The Bible is very clear that we are to discern, use wisdom, and test every spirit. Everything we hear, see, and are taught is not necessarily God. 1 John 4:1 is very clear, it states, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
Do we understand what testing involves? Do we know who God is so when people come with their messages about God we filter them through our own relationship with God? Do we know the character of God? Do we know the word of God? God does not violate His word. He expands our understanding, He does not violate His principles.
Over the years I have heard and seen many people led into ditches because they thought they were following God. They were led by their own hearing/sensing/feelings/thoughts or by someone else’s. Some were led into cults. Some had relationships or ministries destroyed. Some abandoned hearing from God all together-“It is too messy. I can not hear from God. God does not speak. Too many crazies saying they hear from God!”
God does speak. What gets people in trouble is not testing what they hear, see, think, or are taught. The devil speaks too. He pretends to be God. He will give people thoughts that start with, “I” so they believe it is their thought or feeling. The flesh also has a voice. So sometimes what people think or say is God is truly flowing from their own soul (mind, will, emotions). The soul is sometimes broken and therefore speaks out of it’s brokeness.
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks,~Luke 6:45 (NKJV).
Example, my earthly father has brown skin. He is a pastor and Chaplain. One day a man said to him, “You know! I am so glad colored people get to go to heaven, too bad we will be on seperate sides!” What this man was saying was there was a white’s only section in heaven.
Lets review this word with the Bible.
God is not white (Caucasian, European). God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24). When God decided to put on flesh through His Son, Jesus came through the lineage of the Jews. He came through the tribe of Judah-one of the 12 tribes of Israel (Matthew 1:1-13).
Jesus had no earthly father-He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and came through the womb of Mary (Matthew 1:18).
Jesus was born in the Middle East/Africa region (Matthew 2:1). He was not European though He is painted that way.
The Bible also tells us every tribe, nation, and tongue will be represented in heaven (Revelation 5:9), and there is no mention in all of scripture of segregation or God prefering people with paler skintones or European ancestry. You read of God’s love for all humanity and see His favor on the Jewish people (who were not European Jews) and His extention of that favor to the Gentiles.
All the information I shared with you is in the Bible. The man who spoke this to my father claimed to be a Christian. Where did his thoughts on heaven come from? I have no clue. I will say it is very important we take the things people say, the things we hear in our own minds, things we see…to the word of God.
My friends could not understand my outrage over the Noah movie that came out a few years ago. I love all people, yet the film was a gross misrepresentation of the heart of God, the character of God, the roles/functions of demons, and painted a horrible picture of Noah and God (called Creator).
Lets get you going on testing things…
Let’s start with the basics. Who is God. What is He like?
- God is holy. He does not sin nor lead people into sin (1 Peter 1:16).
- God is love (unconditional, sacrificial, unselfish love) (1 John 4:8).
- God has a will and it is perfect (Romans 12:2, Matthew 7:21-23).
- God is honest, He cannot lie (Numbers 23:19).
- God comforts and encourages (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
- God redeems and offers grace/mercy to the repentant (Isaiah 47:4, 2 Chronicles 7:14, Acts 3:19).
- God speaks and communicates with His children (John 10:27).
- God is after relationship/intimacy with humanity (John 17:21-23).
- God alone is worthy of worship (Revelation 4:11).
- God gives hope (Romans 15:13).
There are certainly more verses and characteristics about God. Open the Bible and research who He is.
When something pops up in your head, you have a thought, are given a word/prophetic word/sermon/insight/a book, what do you do with it?
The Bible says take every thought captive and make it obedient to the word of God (2 Corinthians 10:5). Get in the word. I do not just take what pastors, leaders, people say and run with it. Where is it in the Bible? Where does God say this is good? Does this draw me closer to God or to sin? Do I have hope? Is there redemption?
Today people say sex outside a natural born man and woman in lifelong covenant is okay. Yet there is not one scripture to support it. Scriptures on sexual conduct-(Leviticus 18, 1 Corinthians 6:18, 20, Proverbs 6: 27-29, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Ephesians 5:3-4, 1 Corinthians 7:2, Romans 1:26-27).
The world says do what feels good to you. The Bible says, “Deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow Jesus,” (Matthew 16:24)
Born again believers are also told to be led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14-17). The Holy Spirit in a born again believer will bear witness to what is God. It still needs tested and weighed against the Word of God and character of God.
I have heard countless people say God told them something or to do something that was not fitting the mold of His character and violated His word.
A lady who told me the Holy Spirit told her to never read the Bible just listen to his voice. Wrong. Scripture says, “Study to show yourself approved,“~2 Timothy 2:15. And there are many encouragements in the Bible to read and study the words of God and His stories.
A man who said the Holy Spirit told him to change his gender and approved of his homosexual relationship. Please go through and read all the verses on sexual conduct. There is not one and I looked, verse or passage that says, “It is good for a man to have sexual relations with a man.” The Bible states that it is not good. Nor are there any Bible verses that state the gender of a person is flexible. None that state God didn’t know what He was doing so we get to choose. Actually what it says is…”Who are you, mere human beings to argue with God? Should the thing that was created, say to the one who Created it, “Why did you make me this way?“, Romans 9:20.
A lady who felt God had given her the wrong husband so she cheated with another married man. Wrong. God does not tell people to not commit adultery in His Word (Exodus 20:14) then say, “Oh for you, I will make an exception.” God is not double minded.
She hurt her husband and destroyed two families, hurt her reputation as a believer, stained the views of those around her of God. God brought restoration through repentance to both families. Yet she followed a lie and did not hold up her thoughts/feelings/urges to the word of God.
There are also far too many personal experiences I have had with people speaking things into my life or over me that were not God.
So here are my tests for releasing things/testing things:
- Does it align with Scripture?
- Does it align with the character or nature of God?
- Does it convey a message of love and holiness?
- Is God exalted? Or the person speaking?
- Will this draw someone closer to the heart of God? Do I feel drawn to the heart of God by what was said or shown me?
- Does the Holy Spirit in me agree with this?
- Is this growing my knowledge or the other person’s knowledge of God?
- How would I feel if someone said this to me? Or about me?
- If it is a correction word, is there redemption? Or does it simply leave the person feeling hopeless, discouraged, or depressed.
I take things to God,”Okay God, the pastor or leader or person said this, where is this in the Word of God? What is Your truth? What are we keeping? What are we shelving? What are we tossing?”
If I have a relationship with the person or feel it’s necessary,I provide feedback so there can be growth. If I do not have relationship with that person (they are on tv, etc.), I pray. Everyone is learning, growing, and there’s mercy and grace. Lord knows I need it. I am learning too!
I do not make a public campaign to smear the person. I do not gossip about them or put them down. We are called to test/judge words. We are called to test/discern every spirit. We are called to love people. Love prays. Love corrects to restore.
God bless you!