What’s Making Me Sick?
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God . . . By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. 1 John 4:1-3
Several years ago, my son spent one summer repeatedly breaking out in hives. It was miserable for him, and we felt helpless as we tried and failed to identify the offending agent. Was it some new food, our cats, the lake? We tried eliminating everything we could think of, and it just kept happening. Eventually, after multiple breakouts, we figured it out. We were growing giant pumpkins that summer and every time he touched the pumpkin vines, he’d erupt in hives several hours later. It was an easy solution, but we had to do a little detective work, retracing his steps every time he got hives, to discover what was making him sick. Then, we had to eliminate it from his life.
This is what I thought of when I read today’s passage. In it, John commanded us to test the voices to which we listen. He said that many of the voices speaking into our lives will not be from God, but rather, will be anti-God or anti-Christ. Some voices are healthy for us, and some are not. How do we know? We must test those voices. The test is pretty simple: Does this voice point me towards Christ and his will? Or does it point me away from Christ and his will?
The problem for me is that I’ve got so many voices speaking into my head that I don’t even ask the question. When I’m watching TV, looking at my phone, or participating in conversation at work, what do I allow into my head? I don’t often do it, but the question I should be asking is – Is this emotionally, mentally, and spiritually healthy for me?
Not all our angst and internal conflict is our fault, but when we’re experiencing emotional turmoil, spiritual malaise, and mental fatigue, we need to at least ask the question. Am I exposing myself to something that is making me sick? Then, we must do some detective work. Test the spirits. I hate to sound curmudgeonly, but multiple recent studies have shown some link between social media/phone time and mental health struggles. Our problem of course, is that we like (and think we need) many of the things that make us sick. According to John though, if we desire to be healthy, we must daily test those voices to which we listen. Then we must eliminate the ones that make us sick.