Discerning the spirit at work – Part 1
Believers need vigilance and discernment to know the spirit at work. We are admonished to “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world”. Leaders in the household of faith must be vigilant in order to protect the people of God. They must teach convincingly and clearly, and make the people to discern between the truth and error, the clean and unclean, the acceptable and the unacceptable.
Rather than conclude that God’s Spirit is at work because of the result of false prophecy or necromancy, believers must learn to discern the spirit at work in those who evangelise, preach, pray, prophesy and work miracles. “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world”.
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world”. The Lord, through John the Beloved, tells us to re-examine all active preachers to know whether they are of God or not. Many claim to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers and servants of God; but they are not actually sent by God. They “corrupt the Word of God”, hide it from His people and pose danger to the community of believers and unbelievers. To know the ones who are of God, we must examine the spirit to see whether they abide in the Word of God or not.
The words of people who do not work by the Spirit of God are like a clean source of water going through a poisoned, corroded, rusty or faulty pipe, which when consumed, becomes harmful and kills gradually. Their devastating influence leads their hearers to a devastating end. Although the Lord preserves and protects His people, we must take caution and not listen to people who will derail us from the path of the truth that we have known. While you examine and try other people, examine yourself also to know if you are standing on the Word of God and speaking according to His Word. “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”.
Many preachers and leaders – assigned stewards – fail to recognise or discern the spirit that works in them. We must recognise and discern the identity of the spirit that is trying to work in others and us. The spirit of the Antichrist works in many preachers and teachers, today, who claim to be stewards of the mysteries of the Kingdom. This spirit, which is contrary to that of Christ, energises and influences them to do and say things that are not according to the Word of God.
Further Reading (King James Version): 1 John 4:1,3,6; 1 Timothy 3:2; Ezekiel 44:23; 1 John 4:1,2,5,6; Revelation 2:2; Isaiah 8:20; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; 2:17; 2 Timothy 2:17,18; 2 Peter 2:1-3; Psalm 139:23,24; Luke 9:54,55; 1 John 4:3; Hosea 5:4; Romans 11:7,8; Acts 16:16; Joshua 13:22; Acts 16:16,17; 1 Timothy 4:1,2; 1 John 4:3; 2:18; 2 John 1:7; Deuteronomy 18:9-14; 1 Chronicles 10:13,14; 2 Kings 1:1-4; Revelation 16:13,14; 19:20; 1 John 4:4; 1 Samuel 5:1-4; Acts 5:14-16; 19:11,12; 2 Kings 13:20,21.