Believe Not Every Spirit

“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. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 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, ESV)

If we could see the invisible world that surrounds us we might be tempted to dive under the bed and stay there until the Lord comes back, because as spiritual as we suppose ourselves to be, focusing on the spiritual realm might overpower our physiological ability to absorb its reality! Face it Christians, we exercise faith (and not sight) in these areas. So we cause ourselves no little grief when we try to measure spiritual elements with earthly rulers.

But all persons and not just Christians interface with the spiritual world. Christians have God’s indwelling Holy Spirit, and unbelievers access him externally when, as Jesus said, “the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44). It is God who draws all people to himself — so he is proactive in this, and he waits patiently people to respond. But long-suffering is not forever-suffering, and if a person ignores this draw long enough to develop “spiritual calluses” and no longer feel God’s gentle pull (Ephesians 4:19), God will cease to woo him.

We regenerated persons (those of us born-again by the Spirit of God) have had a defining spiritual experience; we possess the indwelling Spirit of God! But the Spirit of God will not cohabitate with the spirit of antichrist, and as such, born-again believers are better able than unbelievers to discern who's who in the spiritual realm.

Every one of us, however, still lives out our lives in a physical world — and it is this world that dominates our senses. It folds around us and makes it difficult to see experiences beyond the flesh. Therefore, one of Satan's most effective tools is to keep us so busy — so earthbound — that we have little impetus to respond to his drawing or instructions.

God did not stick us in a boat with no oars, however. We may speak to the Father directly at any time in the name of Jesus Christ; we have God's word (the Bible) and an Illuminator of its pages — the Holy Spirit himself. It is he who helps us to understand God's revealed truth. But even we Christians spend all of our time living in the world (physically, that is), and therefore we must be proactive in choosing to walk in the spiritual realm and to grow and Christ, because not choosing it means that the default life, the worldly life, predominates. This is another great advantage of Satan: every human life starts with its defaults set for sin, death and hell. It takes an action by a person to access God's provisions for eternal life in heaven.

The real war for our personal eternity rages beyond our sight in the world of the spirit and any spirit that is not the Spirit of God seeks to diminish the impact of Jesus Christ. How? One method is to teach that Jesus was a “great teacher” or a “good man”… but a mere man. Saying “good” things about the Lord — but in part — can be more evil than dismissing him altogether (Mark 10:18). This is why God gave us a litmus test for truth. 

Any spirits which steer people away from the truth of Jesus Christ, no matter what the source and no matter what the method, are not of God. God is all about truth, so he reveals. Satan is all about lies, so he conceals… but he does it subtly. All of his actions and methods are the spirit of antichrist — even when clothed in godly rhetoric. The true Christ does not need rhetoric, because the true Christ is biblically revealed. Check it out for yourself. In the meantime, accept no good-sounding substitutes. Jesus is indeed Lord and God, and you must reckon him as such…but I recommend sooner rather than later.

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