December 4 - Discerning Spirits
From a parable of the wheat and tares, Jesus tells us that while the Son of Man sows the seeds of wheat, the enemy is sowing seeds of tares in the field. So when both are grown, it is very difficult to distinguish both until the harvest. Jesus tells the disciples not to tear out the bad ones for the sake of the true children of God so that they would not be harmed. John the apostle, when he addresses the church, clearly warns of the children of darkness living among the children of light within God’s church.
The first part in discerning people with a different seed is to observe their lives to see if they are Christ-like, having truth and love. If they habitually practice lying and hatred, they do not have eternal life and belong to the devil. John then goes a step further by talking about how to discern spirits. The Holy Spirit, God, is spirit. He dwells in believers and we are the temples of the Spirit. The evil spirits that are not of the Holy Spirit also want to dwell in bodies so that their sinful characters could be manifested.
If the children of God are filled by the Holy Spirit, then the children of the devil are filled by demonic spirits. Other than observing the outside, one must look at the inside of persons to see what spirit is there. John warns against believing every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they are from God. Many false prophets have gone out into the world and they are filled by demonic spirits. By taking in their teachings or prophecies, we open ourselves to the infestation of the demonic.
The Holy Spirit testifies to Christ and His Word while the spirit of the anti-Christ goes against the teachings of Jesus. When the people of God reject the truth of the Word of Christ, they are infected with the spirit of anti-Christ, claiming that Christ has not come in the flesh. The Holy Spirit proceeds from God and comes into the world while the spirit of the world is in the world and of the world. The spirit of the world is self-centered while the Holy Spirit is Christ-centered. If we love the world, i.e. love the self, the love of God is not in us. God’s Spirit is a Spirit of truth, teaching and guiding us into the truth. The spirit of error aims at deceiving the world into falsehood and non-truths.
God has given His Spirit to live in us, call out to the Holy Spirit and have Him fill the totality of your being. When you have the true Spirit, you may then discern the false spirits. Many believers are afraid of the Holy Spirit and consequently unable to discern what is real. Some are even infected by the demonic spirits. This explains why we see a lot of the works of the devil in the church of God. Be filled by the Holy Spirit and you can discern the spirits of anti-Christ, of the world and of error.
Ps 135:8-14 Dan 11:36-12:13 1 John 4:1-21 Prov 29:2-4