Tuesday, 24 August 2021

The Need for Discernment

 Scripture:  James 1 v 12 - 17: " Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

13  Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 
14  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
16  Do not err, my beloved brethren.
17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."

As members of the Body of Christ we need to use all that God has given us - wisdom, truth, understanding, discernment and knowledge to wait upon the Holy Spirit's witness within is before believing everything that lands in our intray as absolute truth.

We are inundated with unsolicited information on a daily basis and much of it is driven by people who want their opinion to be heard and heeded, whether it is good, bad or ugly.  Mostly ugly, and over the course of this pandemic it has increased dramatically.

Are we aware that there are computer programs that can put Marilyn Monroe and Tom Cruise in the same movie together with their voices pitch perfect, yet everything is fake and imaginary.  So not everything said by eminent scientists in laboratories, or Christians with revelations of the mark of the Beast, expounding on a virus or a vaccine is necessarily true and right.

We need the presence of Jesus in our lives and the wonderful Holy Spirit of Truth to confirm or deny what the world is saying about anything.  Yesterday there was another promotion by a well-known company offering free goods if you do their survey and send their link to ten contacts on whatsapp.  You also had to open an app for 30 seconds.......a clever trap for the unwary in which malware could be installed on your device.

Malware is there to invade your devices and enable identity theft, and all that is evil to happen to you.  So to avoid disappointment rather ask the Lord.....Is this real, true and worthy of my participation?  Ask and it shall be given.  As you grow in this truth you know that if you need to ask its already a problem.  Jesus will give you that bad gut feeling before you even ask Him.

In spiritual matters it is vitally important to get things right.  So many Christians have started out in a perfect way but sadly got side-tracked by a false teaching they never checked for truthfulness.  It led them into cult like behaviour like David Koresh in Waco, Texas, some years ago.  Sin became death, and those who survived had their lives completely shattered.

Most of us are gullible and willing to believe any person who is sincere and spins a good story.  It is time to be discerning before it leads to loss and destruction.  It is time to check things out before making commitments we will later regret.  This is true of marriage, financial investment, dodging scams, and our spiritual well-being.

1 John 4 v 1 - 4: "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2  Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
3  And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
4  Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."

As spirit beings, which we are, we are moved by spirits in other people, and there are times when we absolutely must check for truth and error.  John says we must try the spirits.  This means we must test them out, put them on trial, ask the right questions.

One of the things demons can never say is that Jesus came to Earth and was manifested in the flesh.  So if a person answers that question correctly then you are on safe ground.  If their eyes roll up while they explore options and come back with a confusing answer then a demon is talking to you through that person.  

If a conman is giving you a compelling speech, try it out on him.  That lying spirit in him will cringe at being spotted.  So just walk away.  If its on the phone you will hear confusion while he tries to steer you back on topic.  

I was approached by an insurance salesman who had great success in a large church, signed up the pastors, elders, and many in the congregation.  I worked alongside one of them at the time and he brought this agent to give me his speech.  It was a beautifully crafted essay on fear.  What if you die and your children are left destitute, or you get a chronic illness and cannot work?

My response was like Jesus being tempted by Satan.  He responded with scripture, so I did the same.  I told him that I already had eternal life and my children were safe in His hands.  I told him by His stripes I am healed.  After twenty minutes of this sword fight he ran out in terrible confusion.  I made a decision a long time back that if God is real I believe His promises and so far, forty something years later, I made the right decision.

For me, I need assurance from God not insurance from man.  I need healing before I need a doctor.  And He has honoured my faith throughout all the years.  I have never had lots of money but He has met every need of mine, and I am free of dependency on those who would steal, maim or destroy.

However, I am not infallible, I need to walk in the Light of Jesus to avoid the pitfalls of the world.  Fifteen years ago when I was first doing online banking I received an e-mail supposedly from my bank and after following the instructions found a large sum of money had suddenly been deducted from my account.  I saw it happen.  Then I suddenly saw that sum returned to my account.

While I was still trying to figure out what was going on, my cell phone rang.  A man who said he was a technician told me he saw the money being deducted from my account by a scamster and was able to reverse it for me.  I thanked him and asked if I was the only twit that got caught.  He said no, there were thousands, but he was only able to help me.  He hung up.  

I rushed to my bank.  I wanted the name of this man so I could reward him for helping me.  The accountant and customer service people looked at my account in complete shock.  They also said there is no such technician capable of doing what he did.  Calls to his phone were impossible as there was no number reflected.  How did this miracle happen?  I still believe only Jesus could have done it.

The really funny side of this story was about a week later when I received a call, apparently from my bank, requesting any further details of how I retrieved my money loss.  I had a witness from the Holy Spirit that this was from the scamsters, who were confused at their loss.  They got a delightful earful of how Jesus loves us and helps us when ugly people try to steal from us!

All that to say we are all vulnerable to the enemy and we need to use the gifts the Father gave us through the Holy Spirit to avoid being taken advantage of.  Check with Him for false teachings, false prophecies and misleading articles in your inbox.  Trust in the witness of the Holy Spirit.  Most people I know, including myself, receive a light pins and needles on our forearms when the Holy Spirit witnesses to truth.  Others have an inner knowing of right and wrong, truth or error.  If we don't ask we may be deceived.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, help us to remember to check with You on where to put our foot next, we don't want to step on a landmine of lies, loss and liability.  Lord help us discern fake news, fake people and whatever is false.  Jesus warned us that in the end times there would be much deception and that we must not be deceived.  Thank You for Your love and protection.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.