Something happened this week that really made me question myself—I had accepted something as “Christian” that left out Christ.
It really floored me, humbled me, and put me on my knees before God in confession, because I know better, or at least I thought I did. After all, I’ve been a believer in Jesus since I was eight years old, I have been in church all my life; I went to seminary and served as a missionary. How could I have missed it?
I didn’t give it the Jesus test.
I know the verses about testing what we hear. The Bereans were especially good at that, according to the apostle Paul. John even warns us about this:
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.1 John 4:1 NIV
But get this…he even tells us how to test them:
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.1 John 4:2
What started this? Well, I was listening to a podcast, and they gave the background to a popular personality test that is making waves even in churches. As they talked about it, I realized they were right in that it was not from God and was pulling people away from Christ. The problem was, I remember reading a book about that test a couple of years ago. I went to my Goodreads list, and yep, there it was, and yep, there was my positive review.
The person being interviewed in the podcast talked about how much was wrong with just the first chapter that should have thrown up red flags to any believer. I found the book in the library and read through that chapter, along with the one at the end. Wow, I realized she was right.
Jesus was not in this “Christian” book.
God was there. Mentioned several times, but not Jesus. Then I realized what was mentioned the most—self. It was a book all about having a better knowledge of oneself, but it had nothing to do with how that related to knowing Christ first, or growing in the image of Christ, or in service to Christ. Nope, not there.
I removed my review from Goodreads and faced my own humiliation.
No one is immune to Satan’s deceptive ways. No wonder Paul was so concerned for the new believers in the churches birthed through his ministry. There are those actively working against the cause of Christ and the Church.
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, that his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness.2 Corinthians 11:13-15
I’ve learned a huge lesson about keeping my spiritual armor sharp and staying alert. It’s so easy to take something that sounds nice, as in accordance with the Scriptures, but many things are just the opposite.
There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.1 Timothy 2:5-6
Jesus is our litmus test for testing all we see, hear, and READ!
May we all stay alert and test the spirits.
Grace and Peace