Have you learned the skill of spiritual discernment? Many people think they have this skill, but relatively few actually do. This is why the church so often is silent in the face of pure deception and evil.
“Let us go after other gods.” This is always the call of false prophecy – that is, prophecy that comes from humans or the devil. These forces desire the children of God forsake the Lord and leave Him behind. All sorts of deception will be tossed about in order to lure away those who have put their faith in God. Such was the case for the Israelites, and such is the case for Christians.
It is easy to know a false spirit, and it is hard at the same time. “And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.” All we must do is know Jesus, and we will immediately be able to discern when the falsehoods are being presented to us.
But we must really know Him and not just know about him. Some Christians do not know Jesus in this sense – knowing his character and his ways. And so they are tricked sometimes into thinking Jesus only wants us to be wealthy or healthy or on top of our games.
To know Jesus is to know him personally. “Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.” Here is a key piece of knowledge about the Son of God. He came in the flesh, and to be in the flesh means to suffer. False spirits tell us there is no suffering for the children of God, and the children of God have believed this lie far too often (Exodus 16:2-3). But we know better – because we know Christ (John 16:33).
We learn spiritual discernment first by slowing down. We must have unhurried time with Jesus, to begin to understand his ways. A mature Christian takes his Bible and disappears for a time each day (Hebrews 5:13-14).