Trying the Spirits

Everyday, whether online, on television, or in person, we are bombarded with all kinds of ideas. Some of these relate to science and the millions of years in which everything is alleged to have come into existence. Some deal with social issues such as homosexuality, transgenderism, abortion, or illegal immigration. There are some in this world who believe everything that they hear. For instance, they may think that a man who tries to change his gender is actually a woman, no matter what others know about him. They also ignore what Genesis 1: 27b says: “male and female created he them, meaning that gender is consistent in a person’s lifetime. In other words, no matter how one’s hair color, voice or other factors change, they are always either male or female.

What about us? Do we believe every bit of information that we receive or do we analyze it in the light of Scripture? As in all things, the Bible is our guide as to how we should live our lives. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God: because there are many false prophets that are gone out into  the world”(I John 4:1). This passage calls us to exhibit a spirit of discernment in this information age. Unfortunately, there are those in the church who promote false ideas. Joel Osteen is a prominent promoter of a false gospel. He believes that God will give us virtually everything we want, that we will suffer little to no persecution and that being Christians will open doors for us. He ignores such passages as Psalm 34:18: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all”. Joseph suffered wrongful imprisonment and separation from his family for a considerable length of time and Job lost his physical health, all his earthly possessions and his children. He also had friends who kicked him while he was down and gave him little comfort. In addition, Paul’s prophetic statement in II Timothy 3:12 is cast aside: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

Although we face light persecution right now, but God’s people in China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and many other countries suffer great persecution and that will be our lot in the future also. Joel Osteen, Rob Bell and other false teachers advocate such ideas as the acceptance of homosexuality, the right of women to serve as officebearers in the church, theistic evolution among other things. Rob Bell believes that hell doesn’t exist and that God will give the wicked a second chance to repent, ignoring what Jesus describing as being a place “..where their worm dieth not, and fire is not quenched”(Mark 9:44). When it comes to music we are to be spiritually discerning as well. Why must we be selective when singing spiritual songs? We must be alert to false doctrines in songs such as “You must open the door” where the chorus closes with the following line: “He wants to come in and save you from sin but you must open the door.” This song and others like promote Arminianism which teaches that our own good works, including accepting Christ into our hearts, will save us. We have many resources available for our use: people we can talk to, books we can read and websites we can visit. In doing so, we gain a better knowledge of this world and how it works. We must, however, be very choosy as to what we believe and why we believe it. We must be able to tell right from wrong, truth from error and when we do this God will bless us. In showing spiritual discernment we will know better what God’s law says and how He requires us to live as young people and young adults in the 21st century. May God give us this grace!

Kevin Rau

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