TRY THE SPIRITS
1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: Because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Matthew 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many.
Matthew 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many.
The enemy of our souls does not care if we are religious. He does not feel threatened by the numbers in our congregation, or the amount of time we spend pursuing the teachings of men. We do not become a threat to the devil, until we begin to live by the indwelling Spirit of God within our hearts. As long as the enemy can keep our focus on the external, we will never find the power and authority to dethrone him from heavenly places. As long as our eye is centered on pleasing men more than pleasing God, we will be victimized and robbed of our righteousness bought by Christ's shed blood.
How will we know what manner of spirit we are faced with? There is only one way we can know, and that is by the revelation of the Holy Spirit within our own heart. Discernment and maturity are only found as we press into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Accumulating theories and head knowledge about the things of God is a poor substitution for a personal relationship with the Living God. Any course taken outside of a surrendered life to Christ leaves us open to deception. "Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God." To try the spirits means to test, to examine, to prove the spirits.
Gross spiritual darkness covers the hearts and minds of the people worldwide. Very few believers have matured in Christ to the place of possessing discernment. To mature requires effort on our part. It is much easier to sit back and trust in others to give us direction and lead us, rather than to press into knowing God personally. As one presses in to know God, one must accept responsibility for what we do with the Gospel of Christ.
We are held accountable for whether or not we walk in obedience to the Word of God as He reveals it within our heart. We must bring our self; our will, our thoughts and our actions into conformity with God's will. There is vast gulf between God's will and man's will. We are bombarded with groups and individuals all claiming to be performing the will of God in the world today, without the manifestation of the power of God being evidenced in their works.
What does it mean to try the spirits? And what spirits are we admonished to try? If we are walking with God, we have the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. We have Christ himself dwelling within our hearts, to lead and guide us through this life. Too often we fail to comprehend that we are the temple of God, not the buildings we build to come together in. Everyone is operating under a power source. But not everyone who professes to be of God is of God. It is the responsibility of the believer to learn how to test the spirits and know whether they are of God, or whether they are play-actors; counterfeits.
As we allow the Holy Spirit control of our lives, submitting to His leading, we will discover our ability to discern between the false and the truth growing. It is not a matter of mentally discerning. Our carnal mind cannot discern spiritual things. Romans 8:6-9 For to be carnally minded is death: but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. With our natural understanding, the enemy can masquerade in our midst as an angel of light and we will not be able to tell that he is not what he appears to be. We are warned that in the last days, many false prophets will rise up, and deceive many. If we do not want to be counted among those who are deceived, we must guard our hearts with all diligence. Once again remembering that in our mortal state we are no match for the powers we fight against.
Mortal man in his own power does not stand a chance against the supernatural powers of darkness, whose main goal is to destroy God's creation, and thwart God's plan. At the same time, a mortal man grounded in his personal relationship with Jesus Christ, operating from the realm of the spirit residing within his earthen vessel, will defeat all the advances of the enemy. Christ must be the head, the supreme ruler. We do not make any decisions in the battle. We simply follow orders. Many call themselves the children of God. Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. We cannot find another way of being counted among God's children. We are deluding ourselves if we believe that we can do what we want, the way we want, and still be in right standing with God.
We have not been taught to press into a personal relationship with God. We have been taught to attend church whenever the doors are open, and to participate in all of the programs and activities generated to promote church growth. These two things are not the same. Many would like for believers to think that by their participation and support they are growing spiritually. What is of the spirit is spirit, and what is of the flesh is flesh. Too often the church sponsored activities serve no better purpose than to keep people so busy in this already hectic world, that they have no time or energy to examine or even consider how much pleasure God is taking in the works they are performing.
It is generally assumed that whatever the leaders come up with is somehow automatically pre-stamped with God's approval. In today's world we are surrounded with individuals using the name of Jesus freely, attributing his approval to their own agendas. It is the responsibility of every believer to grow up in Christ.
It is our individual responsibility to seek to learn what the Gospel of Christ is and live by it. Do not place your trust for the fulfillment of this responsibility in another. The distortion of the Gospel of Christ is not something new to this generation, or reserved for the last days. It has been going on since Jesus died and was resurrected. The early church were confronted with it on a daily basis.
