DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING!
God, I ask for wisdom about living among ungodly people, some of whom are less than totally honest.
Read 1 John 4:1–6
On Denying the Incarnation
4 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit[a] of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
a 1 John 4:6 Or spirit
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectWhom do you know who is honest and true?
“Don’t believe everything you read or hear.” Many years ago, I was talking with a former principal of a developing country’s theological college. He thought that one of the main issues for his students was “who to believe and who not to believe.”
That was a problem in the churches John was advising too. There were various skewed versions of Christianity circulating at the time, and, no doubt, some people found them attractive. But John urges discernment. First, don’t believe every speaker, however plausible they may be. Listen to each speaker carefully; they may be anti-Christ (3). Secondly, look for those speakers who acknowledge that “Jesus Christ has come in the flesh” (2, 3). In other words, a touchstone for all authentic Christian faith was and is Jesus Christ: both fully divine and fully human.
For ourselves, the Spirit of God in us is stronger than the spirit of the age or the spirit of falsehood (4b). The best way is to know God and to listen to Jesus’ apostles, who, John says, “are from God” (6a). This will help us spot the “spirit of falsehood” (6b).
Whom do you allow to speak into your life? Do their words line up with the Word of God? How can you test their teachings against Scripture?
I need Your discernment on who to follow. Open my eyes to see Your truth versus the world’s lies.