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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“We are from God. Anyone who knows God listens to us; anyone who is not from God does not listen to us. From this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deception.”—1 John 4:6 (HCSB)
Endorsements are powerful. For example, there are many people out there who will buy a specific book—a book they have often never heard of—because it has a little sticker that says, “Oprah’s Book Club” on it. If Dr. Dre, a famously talented music producer, slaps his name on a pair of headphones, you assume they’re good. And if you see the name “Disney” tied to a film, you’ll probably watch it because, “Disney doesn’t make bad movies!”
A seal of approval from a trusted source can do wonders for credibility. And that’s what the apostle John is telling us in today’s verse. He says, “Anyone who knows God listens to us; anyone who is not from God does not listen to us.” Why? Because, as they said, “We are from God.”
But how could they, or even us today, know they were from God? The Spirit of truth! Consider the words of Jesus in John 16:13 (NIV): “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” The Holy Spirit reveals to us what is true; He guides us and directs our steps. He is our source of all power, wisdom, strength, grace, compassion, love, and truth in our lives!
Apart from Him, we can’t know truth; our minds simply cannot fathom it because we’re spiritually blind. We look for truth, but are unable to see it because of the spirit of deception. But when we receive Jesus, the Spirit of truth indwells us and takes us by the hand. And, step by step, as we calibrate our hearts to His frequency and surrender ourselves to His will and direction, He guides us into the fullness of truth and opens our eyes to the treasures it contains.
John is telling us that we can know whether something—or someone—is from God. We can know that we’re walking in His will, living in obedience, and being faithful ambassadors of Christ. All we need to do is listen to the Spirit of truth.
Often, we fool ourselves into thinking we’re listening to the Spirit, but in reality we’re listening to the flesh. This happens when we’re not truly surrendered, engaged in prayer, worship, fellowship, and Bible study. How can we recognize the Spirit of truth if we’re not in communion with Him constantly, allowing Him to do His transformative, sanctifying work in us?
DIG: Read John 16:1–15 and 1 John 4.
DISCOVER: How have you learned to discern whether or not something or someone is from God?
DISPLAY: If you’re wrestling with any decisions, wondering if something or someone is from God, if something being pushed by culture or the media is true, spend time in dedicated, deep prayer and worship. Open yourself up to hear from the Spirit of truth, and dig into the Scriptures. Seek His voice and His truth.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.