1 John 4
“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. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.” 1 John 4:1-3
Sometimes I will have a thought, or a pull to do something and I think immediately it is God telling me to do something in my Spirit. Yet, there are always, always, always checks and balances to see if it is truly God calling me to do something or if it is some other spirit pulling at me. First and foremost, is it something that aligns with Jesus and who He is. For instance, I once knew a man who was saying that God had called him to the mission field, which sounds great. However he had a wife and children and his wife, who was also a Godly woman did not at all feel she was being called to the mission field. He actually left his wife and children to go on mission. Now someone there was not being obedient to the true Spirit. How do I know?Because I do not believe God would ever bust up a family. God created family, He is certainly not going to tear it apart. What they should have done is pray about it together until they felt the true calling was revealed. I believe that God would call them both to the mission field, not just one of them to the mission field and the other to stay behind and tear their family apart. If a calling like that is truly of God, they would be on the same page. There are spirits of the antichrist that want to tear apart the things of God and he can sure disguise himself as an angel of light. But we have a hope in that God’s spirit lives in us and we can check everything with His spirit who lives in us.
“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
I love that John’s central theme for this book is love. But not just any love but the love that the Father has for us so that we can love Him and love each other!
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8
In the ancient greek this sentence starts out “agapetoi agapomen”. In other words “those who are loved, let us love”. We are already loved by God, not because we gave our lives to Him, not because we love Him, not because we are worthy of His love. We are loved already. First and foremost, Jesus died on the cross, because He already loved us. God sent His son to die on the cross because He already loved us. We are beloved, therefore let us love one another. We can love others because the love that is flowing to us, can and will flow through us to others if only we allow it to. If we are not loving others, it is because we do not really know God. God is love!
“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” 1 John 4:10-12
God loved us first. And because of His great love for us he sent His Son to die for us and to atone for our sins. We are loved by God therefore we ought to love one another. The world cannot see God unless they see the way God abides in us. They will see God abiding in us as we love others because His love is perfected in us. We will be able to love the unlovely only because of the love that flows through us because of the love God loves us with.
You know this makes it sound so easy. But really it is easy to love others when you let your heart get so close to God that it spills over. Are you carrying around some bitter spirit? Do you have people in your life that are difficult to love? Are you afraid to love because you have been hurt by love too many times? Turn it all over to Jesus and fall in love with Him. Think on the fact that He loved you first! He loved us before we were even born! You ask Jesus to show you, to lavish His love on you and before long you will look at that coworker differently. You will look at the unlovely differently. You will find that the bitter spirit in your heart cannot live in the same heart as Jesus. Jesus will come in and take over your heart with His love.
“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.” 1 John 4:15-17
You start by confessing Jesus, and allow Him to move into your heart. Then God will abide in you and you in God. And over time you will start to believe and to feel His love flow through you and that love is perfect! And then you can love others with the perfect love from the Father.