In the Bible we are told to ‘test the spirits to see if they are of God or not’.
This is what it actually says,
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have done out into the world. I John 4:1
When I first came across this many years ago, I had a vague picture of Christians going to some spiritist mediums to catch them out when they gave out messages which they blandly and foolishly assumed came from the spirits of departed people, and not some altogether diabolical source. I even thought, at a later stage, that to test the spirits merely meant weighing people’s opinions judiciously: and that’s another danger. False spirits do seem to be innocuous, even sometimes friendly, but either way of no real consequence to busy people earning a living.
I have learned that the false spirits of which Christians have to beware can be seen and heard in plausible people who use the name of Jesus glibly as if they were his followers who preach a message which makes no real demands for us to change radically, but instructs us to learn and relax to accept ourselves, to love ourselves and merely tighten up the nuts and bolts of our meditating. “You really ought to try Yoga” they say, or “go on a better diet”, or “get the right crystals”, or “go to the right Guru – after all Jesus wants you to be happy and you can never be happy if you deny your basic instincts”.
That is the danger! The Holy Spirit is not a spiritual drug who puts you on a high, who smoothes your fevered brow and whispers “There, there – you’ve done your best”. That is altogether another spirit.
Dr. Paul Brand says “Your breath is where you are most vulnerable”. And he illustrates it by a specialist looking at your vocal chords. He may spray an anaesthetic around to stop you being sick as he probes with his mirror. He then warns against eating or drinking for a while, as your gag reflex has been put to sleep.The door to your lungs is dangerously open.So with the spirit – don’t let your reflexes be put to sleep.Test the spirits. Your breath is where you are most vulnerable.
This is how you can recognise the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. I John 4: 2-3
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. I Peter 5:8
Beware he may call on you as a cuddly lion cub!
Lord Jesus, you came not to control us, but to win our minds and souls allegiance: deliver us from seeking to manage what is spiritual.
Now read 1st Letter of John, Chapter 4.