The Spirit Test

I once met a man who had devoted his entire life to spirituality.  He was revered in his community.  His main responsibility every morning, was to go up on a high hill and perform a ceremony that would wake God up for the day.  In order to be punctual, so God would not oversleep, this man set an alarm clock.  You can probably spot some logical problems with his form of spirituality.  

To know that someone is “spiritual” is no guarantee that they are telling you the truth, or that they even have your best interest in mind.  Some “spiritual” leaders actually use their position to abuse others.  We have to be discerning.  Jesus told His followers to be “shrewd as snakes” because He was sending them out like sheep among wolves (Matthew 10:16).

Here’s how John taught us what to look for:

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,  but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.  (1 John 4:1-3)

At first glance, an odd test: Did Jesus Christ actually come in the flesh?  In John’s day there were all sorts of “spiritual” teachings that denied Jesus’ humanity.  Once they repackaged Jesus, they could make Him into a Messiah that conformed with their own ideas.  Others, over the years, have added and subtracted from the Biblical record of Who Jesus was, what He said and what He was like, in order to mold Him into a more understandable or comfortable Messiah.

But with Jesus, what you see is what you get.  He came in human flesh.  He lived a sinless life.  He claimed to be One with God.  He willingly died a bloody, agonizing death.  He was brought back to life by God.  He is God’s only plan to reconcile humans to Himself.  He is the Way, the Truth and the Life – for everyone who believes.

A teaching may be spiritual, but if it changes Jesus, it isn’t Holy Spiritual.

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