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Listening to the World or to God

1 John 4:4-6
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognise the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. (NIVUK)

The people you listen to, will be the people who shape your life. Listening is a choice based upon what you really want: so the people of God should listen to Him because they desire Him, and His holiness. But many people reject the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, preferring the world with its 'feel good' agenda. And so those who desire the world's standards will listen to worldly wisdom and be functionally anti-Christ, whilst those who desire the Lord will listen to Him.

The people of the world are absorbed with what they can do and get in order to satisfy their desires. Their motivation is essentially pro-self and anti-Christ, and exactly replicates the motivation of Satan who Jesus described as the person who likes to rule the world (John 12:31). On the other hand, the people who receive the Word of God with gladness (Acts 2:41) are not threatened by all that is anti-Christ, because Christ is in them and His Spirit empowers them to stay true to the truth.

The world cannot offer anything of lasting value but whoever follows Jesus will live for ever (1 John 2:17). In the same way that the devil had no hold on Jesus, neither does he have any right to control Jesus' disciples. They do not have to listen to him or his messengers. But worldly people have no problem in rejecting Christ if His way is inconvenient to them or obstructs their desires. And so the 'listening test' (who listens to who) is important to discern those who desire the Lord, and those who do not.

Believers find great comfort in knowing that 'the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world'. Despite being surrounded by worldliness, we do not have to accept its messages; and it is important that we do not. Instead, we should welcome every voice which speaks truthfully about the Lord Jesus Christ so that we can learn to follow Him better. Meanwhile we need to be alert to discern the other voices which try to pull us away from our Saviour: we must not let them control us, or our family, or church or any other area of our lives because Christ is in us and we belong to Him.

Lord God Almighty. Thank You that Your voice alone has full authority over everyone and everything everywhere, for all time and eternity. Forgive me for listening to voices which are anti-Christ and allowing myself and my family to be influenced by the world's agenda because I have failed to discern their origin and motivation. Please give me the wisdom and desire I need to choose the messages I listen to, because I love You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams