Confirming the Spirit of Truth
God ministers to us today through human apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. (Ephesians 4:11) He also ministers to us today through his angels who are sent as ministering spirits to minister for us. (Hebrews 1:14) More important than all of these is the ministry of the Spirit of truth who Jesus asked God to send to guide and lead us into all the truth and show us things to come. (John 14:16, 16:7,13)
We are used to hearing and receiving God’s ministry to us through people serving him as evangelists, pastors, and teachers. While we hear and receive of God’s ministry through his angels and through the Spirit of truth, we typically do so without being aware or conscious of it when we do. Unfortunately, Satan has dispatched spirits to deceive us that work just like God’s ministering spirits. We are typically just as unaware when we are deceived by Satan’s spirits of error as we are when we a led to truth by God’s ministering spirits. Our life in Christ takes a major step forward when we become aware of hearing God’s ministering spirits and Satan's deceiving spirits and learn how to discern the difference according to God’s instructions for confirming the spirits he sends to minister to us (strengthen and assist us).
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know you the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God: he that knows God hears us; he that is not of God hears not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:1-6)
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22,23)
The Spirit of truth guides and leads us into all the truth, shows us things to come, testifies of Jesus, and reproves the world of sin and righteousness. That is the ministry of a prophet whether served by a person or a spiritual being. One impersonating that ministry is a false prophet - whether a person or a spiritual being.
This gives us the biblical tests for discerning the spirit from God: we will know them by their expression of the fruit of the spirit and by their confession that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. But how do we administer the test and how do we hear the spirit’s answer?
We hear two different ways, but we only think of hearing one way. We hear words spoken by others with our physical ears: that is what we recognize as hearing. We also hear in our thoughts, although we almost never think of having thoughts as hearing and the idea that some of our thoughts are things being communicated to us by spirits is, well, difficult to believe. If, however, we quit just “having” thoughts and begin to examine them, we find that they come from our spirit, from the spirit of God, and from deceiving spirits.
Jesus tells us that thoughts come forth from our heart. (Matthew 15:19) He tells us to take no thought that is saying “What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or With what shall we be clothed?” (Matthew 6:31)
God told Joseph to take Mary to be his wife and flee to Egypt through dreams. Solomon asked God for wisdom in a dream! (1 Kings 3:5-15)
If we take heed to what and how we hear and observe our thoughts we can discern hearing spirits in our thoughts.
Jesus tells us that when the Word of God is sown that Satan comes immediately to take away the word that was sown. If you take heed what and how you hear, then you can observe thoughts coming immediately after the Word of God is sown in your heart that work to cause you to reject that word.
God tells us to test the spirits to confirm that the spirit speaking to us is from God. Ask God to send his Spirit of truth to guide and lead you into all the truth. Take heed to your thoughts, especially ones that are guiding into truth. When you have such a thought, stop. In your thoughts ask the spirit if Jesus Christ is come in the flesh and listen in your thoughts for the answer. The spirit of God will confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh and do so while joyfully manifesting the fruits of the Spirit.
CAUTION: Thoughts come from our hearts as well as from the spirit of God and can mimic the confession of the spirit of God. All the ways of man appear right to a man. I.e. we are biased towards hearing what we want to hear. It is extremely important that we submit our desires and beliefs to God and trust him to provide what we need, what we desire, and guide us into the truth regarding what to believe.
Confirming the Spirit of Truth
When we have a thought, especially regarding what is true, the Word or Spirit of God, what we should do, desire, or believe; stop. Ask the spirit bringing that thought to confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. Either in your thoughts, or out loud (under your breath with your lips),
In the name of Jesus, Is Jesus Christ come in the flesh?
Wait for the response. If there is no response, a negative response, or one that does not manifest the fruit of the Spirit (a bitter, scornful response), reject the thought. If the spirit confesses Jesus Christ is come in the flesh and does so manifesting the fruits of the Spirit, ask again, and a third time. The confession should be unwavering. It should not change. Ask the spirit to show you how the thought agrees with scripture. Do not hesitate to hold off on accepting the thought as a thought from God. Ask again a day or two later to make sure the confession is still unwavering. God will not be offended and will not make you haste. Reject any thought that rushes you to act.
Jesus tells us to take heed what and how we hear. In the letters to each of the churches in the book of Revelation he tells us to hear what the Spirit says. God has sent the Spirit of truth to guide and lead us into all the truth and has given us the means to identify his Spirit of truth. We would do well to take heed to the hearing that takes place in our thoughts. The quality of walking with God being intentionally and consciously led by his Spirit is easily great enough to make the effort to do so worthwhile.