You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. – 1Jn. 4:4 NIV
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In the world that we live in today, just as in the days of the disciples, there are several sources of information available to the Christian, all claiming to be heralding the Good News. They all seem to have a foundation in the scripture since it is the obvious book that is always referenced during Ministration. However, the conduct of the people, especially those who are disseminating this Good News differs from one group to the other with each group claiming to be the authentic group that are operating in the doctrines of the Bible. The leaders of these group are also not doing anything to discourage this dis-unity amongst those who are supposed to be working with the same manual. This definitely throws up confusion in the mind of the one that is eager to worship as such begins to wonder why there should be any difference between people or groups who are supposed to be operating with the same guidelines.
A deeper look into this unhealthy development will reveal the following as the possible cause of this unwarranted dis-unity.
- Non-recognition of the relevance of the Holy Spirit especially with regards to interpreting what is been read and preached.
- Knowledge deficit in the leadership of many of such groups as majority of the leaders are only peddling the wrong doctrine that their mentor passed unto them.
- Deliberate peddling of falsehood to gain material advantage.
- Masquerading of darkness as light. The activity of the Devil to deceive the elect and win them over to himself.
The result of any or all of the above is confusion amongst the innocent followers with many wrongly believing they are worshipping God when they are actually at best, not worshiping at all or worse still worshipping men or even a god that is different from the Almighty God, but they are in a church expected to be the church of the Almighty God. Of course such people can never get the reward of the Almighty God for true worshippers no matter how much commitment they invest into worship sessions. That has left many Christians no doubt frustrated with their Christian life.
To say that any one who wants to worship the Almighty God must confirm, the spiritual acceptance of the choice of place of worship with the Lord will be an under-statement. It is indeed a must if such a person will not be investing physical and spiritual efforts wrongly. The choice of where to worship can never be left to the simple reasons of, “this is the church where I was born”, to the very ridiculous reason like, “the pastor preaches the Word very well”. It must be on the firm conviction that the foundation of all that is done in that group is biblical and based on the interpretation of the Word by the Holy Spirit and the Will of God to have such a person worship in that group.
The disciple John, suggests that the one that intends to avoid this double error cannot decide on such an important part of life without carrying out spiritual tests to confirm the spirit in operation in the church leader or on such pulpits. Such test becomes necessary because there are many false prophets who have gone out into the world, claiming to be from God. The disciple John says the way to test such claims is not in listening to what they are saying but observe the act of such people with regards to there acknowledgement of the fact that Jesus came in flesh as anything contrary is an indication that the operational spirit is the spirit of the anti-Christ – 1Jn. 4:2-3.
To acknowledge something is to accept the truth or the existence of the thing. The truth to accept in this instance is the simple fact that God came to the world as man. That he came in flesh and went through all that any man went through, is going through or will go through. That he gave guiding principles on how to live Christian lives including living with fellow Christians. That indeed he was crucified and buried which means that he dropped this mortal body at some point and resurrected. And finally, that he is coming back to judge the world with regards to their compliance with the guiding principles he laid out when he came. Dis-regard for any part of these series of events is an indication of the non -acknowledgement of his coming or his person. To test with this standard will be to see how many of the present leaders operate their personal lives with such guidelines, not just preaching it. Acts such as discrimination (Jn. 3:16) and judgement of fellow brothers (Matt. 7:1-3) will definitely run contrary to his guidelines and when this is done with impunity, it definitely will not project such as acknowledging that he came in flesh. The only evidence of his coming is the actions that he took and instructions that he left behind.
How do you rate your spiritual location or leadership based on this standard? The disciple John says you should be in a good position to rate such if indeed you are honest with your Christian beliefs and status. This is because the one who is in you as a true believer is greater than any other spirit that may be in existence in the world which is the foundation scripture for today’s devotion.
The above implies that you can only be deceived by the leadership of your Christian group if you are already deceiving yourself about your claims to being a Christian. It will be simply impossible for any spiritual leader to deceive you if you are indeed born again and have experienced both water and spiritual baptism. At that point the one inhabiting you is the Holy Spirit which, no doubt is greater than any spirit that is in operation whether in the heavenly places or the world for that matter. Be honest with your claims to being a believer and you will avoid been deceived as that remains the only way you can claim that the one in you is greater than the one in the world. It is not a mere pronouncement or a mantra to be recited, but a true reflection of the spiritual state of the one making such claims. Decide today to be honest with your claims of being a Christian as that is what will help you to avoid the deceit of men. May God help you in your decision in Jesus name. Amen.