Discerning the Spirit of God

I think it’s easy to get comfortable in our relationship with God. We get up on Sunday morning and go to church, sing a few songs, listen to a sermon and feel like we’ve given God a portion of our time. Wow, that’s so sad, but I’ve been there, I understand. But, I want to encourage you to look for more in your relationship with the Father.

The scripture for Sunday’s sermon comes amidst John talking about love and abiding…

1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God; every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

1 John 4:1-3

So why does John change his topic here? We live in a time when it’s so easy to get scammed. My emails, Facebook feed, even my phone is bombarded daily by scammers trying to get my money. They prey on the elderly who may not be so tech savvy. They can make it sound or look so official if you don’t know the signs to look for.

But, it’s not just about money. There is a spiritual war going on around us. Satan is in the world and it’s important that we discern where the message is coming from. Just because something is supernatural doesn’t mean it comes from God. There are 3 types of spirits: those from God, demonic, or human. Therefore, it’s important that we can tell them apart. So we “test” the spirits.

Does the message line up with scripture? This is why it’s important to read your Bible and study the nature and character of God. If it seems contrary to what we know about God, it’s not from God.

20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

2 Peter 1:20-21

If we are impressed by false prophets or a false Jesus, we’ve failed to discern where the message is coming from. If we are not presented a true Jesus, one who is fully God and fully human, the prophet is not from God. Satan doesn’t care if we if we know Jesus so long as its a false Jesus.

We’ve been lied to by false prophets who tell us these lies:

  • Some sins are worse than others.
  • There are two types of people. Not So Bad sinners and Bad sinners.
  • Yes, some carry more severe consequences, but both are sins.
  • But thinking that one group is more awesome than the other is ludicrous.
  • We are all sinners. Stop ranking sins!
  • The Cross is for every person. We need to treat people this way.
  • God is not okay with doubt and anger.
  • God is all powerful. His love for you is so deep that he gave up His Son so you could have eternal life. God can handle some doubt and anger. He knows what we’re facing here on earth!
  • We’ve all struggled with doubt or anger at one time. That’s a time that we can draw nearer to God, not pull away from him.
  • God’s love for me is determined by my behavior.
  • There is nothing we can do to earn His love. We think too much of ourselves if this is what we think.
  • No matter how good we think we are, we fall short of God’s standard.
  • It’s all about Jesus and what he did on the cross for us.
  • When you mess up, praise God. His love for you hasn’t changed.
  • And when you do great, praise God. His love still hasn’t changed.
  • God wants me to be happy.
  • Happiness is an emotion. It changes with the events of the day.
  • We should be thankful God is more concerned with lasting qualities such as peace and joy. They are unaffected by the events of life.

If you hear these thoughts come from the pulpit, they’re coming from a false teacher. They are acting on behalf of Satan. They’ll move you away to false gods, false hope, false love. To move you away from the freedom, love, and grace of Jesus.

Ways to test a spirit

  • How does the teaching affect my relationship with God?
  • Is He magnified and glorified, or diminished?
  • How does the teaching affect my attitude toward the Lord Jesus Christ?
  • Is the focus on Jesus or on someone else?

All thoughts to consider as we become more aware of the influences in our world. Know that God’s plan for our lives will bring us closer to him. The spirits in this world all not all from God. Satan has spirits in the world, too. Their intention is to steer us away from the true Jesus.

I hope you found some nugget that you can take away from reading this post. Until next time,

In Faith,

Pam

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