This is how you can recognize 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. 1 John 4, verses 2-3.
This seems like a pretty simple test, right? If only it were.
Whether we realize it or not, we give this test every day. And every day we pass it, we pass on it, and we pass it along. There is a real being in this world called Satan, the enemy, and he uses real means to attack us, to do anything to separate us from Jesus. He attacks us through the things that tempt us.
Example: I’m struggling with tobacco right now. This is nothing new. Two of my three kids smoke, and I have smoked on and off for over 30 years. Most of the time, I don’t, but if my kids offer me a cigarette, I also usually give in. My willpower on this is weak.
Now, maybe tobacco is from the devil and maybe it isn’t. For me, it is. For me, it’s a pet addiction, one that almost always makes me feel terrible and awful at the same time. I really enjoy smoking, but I hate the side effects because the side effects are bad. The cough, the smell, the cost, the way it aggravates my wife’s allergies, the denial, the divisions: all from that ‘harmless’ plant. I do think that, some day, medical science will find good uses for nicotine, but for now there just aren’t any.
For me, the temptation to smoke is the spirit of the antichrist. It is something not of Christ, not good or wholesome, not based in love. The Apostle John gives this message in today’s verses: ANYTHING that does not bring glory to God by giving glory to His Son, Jesus, is anti-Christ. In my example, when I give in to the temptation, I’m not giving glory to Jesus by taking care of the body He gave me. I’m doing something that I know to be bad for me, and for the people around me, and I’m doing it for myself. When I smoke, it’s all about me. My friend, that’s sin.
Substitute in your own pet addiction: potato chips, procrastination, sex partners, shopping, fighting, drugs, booze, anything. If it testifies to the fact of Jesus being God, then it may be worth a look. If it doesn’t, it’s a gateway to sin.
Jesus, protect me from my sins. Forgive me, strengthen me, and stand with me against the things that tempt me to fall into sin.