by Neil Anderson
1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 NIV
Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good
Alvin was discouraged and defeated. For several years he believed he had a special gift of prophecy from God. But over a period of months his personal life began to fall apart. By the time he came to see me he had been unemployed for two years, he was being cared for by his father, and he was a slave to prescription drugs.
Alvin and I read 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21. I said, “Alvin, Satan can counterfeit spiritual gifts. That’s why the Scriptures instruct us to put everything to the test.”
Alvin admitted, “I think my problems began when I failed to test the ‘gifts’ of tongues and prophecy conferred on me by false teachers.”
“Would you be willing to put your gift of tongues to the test?” I asked. Alvin really wanted to be free. “Yes,” he answered.
I instructed Alvin to begin praying aloud in his “spiritual language.” As he began to chant an unintelligible prayer, I said, “In the name of Christ and in obedience to God’s Word, I command you, spirit, to identify yourself.”
Alvin stopped in the middle of his chanting and said, “I am he.”
“Are you the ‘He’ who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, buried, raised on the third day, and who now sits at the right hand of the Father?” I asked.
Alvin almost shouted the response: “No! Not He!” I led Alvin through a prayer renouncing Satan’s activity in his life, and he was free from that deception.
I am not against spiritual gifts, even prophecy and tongues. I am committed to obeying Scripture, and 1 Corinthians 14:39 says, “Desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues.” But Scripture also requires that all spiritual phenomena be tested. I believe that false prophets and teachers flourish today simply because Christians accept their ministry without testing the spirits behind it.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to stay alert to spiritual seduction and reject all phenomena that do not come from God.