In my last post (July 27, 2011), I talked about Matthew 7:1-5, and the fact that we should not judge others. In the same way that we judge them, we also will be judged. That does not mean that we should abandon all of our faculties for judgement and discernment. God gave us our brains for a purpose. In 1 John 4:1-6 we are told to use them.
I was particularly drawn to 1 John 4:4, because it is a very encouraging verse. We are from God, we have conquered them, and we are on the winning side because the one who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world. It is good to know that even though we are struggling through this life, we will have victory. Halleluljah! But let’s take a closer look at that verse. Whenever I see a pronoun—in this case the word ‘them’—I want to make sure that I understand what it represents. Who have we conquered? In this case, it is the false prophets from 1 John 4:1.
We are living in the midst of a spiritual battle. (Ephesians 6:12) We are at war with the spiritual forces of evil whether we want to believe it or not, so we need to be careful what we believe. Satan’s whole purpose is to deceive us and to turn us away from God, (1 Peter 5:8, June 3, 2011) and he has many people on his team. How do we know what is true? It may seem harder to figure out in these days when few people believe in absolute truth, but 1 John 4:2-3 shows us the way. If the spirit confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord, that He came to earth in the flesh, that He is who He claimed to be, then it is a spirit of truth, a spirit from God. If the spirit denies Christ, says that Christ is not from God, it is a spirit from the enemy.
Those who are from God will understand and listen to those who are from God. 1 John 4:5-6 Those who are from the world will not; they will tell us that we’re crazy. They may tell us that there is no God or that we might as well believe in little green men too. But do not despair, for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.