Discerning evil spirits
This is a continuation of the series Learning from Paul and Silas. If you have not read the first part of this series, please find it on this link
In the first series, we talked about God might sometimes forbid us, by his Spirit, from doing the things that seem to be according to his will according to scripture and how it is important to not insist and continue on our own but rather to obey him even if our intentions are right. Now we shall look how Paul could not only discern when the Holy spirit spoke, but also could tell when demons spoke.
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: The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. 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 – 18
How many of us, who would discern the wrong spirit behind the message would chose not to just tolerate it as long as it is still in line with the truth? How many would have the courage to speak out if no one finds any fault in the words being spoken? See we have to be diligent. The devil will first tell a christian what he knows to be true just to win trust. and then slowly by slowly, when your guard is down, mix a few false doctrines little by little until the holy Word has been so perverted, ad out minds so corrupted, that we can no longer tell when some thing false is said right out bluntly.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: – 1 Peter 5:8
We can discern which spirit is speaking just like Paul could in verse 18 when he cast out the spirit of divination from the woman who kept telling everyone they said the truth and would show them the way of salvation. How many of us would tell if a false prophet stood up and started to preach the word of God if this person does not, at first glance, say anything to contradict the word? Would we rush to categorize them as ministers of God just because what they are saying is in line with what God says?
Giving evil spirits audience
Furthermore, how many of us would be celebrate when we realize that even the devil has admitted God´s truth? thinking that “if people see that even the demons have said from their own mouths that Christ is lord, maybe it will make the listeners believe. Forgetting that we as Christians should not even give evil spirits audience to talk even when we are casting them our in the name of Jesus. God does not need the devil to first confess his glory so that people who deny him may believe. Instead, they will also use the audience given them to mislead the weak in spirit further.
It is not a matter to celebrate nor a sign that the devil is willing to give God his rightful place when he mentions and talks of his Glory. The devil is an enemy of the Lord and even if he verbalize God´s holiness, he will still try with all his might to take God´s place in our hearts. When we read the bible, we see at many occasions that the demons always confessed Jesus is Lord. Admitting God is God has never been the enemy´s problem, that is more of our weakness than his. His problem is that he wants God´s throne and he is willing to do anything to take God´s place in our hearts since he can´t conquer God. Even if it means convincing people that God does not exist – something he himself does not do.
Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. – James 2:19
But we are so accustomed to humans denying God as being God, we simply think even demons do so. So when we hear someone possessed by an evil spirit confess of God´s sovereignty, we hurry to write them off as being covered by the holy spirit. But it takes knowing the voice of the Holy Spirit to discern which kind of spirit is speaking. The bible tells us in 1 John 4:1 to prove all spirits. We can only do this when we know the word of God. This takes spending time with God and getting to know him more. If this chapter does not motivate us to meditate more on god´s word and get to know him more, allowing his Spirit to lead and guide us, let us just ask God to give us a heart that yearns more for him. For it is only by knowing him, which comes from constant fellowship with him, that we can truly know God and his voice.
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
Dear God, teach me how to be familiar with your voice. Give me the Spirit and guidance to discern when who is talking to me. May i know not fall for the traps of the devil when he tries to camouflage in order to deceive me.
Photo from https://summitlife.org/hearing-gods-voice-summitlife-today-september-21-2015/