In these days we are living, we are in need of discernment in growing measure. With debates and arguments constantly going on around us, we need to remember that passion, volume, and/or frequency does not always mean truth.
John, in his writings, begs us to be mindful to not believe everything we hear or see. He tells us to “test the spirits” to be certain they are from God and line up with His Word –
“Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God.” (1 John 4:1, NLT)
I will admit, discernment is something I seek from God regularly. The thought of deception scares me deeply.
Let’s return to 1 John and see what he has to tell us about testing the spirits. The one who knows God will:
- Honor Christ in His entirety. A true follower will believe that Christ is ALL He claimed to be. “This is how we know if they have the Spirit of God: If a person claiming to be a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ came in a real body, that person has the Spirit of God. But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God.” (1 John 4:3, NLT)
- Listen to the Spirit. A true follower will listen to the Word of God with the intent to obey His Word. “But we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us. If they do not belong to God, they do not listen to us.” (1 John 4:6, NLT) A true follower will agree with the teachings found and taught in Scripture.
- Love others. A true follower will love others because God is love. God is the source of all love and because He resides in us, we are able to love those around us. “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7, NLT)
Let’s be wise in these days we are living.
Don’t believe everything you are told.
Test the spirits.