“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.” (1 John 4:1)
If you have been serving the Lord for sometime, then you have surely heard of, or from those who say “God told me.” These are the people who claim to have the spiritual gift of discernment. And the way they go about it, wrapping themselves up in a blanket of spirituality, if you are not careful, you will sheepishly accept their word as final, the end of any discussion. But I do understand to some extent though. When they portray themselves as God’s vicar, how can you argue against what God has told them?
Really? End of discussion? God told them? You’ve got to be kidding me. What about you learning to say “God hasn’t told me…yet”? Why do I encourage you this way? Because we worship a supernatural God who supernaturally intervened in human history in the person of Jesus Christ and as a result we (those who accept Him as their Lord and Saviour) underwent a supernatural transformation that has made us new creatures. You too!
So, the Holy Spirit indwells us supernaturally and, check this, He the Holy Spirit has supernaturally endowed us/you with gifts for the edification and build up of the church. So we need to understand spiritual gifts and why satan counterfeits them. He counterfeits them because they are critical, absolutely necessary to the life and functioning of the church.
And how does the church function? It functions on the basis of the gifts (ministry) of each member within that church. Each one of us is like a member of that body. Each member is to minister to the other and that’s why it’s seen as a body. Yes, the Bible is clear about the importance of spiritual gifts. Yet, many who claim to have certain spiritual gifts do not necessarily have them. Thus God’s Word tells us to test the spirits to see if they are of God or otherwise. Testing is simply lining up the God told me with the Bible!
You know, there are 4 key passages (Romans 12; Ephesians 4, 1 Peter 4) in the Bible that talks about spiritual gifts, but 1 Corinthians 12-14 is the most in-depth. Do you know how Ch. 12 opens and how Ch. 14 ends? 12:1 starts with “Now concerning spiritual gifts brethren, I would not have you ignorant.” And Ch. 14:38 says “But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.”
Sadly, many in our churches are busily running after signs and wonders and thus don’t read the Word. So they are ignorant and some, strapped by immaturity, insecurity and needing attention, bully others and arm-twist for God. I mean they use vain language, speaking with the tongues of men and of angels, but have no love so they are like sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. They use “god-talk” in order to gain attention, to be in control, to get their own way, and/or to feel important while making you feel spiritually inferior.
Our main scripture says “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.” But it’s up to you. After all1 Corinthians14:38 says “But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” (i.e. continue to be ignorant).
This week, take a stand for the Lord; spiritually don’t be a biblical pauper.
Proposed prayer: “Dear Lord God, I pray and ask that You give me a discerning spirit so that I will function properly in the body, knowing what words come from You and what do not. Help me not to impose myself on the brethren but rather, righty divide the Word of truth, to Your glory. This week please give me the focus and the ability to apply wisdom in all things. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.”