Test the Spirits

John Koedyker

Read: 1 John 4:1-6

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God. (v. 1)

Growing up I did not like tests. They intimidated me. My mind went blank and all the facts I had carefully memorized somehow disappeared. One can hardly have a school and not have tests, of course. In reality, tests are the means for a teacher to make sure that the students “get it.” When I was in college, I understood better how tests were opportunities, not only for the teachers to make sure about their students, but for students to grow in their understanding. Tests were not so much factual but involved applying principles further and in other situations.

I believe John is aiming at the same idea here in these verses. He wants believers to be sure about things. The test of faith is not so much reciting Bible verses but living into them and trusting the truth they reveal. But most of all, trusting Jesus!

There were false teachers in John’s day as there are today. John warned his readers that false teachers “are from the world and therefore they speak from the viewpoint of the world” (v. 5 NIV). The world may see Jesus one way, but the Christian confesses him as the divine Son of God and the One who saves us from our sins. Nothing less than that will do, unless you want to fail the test. —John Koedyker

Prayer: Thank you, Holy Spirit, for revealing the truth of the Savior to us in the Scriptures. Amen.