Monday, January 20, 2014
Test the Spirits
1 John 4:1-6 (ESV)
I have heard many people tell me that they are spiritual who do not have a relationship with Jesus. Previously, I have thought that they either didn't know what spiritual really meant or that they had been smoking something. I didn't really consider that they could indeed be spiritual but that the spirits which they were relating to could be demons.
Demons are a hard subject to handle for those of us who have been told that there is really no one under the bed, in the closet or in the dark. The bogie man does not exist. We have all heard it and have found it to be true. There is nothing in the unknown but our fears. This is all called into question when the scriptures are read. There are demons active in the world.
Another problem arises once we admit that their are demons. The Hollywood versions stick in our minds so indelibly that we cannot really understand the scripture without having these digital images being brought forth. We think of all sorts of superstitious actions which will rid ourselves of these demons. We see ourselves as being helpless before them unless we can find some holy water.
I watch the movie "Poltergeist" when it came out on video. I admit, it scared the stuffings out of me. It isn't that I thought that this fictional demon was real or that the movie represented a true fear I should have for demons. It was the fear I had for the little girl who was taken by this demon.
And demons really do take people in. Maybe not like in Poltergeist but they do affect and make people feel spiritual. These demons speak to people who know that the messages that they receive come from demons. They see these messages as helpful. The people listening are taken in and never know they are in any danger.
There are two dangers I see. The spirits have led them astray away from Jesus. Otherwise these spirits would be pointing toward Jesus as the Messiah. They would speak of Him as One who gave His physical life for the sins of mankind on the cross. They would tell the hearer of His resurrection and call him to trust in Jesus as Savior.
The danger is also seen in its influence into the world. The world which follows a pattern of disobeying, ignoring and blaspheming God likes the message of the demons. The message appeals to the insatiable lusts of the world. The world simply wants the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.
Those who listen to these demons will not listen to us but we need to be careful that we don't listen to them either. We need to remember what the demons will appeal to, who they will not confess and that the truth will come as we set our minds on spiritual things.
We must always remember that the world is seeking to conform our minds. It is a daily tasks to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Each day our minds must be made new by a fresh washing with God's word. A new commitment in each day will make us have great strides toward walking in the truth.
John warned people about these spirits which were not from God. It must have meant that their messages had a great appeal. At least some people must have been drawn in by them. John speaks as if he has heard people speak of spirits which he knows are not from God. We must always be on our guard because these demons can be incredibly subtle.
So, just as in John's day, we are to test the spirits.