1 John 4 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from G_d, because many false prophets have gone out into the World. This is how you know the Spirit of G_d: Every spirit who confesses that Messiah Yeshua has come in the flesh is from G_d.” 1 John 4:1
A few years back, I worked for a church in Chicago. When the church renovated its offices, I would often take the train downtown and work from a coffee shop. At lunchtime I would walk across the street, to the Chicago Art Institute.
One of my favorite sections of the museum was the modern art exhibit. As a kid, I remember seeing some of those very paintings in textbooks, and wondering what kindergartener painted them! Abstract art can seem boring in books, but in person, it can be quite compelling.
G_d’s Ruach (Spirit), alive in a person, can have the same riveting effect. Reading the accounts of the apostles often seems black & white and clinical. One can feel detached from the page. But when you are confronted with an actual Ruach-filled believer, fiath in Messiah takes on a whole new dimension!
There are many who profess to know the secrets of G_d. Many would call themselves “experts and teachers”, even amassing large followings. They may be highly educated, and have instant answers to criticism. Some of them become extremely wealthy from their “ministries”. Yet, none of those external evidences guarantees the person is speaking on behalf of G_d on any particular issue. This scenario was true, even among the early Messianic community, so John felt compelled to address it.
In order to not be led astray by false teaching, how can we test the spirits? First off, we should know the Bible. G_d would never contradict His Word, nor would His spokesmen. I teach the Bible linearly (chapter-by-chapter), instead of topically, because I want people to understand the Bible, as an entire narrative…how it all fits together. I personally seek to have a comprehensive knowledge of G_d’s Word, so that when a person says, “I have heard from the L_rd!” I respond, “Show me in the Bible, where G_d would agree with you.” I never rely on a “gut feeling”.
There are many “spirits” or “suggestions” offering spiritual direction. Many of them cozy-up well with belief in Yeshua. The best counterfeits are those that look like the real thing. In the end, the source of all spiritual direction is either the L_rd, or Satan. How must we discern the truth in the midst of such mixed messages? We cannot assume to know G_d’s unrevealed will for our lives, unless we are pursuing His revealed will, the Bible.
Think of it this way: A sign of sickness is a “Gut feeling”. Only the Bible brings true healing.
~Steve Wiggins, Associate Leader, Worship Leader
Daily Devotional, Monday, December 9, 2013