Monday, May 19, 2014

Testing the Spirits

This is a devotional from my friend and co writer Martha Langley. We write on the website but she does the Whispers of God on fb. Check it out. Great writings.
Are you testing the spirits?

We are constantly bombarded with messages and information and advice and even counsel. Ideas come into our heads which seem so right and maybe even, to us, brilliant. The world around us is pushing towards every new technology, every new fad and fashion. What's hot. What's cool. What's passe. We feel pressed to keep up. To perform or respond or change. Then there are the news reports of things tragic and alarming. But also things that elicit ire, or perhaps even inspire. Literally our minds and emotions are like buoys in the ocean being tossed by the waves.

The Bible says that our faith can be like this also. If we are not anchored down in truth, we can be tossed about by every wind of doctrine. The new book which promises that author has found the key to success. The speaker whose life was such a mess and now s/he can tell us how to live our lives without pain or loss. The singer whose talent is so admirable.

Don't get me wrong. God calls and uses people in many ways to share the good news of salvation and new life in Christ. But He also knew that we would be assailed with how-tos and this-is-the-ways and what-ifs which would pull us away from His gospel: The simplicity of Christ. Trusting Jesus alone: Jesus alone to save. Jesus alone to lead. Jesus alone to deliver and transform. Jesus alone to keep our faith ...

So what do we do? When we have that startling idea or hear that "new" message, or see someone whose ministry is off the charts and we wonder if we should be following her/him? We test the spirits. We take everything to God FIRST. "Father, is this You? Would you please give me confirmation? Make my heart lean hard in the direction You want me to go. Take away any voices or vices which are lies or would in the slightest way steal me from following purely Jesus."

Many, many times I can feel so excited--certain that I've hit on something great. Then when I pray and ask, "God, is this You? If it is, then press me harder, and if not, then let me not even remember it," He does exactly that. He either keeps bringing it to mind, or later, I can't even remember what it was I was asking Him about.

"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God...." (1 John 4:1)