Notice what Paul said in Galatians 1:8-12 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Paul declares here that the Gospel of Christ, which he preached, was not derived from man, but came through the direct revelation of Jesus Christ to himself. We are no different than Paul, in that we too, can and must receive the same revelation of Christ within our own hearts. And having received it, we must continue to abide in it.
How will we know whether God is the author of what is presented to us? By the witness of our Spirit. Discernment is when the indwelling Spirit of God validates or rejects what others are saying or doing as being in agreement with God's will. Each one of us must develop our own personal relationship with God. As we do so, we will become aware of where our re-born spirit resides within our being. When we are confronted with false-hoods and distortions of the Gospel of Christ, we will have a sick feeling within. Sometimes it is a gentle nudge or prompting, sometimes it is an overwhelming, almost physical revulsion, and we have to get away from the source. God will teach us, each in our own way, what things He wants or doesn't want in our lives. What voices we can listen to and what voices we must reject. What is of Him, and what is counterfeit. At this time the Christian Church is full of mixture. Bits and pieces of truth mixed with carnal interpretations and the imaginations of men. Jesus said in John 8:31,32 If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.
Know that there are many false prophets actively building their own religious empires in the world today. Freely using the name of Jesus to validate their own lustful desires. It is almost impossible today to turn on Christian television stations and not be bombarded with people asking for money, promising you health, wealth and prosperity if you will just contribute to their ministries. They make Jesus a piece of merchandise. The spirits that manifest in the world are not at issue here, it is the spirits that are operating within the churches, and deceiving the believers we are taking issue with. As a believer, now is the time to get serious about your relationship with God. The exercising of your discernment does not require that you pass judgment on individuals based on your personal response to them. The testing and proving of spirits does not originate in our carnal thinking.
Only God knows the thoughts and intents of every heart. Differences over doctrines and interpretations are not grounds for passing judgment. We cannot tell who is authentic and who is counterfeit except as the Spirit reveals it to us. The witness of the Spirit of God within our vessel is given to us for our protection. The Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth. It is imperative that believers start heeding the promptings of the Spirit within, and avoid all things that do not feel right.
Often when we get a negative witness, we try to reason it away. Know that one can always reason/logic away the things of God, misconstruing them into something that they are not. We always have the power of choice to reject or dismiss God's warning to us, but we do so at our own peril. Our faith is placed in Jesus Christ and His faithfulness. We always will be confronted with the choice of placing that faith in another person, as representative of Christ. This we do at our own peril. Nothing and no one can take the place of our personal relationship with God. We are warned again in Mathew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
The Lord clearly warns us here that the deception will be great. Do not trust in your own judgment to determine who and what is of God and who and what are not of God. Learn for yourself what Jesus said. Prayerfully go to the Word and ask the Lord to reveal the meaning to you through the Holy Spirit. Do not allow yourself to get mired in the teachings and doctrines of man, which are many. Do not allow yourself to be snared by the charisma of a spiritual leader or even by your devotion to a loved one or family member. We are presently living in the last days.
The mixture and deception in the world have never been greater. There has never been a time in the history of man comparable to today. As events unfold around the world, we must each take stock of what they mean and represent. We must each find that place where we know without a doubt that we are in God's perfect will for us. It probably will not be a place we would have chosen, yet if we will trust in God, we will see that He knows far better than we what the future holds and what is best for us. Do not ignore that prompting in your inner man warning you that something is not right, even though to your natural ears you can find no fault with it. We must all determine who will we listen to? Who will we obey? There is no place of refuge in the days ahead outside of Jesus Christ. We have the written Word of God at our disposal; we have the unction of the Holy Spirit to guide us.
It is our responsibility to ourselves, to our loved ones, and most of all, to God... to grow up in Christ Jesus. To learn to live by the Spirit and not by the flesh. John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. 1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, that he that is in the world. May we all determine to be overcomers, to believe the Word of God above the words of men, to live by the Spirit and not by the flesh.
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