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.
When we hear the words “false prophets” we might be tempted to think of cults and their leaders who claim to be of God, or sometimes, to be God. During my lifetime, I have watched men and women claiming to be from God lead people to sell their belongings and join with them to wait for the second coming. Some of these leaders have led their followers to die along with their children in mass murder/suicide plots. Those waiting for the end of the world discover that their jobs and homes no longer belong to them and are left with nothing.
But false prophets come in many different disguises. It is so important to test what we hear, especially if what we hear is meant to frighten us so that we do not do what we know to be right. It costs money to safeguard our planet from pollution in the water we drink and the air we breathe, but there are those who will try to make people believe that this will mean jobs will be lost, or taxes will go up, or any number of things to prevent the government from stepping in and making industries follow the rules.
A good education for all; access to good health care? Too expensive! False prophets can appear on any stage, they are not limited to leading us away from a true belief in God, but also leading us away from his law of love. Jesus led by love, his early followers understood the power of love to change the world. Those who lead by causing us to fear the future are not of God.
Let’s test the messages we are given – test the spirits – because the Holy Spirit leads us with a spirit of faith, hope and love.
Lord, you have given us the Holy Spirit to help us discern what is good and what is not. Help us to turn to you so that we do not fall prey to the false prophets in our world. Amen.