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. (1 John 4:1 ESV)
Who is being spoken to here? And what is meant by "every spirit?"
There is a cute little video going around social media of a family that is trying to get healthy. Good idea right? We all need to do this.
So they get a nutritionist to come in and she is purging the cupboards and refrigerator of all unhealthy foods.
The young son has the last straw when she throws out the bacon, ( a man after my own heart.) and he packs his little ole suitcase on wheels and says that he is running away until after Saturday when she is gone. In the end you see him pulling his little suitcase, walking down the street, mumbling to himself as he goes.
Like I said, it is cute. But it has similarities to our verse today that are just not cute.
John is writing to a community church that has been a little confused about the identity of Who Jesus really is. Apparently some former members of this church were doing the confusing. They wanted to be Followers yet they were also enamored by the world, the Roman Empire in particular.
So there was some slight falsehoods and misconceptions sown in among the truth. These ones are the "ones" that John wrote about earlier in Chapter two as "those that went out from us."
You see, it isn't fun to be corrected and disciplined. They couldn't take it, so they left, probably grumbling as they went.
It doesn't take much falsehood to dilute the truth. How do you test these spirits? By standing them up next to God's word. If His word says it, do it. No one can change God's word to suit them and pick and choose certain verses to live by, leaving out the rest.
Know God's word and do not forsake it for the world.