Not all things in life are good for us in this life and not all things in the spiritual are good for us either. The Lord pours His blessings on His people, and especially on those who strive to see Him. The enemy also pours out his lies and deception upon God’s people, seeking to turn them from God by any means possible. Hebrews 5:14 sets this in perspective saying “But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, even those who because of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Simply, our capacity to feast on deeper knowledge of God (the solid food of the Gospel – as opposed to the Milk of the Gospel) is determined by our spiritual growth. However, too often we seek God’s banquet before we are spiritually capable of digesting it; taking meat, instead of milk. As we grow in the Lord and put into practice that which we have learnt, our capacity to understand, also grows. Yes, we all need to discern both good and evil, that we may not be led astray for as Matthew 24:11 warns us for these days in which we live, “many false prophets will rise and deceive many.”
Many born again Christians reject the teaching that the enemy can have a claim on a born-again believer, because he/she is under the Blood of Jesus. Yes, when we are under the Blood of Jesus the enemy cannot cross and we are fully protected; but this required that at all times and on all occasions we remain under that covering. To live in this world and to remain “under the Blood,” are almost contradictory positions. It is possible, just very hard to achieve, and certainly unachievable all the time. Just how difficult, can be appreciated as First Peter 5:8 warns us to “be sensible and vigilant, because your adversary the Devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking someone he may devour.” We need to be aware of the wiles of the enemy, we need to be able to recognise them in the flesh, as well as the spiritual. For as Paul warns in First Timothy 4:1“the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.” In First John 4:1 we are likewise warned “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
It is true that not all of us have received a special gifting or anointing from the Holy Spirit for discerning of evil spirits; but by practice of Godly teachings and by due diligence, we can be prepared to a good degree. However, it we choose to ignore the signs and the teachings, we are open to being devoured.
We need to be aware that we are open to attack by the enemy all the time, and the enemy will not signal the assault. The more we grow in faith, the more this is true. But in saying that, the enemy has limited resources and will not waste them on a person who is not threatening them or threatening to steal souls from them. If we are devout in our faith, leading a godly life and “under the blood”, again the enemy is less likely to attack us, certainly not head on. But he may attack all those around us, as he did Job, hoping to bring us to a position of weakness where a crack of disobedience opens in us, giving him a legitimate claim on us. As we are tested by the Holy Spirit for greater and greater works for God, we will also face stronger and stronger levels of the enemy. It simply comes with the territory. But forearmed is forewarned and with God’s help, we are overcomers.
Some who are “witnessing in the spirit,” claim that they are unable to stop or control the spirit. This is a clear sign and clear indication that the spirit is not of God, but a manifestation of the enemy. First Corinthians 14:32 tells us that “the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.” This is generally understood to be true for all other spiritual gifts which the Holy Spirit gives. The gift of tongues is typical example, where demonic tongues – Satan’s demonic counterfeit – are unstoppable by the receiver. This is not the case with the true gift. This principle is confirmed in Galatians 5:22-23 which says “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” establishing for us that God’s gifts are founded on love and self control. If the spiritual manifestation we exhibit or we observe is not based on love and does not exhibit self control, it is not, and cannot, be of the Holy Spirit. By its fruit, a gift is recognised and is tested.
For someone to say that they cannot control what they say when “in the spirit” or “under the spirit,” is therefore not biblical and is not supported by Scripture. They may well claim that they do not want to “quench the spirit.” This is a lie and self deception and is not biblical. They may well claim the Holy Spirit “made them” act in this way; or say these things; or behave in such and such a manner. Paul does not agree with this view, as he teaches in First Corinthians 14:28-40. Paul here talks about tongues, but the principle is identical for all other spiritual gifts and or manifestations:
“But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached? If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But all things should be done decently and in order.”
Paul teaches here, whether in speaking in tongues or in any other expression or manifestation of the Holy spirit, that the participants can a) sit still and remain silent and under control (v30) and b) the Spirits are subject to the Prophet (v32) and c) in the functioning of the Spirit, all may be done with decency and in and orderly fashion (v40).
The Old Testament reinforces the underlying supposition of the expression of self-control at all times, as being the way of the Lord. Proverbs 16:32 says “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city” and v25:28 “He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a broken down city without a wall.”
As born again Christians, it is beholden upon us to study the Word and not to be ignorant of it. God expresses this view dramatically in Hosea 4:6 saying “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you from being priest to Me. Since you have forgotten the Law of your God, I will also forget your sons, even I.” Rejection of His word results in severe consequences. Also, as we saw above in Hebrews 5:14, discernment of good and evil comes with study and practice, but the enemy will not wait until that happens! As Christian, we need to be made aware of our situation from the beginning. Hiding from the truth of First Peter 5:8 does not make either the danger or the enemy magically vanish! We are not called to be spiritual ostriches, hiding our heads in the sand, but to be warriors in the Army of God for Lord Jesus. Second Timothy 1:7 makes this clear confirming that “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” In that and in His name, we are victors and overcomers.
Amen and Amen.
I pray You will reveal to me those areas of my bible knowledge in which I am ignorant and delinquent. I pray that You will give to me a heart for studying Your Word and a memory which will absorb it and retain it, such that when I call upon Your Word, it will be able to pour forth for my use as living waters, for those who hear. Help me Lord to meditate on Your Word day and night, so that the enemy will not be able to take advantage of me at any time, and instead, will flee from me!
I pray this Lord, in the almighty name of my Saviour, of Your only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Amen and Amen.