My daughter, theWeez, likes to eat healthy. Which means she reads the ingredients labels on everything. I mean, EVERYTHING. The other morning, I was making an egg burrito, & she declared, “Those tortillas are gross. Dad, do you know how many ingredients are in them?”
“Nope. Like 20. You really have to be careful what you’re putting in your body.”
Next day, we had the TortillaLand tortillas, which are made with a total of 4 ingredients. Better. And tastier.
Reminds me of John’s great challenge to his readers in 1John 3 & 4. He tells them that BELIEVING in the Name of Jesus Christ, & loving one another – are indicators that we are abiding (remaining, living in) God & His family. John also puts forward a couple of warnings – 1st: don’t be like Cain, who hated (& eventually murdered) his brother, Abel. 2nd, he challenges them to be very discerning about the spiritual input they accept from others. Specifically, he tells them to TEST every spirit (the motivating force/entity) behind any instruction or prophetic utterance given by a teacher, prophet, &/or spiritual leader. So, since we can’t “read the ingredients label,” what does that mean, & how do we do that?
John reminds them that not everyone who claims to be speaking for God &/or on Christ’s behalf is actually doing so – & he gives a couple of TESTS for his readers to use in determining the source of the spiritual input:
- Does the individual confirm that Jesus Christ came physically in the flesh, as a man? There were many teaching at the time that anything in the material world (including our bodies) was inherently evil; only things of the higher, spirit world were good. So, the conclusion reached was that Jesus Christ only seemed to have a real body; He was in fact a spirit. John says that the denial of this core truth is a dead giveaway that the spirit motivating the teaching is off.
- Does the individual/teaching confess Jesus Christ? This confession centers on embracing Christ fully as God, as revealed in the eyewitness accounts of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John. Anytime Jesus is reimagined, reinvented, &/or redefined by a prophet/teacher/etc. in any manner different than God chose to reveal Him is an indication that the source of the input is the spirit of antichrist. Anytime Christ is diminished or reduced from being FULLY God & FULLY man – from being the sole source of our relationship with God the Father – the spirit of antichrist is exposed.
For us, 2000 years later, these TESTS are a great encouragement – & help remind us to be wary about what we’re ingesting, spiritually, & to regularly, with Holy Spirit insight, discernment, & wisdom, examine the spiritual input we are seeking out/getting from others. If it’s of God, it will stand up to the test.