“Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.” – 1 John 4:1 NLT
Fake News. I keep hearing this phrase, like it’s a new thing for people to be spreading false stories. Well, it’s not new. Since the beginning of time, we have been battling fake news, starting in the Garden with Adam and Eve. Remember this? God is speaking to Adam:
“But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” – Genesis 2:16-17 NLT
Fast forward a few verses to Eve, who is having a conversation with the serpent, who was not the same as the serpent as we now know them. In fact, it seems to me that this serpent was probably beautiful to look at…. and aside from his beauty, did you catch that the serpent could talk? Do you imagine, like I do, that all of God’s creatures could converse in the Garden???
The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’” “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” – Genesis 3:1-5 NLT
Wow. Talk about fake news! Does hearing the enemy’s lies about something you are considering evoke the feeling that it is okay to do whatever it is in spite of knowing it is wrong? Throughout the scriptures, we are repeatedly warned and admonished for following false leaders and listening to the lies of that serpent, the enemy of mankind. Just like with Eve and countless others throughout the ages, the enemy knows just what to say to entice us into sin. Have you ever said this to someone about the music you listen to? “I don’t listen to the words, I just like the music.” Really? I’m definitely guilty. Whether you are consciously aware of the words or not, they are soaking into your brain, so the obscenities and sex and violence are getting in, and that is EXACTLY what the enemy wants. Drinking to excess is glorified, as is adultery and sex outside of marriage. You are watching TV and a Victoria’s Secret fashion show or commercial comes on. Do you turn it off or let the jmages soak into your brain? Not only is it intended to arouse sexual feelings, they send a horrible message to our girls that these are the bodies they should strive for rather than loving the body God gave them. I’ve been caught up in all that garbage, and still struggle with my appearance and behavior because of all the lies. Most women and men are also in the battle.
Fake news is designed to evoke feelings so that we respond viscerally with our feelings instead of considering it for any truth it might contain. How do we ascertain that it is fake news? Research. Just because something is online or in the news doesn’t make it true. There are a lot of flagrant lies out there for us to hear and see. The best test is to know the scriptures and to stay in a conversation with the LORD. He won’t steer us wrong, ever, but we have to hear Him and listen to Him.
LORD, today my prayer is that we, your people around the world, will be more aware of Your Presence in our lives. I pray for our eyes and ears to be opened to Your guidance, and for less reliance on questionable news…. and I think all news is questionable until we test it through You. Thank You, LORD, for Your care and watch over us as we go about our days. I pray for the faith of a mustard seed that You will deliver me and continue to provide my needs in this time. You are Awesome, LORD. Amen.