I turned sweet 16 this past Friday. On July 6th, 1996, it was the day I became a born-again Christian, a new creation in Christ Jesus. And as a babe in Christ I had so much to learn (and still do!) Not too long after my Christian journey began, I heard of false prophets. False what? What’s a prophet? Never heard of one. How was I supposed to know what these liars had to say was a truth or a lie when I didn’t even know the truth?
Don’t people realize the Bible is a BIG book and you can’t read it nor understand everything in it overnight?
Yep. Those were pretty much my thoughts on the matter.
Later on I grew in my understanding of false prophets, but then I had to deal with people that were directly in my life who didn’t know Jesus. Although most of them meant well, I had to figure out what they had to say was a truth or lie in how I should live my life for the Lord.
Unfortunately this was a difficult and painful time in my life. Being ridiculed, mocked, accused of, and cast aside doesn’t make a person feel too good! But I eventually grew in my understanding of the Word of God.
Now many years later, I’ve encountered Christians who have lied to me and deeply wounded me. And once again I’m right back at the drawing board; the Bible and the Holy Spirit so I can discern the truth. (To me, this area is the hardest to discern and it’s the one that hurts the most!)
So today I’m going to delve into why we believe the lies from the Enemy as I continue The Power of the Holy Spirit series. No worries if you’re new here. At the end of this post you can find the rest of the series.
Now this post will be long and thorough because I purposefully did not split it up into two parts. I want you to get the overall picture of how easily we can be deceived. And I also want you to walk away with being equipped.
First, there’s 3 reasons why we can’t tell if we’re being lied to by the Enemy:
- Because we don’t know God’s Word.
- Because we want to believe the person who’s speaking to us.
- Because the circumstances that we’re in are a little murky and we just can’t see clearly enough to discern the truth!
He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44
As long as we are living in this world, we’ll be surrounded by lies, but God’s Word and His Holy Spirit will guide us into knowing the Truth. But first let’s find out what the Bible has to say about:
- How to tell if someone is a false prophet.
- Who you shouldn’t receive your counsel from.
- When you’re being convicted or condemned and how to tell the difference.
Discerning False Prophets
A False Prophet is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. They are men or women who teach about Jesus Christ, but in doing so, they are distorting the truth, telling some half-truths, speaking straight out lies, or in their teaching, there are lies of omission. Generally speaking, false prophets are preying on the Body of Christ.
Now before you read the passage below, I want to point something out. The Apostle John, the author of this passage, is referring to false prophets which were common back in the day, and unfortunately are still common in this day of age as well. Yes, I still want you to be wise and discerning concerning false prophets because you may still encounter them, but I also want you to use this same principle of Scriptures in regards to those that would not be considered false prophets as well.
Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world. This is how we know if they have the Spirit of God: If a person claiming to be a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ came in a real body, that person has the Spirit of God. But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here. But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them. But we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us. If they do not belong to God, they do not listen to us. That is how we know if someone has the Spirit of truth or the spirit of deception. 1 John 4:1-6 (NLT)
Bottom line: a false prophet is someone who lies about Jesus Christ as they teach about Jesus. They don’t embrace the full counsel of the Word of God. Be careful here because there are many false prophets who have books out on the shelves of Christian bookstores. Test all things by the Word of God. I can not stress this enough.
Taking Advice from Unbelievers
Many, if not all of us, have family and friends who just love us and want the best for us but they are unbelievers. Our hearts want to so desperately believe them as they try to help us out in life, but God’s word is clear:
“The Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world….” Remember, the Spirit of God dwells in you so you have a greater understanding than those who do not believe in Jesus Christ.
My sweet sister, it’s not a wise practice to seek out counsel from an unbeliever. “If they do not belong to God, they do not listen to us. That is how we know if someone has the Spirit of truth or the spirit of deception.” 1 John 4:6
Now for the matter of receiving counsel from an unbeliever, this is what God’s Word says,
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:1,2
Then there’s the matter of the Believer.
Often times we stumble or get hurt by a brother or sister in Lord who is not walking in the Spirit as they say things to us. When this takes place, you need to ask yourself a few things.
Are You Being Convicted or Condemned?
When you walk in the Spirit, you exercise the fruit of the Spirit. So when a brother or sister in Christ tells you something or says something negative about you, are they filled with the Spirit? I think not! They are walking in their flesh.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Galatians 5:21,22
Are they exhibiting any of these fruits when speaking to you or are they condemning you? If you’re being condemned, then it’s not coming from Jesus Christ.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1
Condemnation will spiritually paralyze you.
Conviction will motivate you to move towards righteousness.
Condemnation are lies from the Enemy.
Conviction is the Holy Spirit moving and prompting your heart.
Still not sure if you’re being condemned or convicted? Surrender your situation over to the Lord and honestly offer up this prayer:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23, 24
With an open heart and teachable spirit, He’ll show you.
I know learning all of this can be very overwhelming. Don’t forget that growing in the Spirit of Truth will help you to discern truth from lies. And remember…. always, always, always filter things through the Word of God!
Where we’re headed next in this series….
Learning and becoming sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading in your life.
Other posts in this series:
Live a poured out life for Christ,
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