test every spirit
“Dearly loved friends, don’t always believe everything you hear just because someone says it is a message from God: test it first to see if it really is. For there are many false teachers around,” _1 John 4:1 (TLB)
There is one reservation associated with journaling God’s Word—hearing from the Lord and writing down the message.
John the beloved, exiled on the isle of Patmos, in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, heard the voice telling him, “Write what you see...” In other words, write the vision. As a result of his obedience, we have the book of Revelation.
It is imperative that when writing a personal journal we follow his instructions to his dearly loved friends—test every spirit—because not everything we hear is a message from God.
Scripture warns us of that ancient enemy, the devil, who prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to deceive. We are told he is a liar and was from the beginning. Eve was deceived, with dire consequences. God, who walked with her in the garden, gave her only one restriction, “do not eat from that tree.” And as we all know, along came the enemy, telling her, “that’s not really what he meant. God didn’t tell you the whole truth. You can make up your own mind as to what you will eat.”
Listen for the Lord
In 1 Samuel, Chapter 3, God’s Word records the most important instructions for journaling the Word.
“And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for thy servant hears [listens].’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.” _1 Samuel 3:8-9 (RSV)
Notice it does not say, “Listen, Lord, for your servant speaks!”
In this passage, God called Samuel three times before the boy who was to be prophet understood who had called him. In the end the Lord revealed himself to Samuel, “by the word of the Lord.”
Test every voice.
Jesus, Our Example
In the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 4, we see Jesus the Son of God, led by the Spirit into the wilderness and tempted by the devil.
Be assured, if God incarnate was not immune to the lies of the enemy, neither are you. It falls upon us to recognize that we will also be tempted.
“If you are a child of God…”
“Use your ability to meet your own needs.”
“Trust your intellect to direct your own steps.”
“Look at all the world has to offer you. Ask for it. Seek after it. Knock on every door.”
Nothing has changed. The world, the flesh and the devil will still whisper to us…”trust in what you know.”
“It is written!”
Pray for Clarity
With every prayer, every note, every study, ask the Lord for protection, guidance and understanding.
In Psalm 119, the perfect prayer for the journalist can be found.
Open my eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of your Word – v 18
Give me understanding, that I may keep your Word
and observe it with my whole heart – v 34
Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
for I believe in your Word – v 66
Let your steadfast love be ready to comfort me
according to your promise to your servant – 76
Your Word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path – v 105
Great peace have those who love your Word
nothing can make them stumble – v 165
Let my prayer come before you,
deliver me according to your Word – v 170
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. – Psalm 19:14
Journal God's Word - copyright Ellen Lebsock 2017