Trust but verify
The Bible says not to believe every spirit, but test the spirits to make sure they come from God. (1 John 4:1)
How do we test or verify?
#1 God’s Spirit will affirm that Jesus lived as a man and that He is Lord. (1 John 4:1-3, 1 Corinthians 12:3)
#2 God’s message will conform to His word, the Bible. That’s one reason why it’s important to get to know your Bible. Knowing your Bible gives you foundational knowledge that makes it harder for you to be deceived.
#3 When God’s Spirit is finished, there will be peace. He might point out your need to make a change, but He never paralyzes or condemns. He always gives you a very clear path to freedom. That path may involve making a hard choice, but it will be clear. God is not the author of confusion. God’s message will not leave you with anxiety or fear. It will leave you with peace.
#4 And following His directions will result in a good life where you stay healthy and bring much good into the lives of others. If the messages you are receiving, pull you in a different direction or result in something other than love, joy, peace and patience, then it’s time to re-examine whether what you thought you heard really came from God.
#5 A message from God will stand the test of time. In most cases, they won’t be terribly time sensitive, so you can pray it through again tomorrow and see if you get the same thing.
#6 In addition, God has put you with other Christians, brothers and sisters in the family of God. There’s safety in community. If you’re not sure whether what you’re getting comes from God, check it out with a brother or sister with more experience in the faith. You might want to check it out with a couple of people. Many times God speaks to a group rather than to one individual.
This post is adapted from content found in my book Spiritual Self Defense. More info here:
Answer from last time: Job’s wife said, “Curse God and die.”
New question: In the Bible two people slept in a boat during a storm. Jesus was one of them. Who was the other?