1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
God reminded me of some important truths as I was preparing for our youth discipleship class last week. I thought they were worth posting about, so here ya go.
Think about the people that you hang around, the conversations you have, the music and television you put in your system. Are you surrounding yourself with darkness or with God’s light? Do these people and things bring you closer to Christ or hinder your relationship with Christ?
Hanging out in the darkness
Here’s an analogy: If you are hanging out in a well-lit room and you open a closet, it’s easy to see where the darkness is. However, if you are hanging out in a dark room, it’s impossible to distinguish where different places of darkness are because it is completely dark. Think about how this applies to your Christian life. If you are constantly filling yourself and surrounding yourself with darkness, it’s hard to tell what God’s truth in a situation really is because the darkness – the ways of the world – “feels” right because that’s what you’re accustomed to being around. It is easy to become deceived by false teaching and false doctrine because it feels good. Satan is a feel good kind of guy and he likes to twist God’s word. That’s how he deceived Eve in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-5). That’s also how he tempted Jesus when He was fasting for 40 days in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11).
Hanging out in the light
However, if you spend the majority of your time in the light (God) – filling yourself with Him, spending time with Him and with people who love Him, talking about Him… you become accustomed to the light. Then when darkness comes along, it’s a whole lot easier to spot. When you spend a lot of time in the Word (the Bible), you get to know who God is, His personality, His truth. When you hear someone preaching or teaching something that is not the truth, you recognize it easier because part or all of it doesn’t bear witness to the truth and light you have been filling yourself with.
The spiritual gift of discernment
One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is discernment, or distinguishing spirits (1 Corinthians 12:10). A rough explanation of the gift could be knowing the difference between the truth of God and the falseness of the enemy, knowing whether the source of something is from the Holy Spirit or from an unclean spirit (the enemy), or knowing whether the supernatural or natural events going on in a place or person are caused by the Holy Spirit or an unclean spirit.
I have found that my gift of discernment is stronger and sharper the more time I spend with God, which I believe is biblical.
- Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as the Counselor and the Spirit of Truth (John 14:16-17)
- One of the roles of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to teach us and remind us of the truth and the Word (John 14:26)
- The Holy Spirit testifies and bears witness to Jesus, and therefore the works He is doing (John 15:26)
- The Holy Spirit only speaks the truth that He hears from the Father and Son, which means that it will always line up with the Word of God (John 16:13)
- The Holy Spirit reveals truth to us about things that are yet to come (John 16:14-15)
The closer I stay in fellowship with the Holy Spirit, the more I can tangibly and physically feel His presence. I feel His confirmation on things that are truth and His warning on things that aren’t. It becomes easy to walk into a place and discern the spiritual atmosphere, to know whether people’s manifestations are from the Holy Spirit or demonic, and even when people are lying in conversation.
One last thing: When you feel God speaking to you about a situation or if someone gives you a prophetic word, there is an easy test to see if it is the truth: Does it line up with God’s word? God will never speak to you directly or through another person and tell you something or ask you to do something that is in direct contradiction to His Word. For example:
- The Holy Spirit would not be the source if you received peace that it’s okay to be intimate with someone before you’re married to them.
- God would not ask you or inspire you to get drunk or do drugs with people as a method of getting on their level and being able to witness to them.
- God would not be the source of someone’s advice to divorce your current spouse and marry a person you’re in an adulterous relationship with because “God just wants you to be happy.”
- He would not speak to you that it’s okay to live a lifestyle of sin without repentance (turning away from sin). His grace is not a license for immorality (Jude 1:4, Romans 6:1-2).
Always check the source!.