Life is full of circumstances and situations that seem to come out of nowhere. A person who is very budget conscious would rightly be caught off-guard if they received news that they had over-drafted their bank account. In times similar to the one just stated, it is not uncommon to ask, “God, why is this happening,” or to say, “God must be teaching me a lesson.” However, do we always take the time to consider what is coming from the Lord and what things are not?
Unfortunately, since we are not quite in the times described in the book of Revelation, God is not the only one who will bring various challenges and circumstances into our lives. Satan is very real, and God has not yet come to remove him and his influence from our world. So what if some of those bad times, or even some of your good times are really his way of pulling you away from the Lord?
Here is how the Apostle John brought this topic to light in his first letter:
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1 [NIV]
He continues his instruction in the following verses of 1 John 4, but I just want to bring to your attention this one verse. How often do you seek to know what situations are coming from the Lord of Heaven? If you are not carefully looking, considering what life brings your way, is it possible that someone besides our Lord is trying to guide you in a direction you do not really want to go?
Here is just one scenario: Times are tight for everyone, but not everyone has the added pressure of a spouse battling a serious ailment. You’ve been trying to find a second job to make paying the bills a bit easier, but the only job you can find is going to make it hard to spend time with your family or attend church. It is possible that this is an answer to prayer, and God is allowing you to be in a season where hard work will be needed to cope with your current hardships. It is also possible that the enemy knows that if you don’t have time for church, he can weaken your confidence in the Lord and your faith even more. Wouldn’t it be important to know who you will be honoring when you make your decision?
There are two things that any believer can do to test the spirits as John has instructed. First, pray and wait to see how God moves in your heart and how the situation changes. He may even give you a clear answer through another believer, so be ready to listen however God decides to speak with you. The other way to test the spirits is to open God’s written word, the Bible. The bible promises that God does not change, so the Bible will certainly be able to teach us what things we can expect from God and what things we cannot.
If a Christian is going to live a life that is honoring to the Lord, it is important for them to make an effort to know what God is doing in their life. Don’t take any situation for granted. There are only a few things that the Bible encourages us to test God on, and knowing His will and where His Spirit is leading is one of them. Wouldn’t it be a shame if the next major decision you make wasn’t what God wanted for your life? Honor your commitment to Him, and take the time to know where His Spirit is guiding you!
Written by Timothy Hegerich
There is truth in our world, and it lies within the word of the One who created the world. It is my prayer that my thoughts and writings echo this truth and inspire you to seek it for your life today!