I John 4:2-3 “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”
Have you ever noticed those silly masks that seem to surface during presidential elections? You know the ones – with the faces of various presidential candidates. Everywhere you look, you see a candidate’s face on someone else’s body. I wonder if anyone has ever been fooled into thinking that was a real candidate.
But there are a lot of people masquerading as Christians, too, and they are a little harder to identify. There are many who acknowledge Jesus as God’s Son, at least in their words. But John tells us how to recognize a spirit. Our spirits go beyond our words, to the very core of our beings. When we recognize Jesus as God’s Son in our spirits, we give Him lordship over our lives. When our spirits submit to Christ’s authority as God’s Son, then our lives are lived out in a way that pleases Him. We can recognize whether or not God’s Spirit lives in a person by watching the way they live their lives.
We can acknowledge Christ with our words, but if we don’t live in a way that acknowledges Christ’s lordship in our lives, our spirits are not controlled by God. We can attend church, teach Bible studies, even memorize scripture, but it will all be meaningless if we don’t give Christ first place in our hearts. Without this acknowledgement, our labor reflects only religion, and not a relationship with God.
Satan wants to confuse us this way. He tricks us into thinking that religion and godliness are one and the same. He will even send teachers to confuse us, to feed our ears with things that sound good. But we mustn’t be gullible! We should measure everything we are taught against the Bible. If it agrees with God’s Word, it is from God. If it doesn’t, it is just as fake as one of those silly masks.
Dear Father, Please help me to recognize Jesus as Your Son, and give Him his rightful place in my life. Let the spirit that others see in me be Your Spirit.
Thanks for making this so clear, Renae. You do such a great job of that. This is a very convicting post for me. I want the spirit others see in me to be Christ’s spirit, but I can think of several recent times when I know that was not the case, and how I regret it.
Oh, I hate it when that happens, Jeanette! WE all have those mess-ups. But one thing John says at another place is that we are not to CONTINUE in sin. When we mess up, we’re supposed to acknowledge and correct it. Thanks for the example to us all to do that!
Just FYI, You do have Christ’s spirit. Loud and clear. 🙂
You are such a great encourager, Renae! Thanks! His spirit shining through you is so evident!