Not too long ago, I made a shocking discovery no parent wants. I found a bag of gummies in my child’s bag labeled as a medical marijuana product. Everything looked as real as it could be. There on the blue cellophane package was a colorful logo, the manufacturer’s name, and the dosage amount. To say I was a little upset would be an understatement.
When I confronted my daughter, she became equally upset because she insisted it wasn’t real, but a joke. She said a friend gave her the bag, and it was just filled with regular gummy candy. I told her I was not taking her word for it. One way or another, I had to know the truth.
I was relieved when a drug test proved my child was not lying – the packaging had deceived me into thinking they had drugs in them, when in fact they didn’t. Everything still went into the trash, and we discussed how foolish she had been to go along with such a prank, but it got me thinking–How often do we fail to recognize the truth about people and situations? How do we know what we believe is true?
In 1 John 4, we are taught the way to know the truth about people – to know if they are from God or not–is to “test the spirits.” One of the tests is their theology. Does it line up with the Bible and who does it say Jesus is? A second test is the way the person acts. I John 4:8 says God is love, and anyone who doesn’t love others has never known Him.
Galatians 5 elaborates on the second test by giving us a list of qualities that should be evident in the life of someone claiming to be a Christian: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This is also a good “mirror test” with which to evaluate our own hearts.
In a world of uncertainty, it is comforting to know the Bible gives us the tools we need to discern the truth from falsehoods. For as Jesus said, when you know the truth, the truth will set you free.
“Dear friends, don’t believe everyone who claims to have the Spirit of God. Test them all to find out if they really do come from God. Many false prophets have already gone out into the world.” – I John 4:1
“Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:32
“Behold, I send you out at sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” – Matthew 10:16