of God, and follow the example of their faith. In other words, before we chase after snake oil salespersons, we should listen to those leaders who faithfully teach God’s word and who back up their teaching with a godly lifestyle.

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