“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1
Behind every action is a spirit. Every song and every sermon there is a spirit. The forbidden fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil didn’t just serve up knowledge of ‘evil’ but knowledge of ‘good’ as well and to be sure, such knowledge is not of God because it breeds self righteousness and pride. It is the knowledge of the world; of fallen man whose moral compass is rooted in such knowledge.
Some can easily recognize the spirit behind the song when it is delivered. It appeals to our emotion…the same emotion pricked by the love song of a heartbroken teenager or perhaps it appeals to the emotion of the teenager’s first love and all of it’s grandeur. I’m old but I still remember; I still recognize that familiar spirit…but I also recognize the Holy Spirit. Praise the Lord for the overwhelming power of the Holy Spirit when the broken Believer humbles themselves before the Lord. I’m so thankful to know the difference in the power of God; to know the peace beyond all understanding and the joy unspeakable – no matter the circumstances.
It is much more difficult (I believe) to recognize the spirit behind the sermon when it is delivered. Your doctrine may be straight down the line but when it’s delivered with the wrong spirit, it does more damage than good to the work of God. The lady with the spirit of divination was correct in saying Paul and Silas were great men of God but the spirit behind her acclamations was wrong.
“16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation.
18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the Name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.” Acts 16:16-18
To be clear, I’m certainly not saying these people are possessed in any manner. What I am saying though is that the spirit behind many songs and sermons will grieve the Holy Spirit and we must pray for discernment. It may seem good and even sound right but recognize the spirit behind the sermon to see whether they are being led by the Lord. The Lord does not try to exclude but seeks to include whosoever will believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.
Try the spirits. At Calvary Jesus Christ afforded us the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to guide us into all Truths according to the Word of God. If it sounds right but your spirit is grieved, pray for discernment…seek understanding. If it robs you of your peace, it’s the devil seeking to kill, steal and destroy.
“Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the Cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the Right Hand of the Throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
Jesus Christ has gone before us. He is perfectly capable of authoring and finishing our faith. Be determined to know nothing else. Know in Whom you have believed…let not your spirit be grieved.
-Donna Clark Warren