Be Aware by Rocky Fleming
by Rocky Fleming
“By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.” 1 John 4:2-3 (ESV)
I’ve recently completed a new book called “The Return.” It is going through the publishing process and will be out in a couple of months. It’s different, for the Lord challenged my normal writing ways. But as He has always done before, I was led to listen to Him and write the thoughts and story He gave me. The fact is I try to do this in all my books and blogs, for people want to hear from God, and I’m only a messenger. But that is not what this blog is about. It’s about you listening to God yourself. The fact is anyone can be deceived and led astray and unfortunately lead others astray. I pray that I never do this. Therefore, it is always heavy on my heart to always encourage my readers back to scripture and this greatest resource so that they can make sure anything I write or say, or anything we hear from others has God’s fingerprint on it. It’s about guarding ourselves from a false voice or a false teacher and to separate truth from deception. That is why we are told in 1 John 4:1-6 to not believe every spirit but to test it first. The best way to test the spirit of a person begins by immersing ourselves in God’s word and asking Him to show us what is true and is false. 2nd Timothy 3:16 is a good verse to reference to begin your immersion.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Some people don’t get it when I speak of an encounter with God, and listening to a still, small voice spoken to my heart. They likely do not understand the intimate connection I must have with Him to write what I write and to speak from my heart. I can understand this, for there were years that I felt the same way. I was a skeptic. I still lift an eyebrow of doubt to some outlandish things that are spoken of as coming from God, and the self-proclaimed “prophets” really disturb me. I’ve had some bad experiences with seeing what a false prophet can do in a church or even a business.
The false prophet divides and confuses rather than building up and encouraging Christians. They try to tell people who will listen that God is speaking through them, and people need to heed, even obey what God supposedly says through this “prophet.” This person tries to tell their listeners how to live, how to act, and to not think for themselves. It is about power and it is not limited to cult compounds. I’ve seen it close hand when I was in business. Now, there are some people who are truly gifted with prophecy, for God still gives special insight to some people to help others. These people build up the Church and always encourage us back to Jesus. That is what the gift of prophecy does. It edifies and encourages Christians toward Christ. It doesn’t try to control them.
The true gift of prophecy that has been dispensed by the Spirit, goes only to a select few Christians, and it does not empower anyone to “own” a person, or control a person, or manipulate a person. This gift is to be exercised as a message, and the person with the gift must realize that they can mistake God’s voice sometimes. They are not infallible. This needs to be understood by all. Then there’s a choice to make. Similar as it was in Jesus day, people had to choose to believe Him or not. Jesus didn’t manipulate or take away their free will to choose. It was their choice, and it is the same with Holy Spirit and His ways. Any message we receive from a person who has the gift requires us a choice to pray about and receive it, provided it passes a test.
So how do we process this caution, and yet not throw out a legitimate word from God? Let’s start by saying that there are a whole lot of cult leaders who have used this “prophet” mantra to manipulate people, and to control them for personal gain and even evil purposes. It is the “spirit of anti-Christ" in them that the Apostle John referenced. A sober fact is there are more of them coming on the scene in increasing numbers now days. As the Lord prophesied, and other scriptures point out, in the last days there will be a strong anti-Christ movement, and the false teachers that disguise themselves as sheep, but who are wolves in sheep garments to look like sheep, will be surfacing. Please be aware that they are out there and increasing.
But there are still those who are true messengers from God, and we need to hear them. So how do we know the difference? We’ve been instructed that caution is required. Test every spirit of a person to see if Christ is there or if an evil doer is at work. The best way to gain discernment is Bible study and consistently diving into the heart and voice of God in scripture. Look deeper into the written word and take it into your heart not just your mind. When this happens, it opens a door to a deeper intimacy with God’s voice. Then everything we think we hear is fact-checked using scripture to see if it is consistent or outlandish. Through this process we will begin to sense God’s leadership, and in His own way He helps us hear His voice.
The process I’ve just described filters the voices of humans who tell us they have a message from God. If it is God speaking through the person, then He will sound very much like the voice we’ve been made familiar with in our own quiet moments with God. If not, we know that the spirit in this person didn’t pass the test and to move them along. Don’t listen to them. Don’t let them in. Turn them away. This is not the time to play the mercy card, for you are dealing with evil that wants to get in. I know I may sound cruel or even contrary to my normal way of dealing with people. But in this situation this person should not be allowed access to us. So, what do we do with this person? With grace and firmness avoid them, but pray that God will open their eyes and heart to the deception they are part of. Leave it at that. Let God help them, if He chooses to do so. But they must be avoided. Be aware.