Ep. 013: 1 John 4:1-21 Try the Spirits and Love God
Ep. 013: 1 John 4:1-21 Try the Spirits and Love God
Jeffery Downs (00:00.798) Welcome back to Streaking the Scriptures, where I read at least one verse of scripture every single day and talk a little bit about it. There's a lot of times I do more than one verse. However, the base, the foundation, the inspiration is at least one verse. And this is to set up the floor for your success, to look at it and say, I'm gonna do at least one verse, because you want to have consistency and consecutiveness. consecutive every single day reading the scriptures. It's not about the quantity that you read, nor is it about the quality that you read. It's that you read at least a verse, and then from there, you'll start to move forward and learn more about the scriptures. And honestly, inside of me, every time I do this, I have a desire to want to learn a little bit more. We are in 1 John chapter four. I'm gonna start out reading right along with verse one. Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God, every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God. And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God. And this is that spirit of antichrist, wherefore ye have heard that it should come. And even now already is it in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them. Because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. They are of the world, therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God. He that knoweth God, heareth us. He that is not of God, heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another for love is of God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us because that God sent his only begotten son into the world that we might live through him here in his love. Not that we loved God. Jeffery Downs (02:19.222) but that he loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him and he in us because he hath given us of his spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, because as he is, So are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God and hateth his brother, he is a liar. For he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also. That was 1 John chapter four, all the way through verse 21. A couple of thoughts that I had as I read through this. First of all, right out of the shoot, beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits. We have so many emotions in life, things that we're moved by and can think from that emotion that it's true, that whatever we've seen or heard or that feeling that comes upon us when we see or hear it, it's true. What I see here and the application for me is that I shouldn't believe all those spirits. Now there are obviously the more extra worldly spirits, those that are of Satan and those that are of the Lords, in other words, angels and demons. I think though that as I look at this and the way that I... Jeffery Downs (04:43.102) apply it to my life is looking at it and saying, I'm not gonna believe every emotion I have. I need to reset that emotion. I've talked a little bit about how I can have this allergic reaction to people. And that is a spirit, if you will, or an emotion that comes, and it's not founded in any type of fact. So what I then have to do and think about is I need to try the spirits, and what I say trying the spirit is for me as I... apply this to myself, is think through what it is that I'm actually feeling. Does it work with logic and sound reasoning? Does it make sense? So I'm doing deliberately and intentionally that which I need to try the spirits, to try my emotions and feelings, and why. You and I, we both know that the Holy Ghost communicates through feelings. I feel a certain way. The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, happiness. As we read in Galatians chapter five, those fruits of the spirit are feelings that are in us. And I also believe characteristics. Sometimes I can get those emotional feelings from something that sounds true, but it actually isn't true. I believe that there are many news media outlets and journalists in those news media outlets. that use sensationalism to evoke emotion, that they can say something in a few sentences that evokes emotion, and that whatever that few sentences is, may not be factual, may not be real, and therefore have to slow down just a little bit to be intentional and deliberate to think about what it is that's actually being said. If there is any journalist that stirs me up inside, that gets those feelings going, I know that those feelings and contentious feelings, those stirred up to emotion and anger, those are of the devil. And the purveyors of that type of salacious material have only the desire to rile you up, to sell things, to get you in a state of anger. That's why I look at this and say, I've gotta try the spirits. I can't react. Jeffery Downs (07:08.346) to everything because there's many false prophets, people who say that they have the truth and they don't. They only have one agenda and that is to stir you up into anger. And if that's the case, then I know the Spirit of God and I know that is not of the Spirit of God because all things, as it says in Moroni 7, that are good, cometh of God. And what is it that cometh of God? Well, what John says here as well is that I confess that Jesus is the Christ and come in the flesh. Then I know that person in that sentence and speaking that thing is of God. Now here's one other thing that I think about and I need to, and I wanna be deliberate about, is not everyone that come that professeth the name of Jesus Christ is doing that which is good. They could have the name of Christ on their lips, but their hearts are far from him. And that's a question that I have for myself too. Do I just profess the name of the Savior or do I actually follow through with it, do the works that he would do and have not only him off my lips but also in my heart so that my actions and words match? And that's what John was talking about a little bit in chapter three. As John continues forward here, the world, he brings that in again and we talked about that in the beginning that, the people who are in the world who love the world are going to be accepted by the world. But those who are not, don't be shocked. They're not gonna accept you. They're not gonna accept you because Satan is the god of this world and he is the one that moves upon the waters and moves within circles and the popularity of the crowd is something that he wants. But he wants only misery, that's the whole thing about it. And that's why if we preach to the world, the world hateth us. In other words, if you share your testimony of Jesus Christ, you share that you know that he is the Christ, then the world is going to hate you because they don't want that truth. That truth condemns them, which is really interesting because honestly, Satan does not want happiness for anyone, yet there are so many that follow him and there's times where I follow him. Jeffery Downs (09:33.706) And I need not, and it's easy to get sucked into that because it appeals to the natural man. So we need to get away from that and love one another, just as it says here, beloved, let us love one another for love is of God, and then the famous phrase, God is love. He is full of love, it's in him, around him, and all about him. If we are in his presence, we are in the presence of pure love. With that pure love, then will motivate us to do better things, to treat one another in graciousness and kindness, to not be offended quickly. That is the true love of God, and he that loveth not, knoweth not God. As I've read through this, 1 John chapter four, and before this three, two, and one, love and light share a relationship together, and that light shineth in the darkness and gives us the opportunity to see clearly. We confess that Jesus is the Christ, and finally, this little thought that I had in verse 18, there is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out all fear. As you are interacting with individuals, and as I'm interacting with individuals who I may not know, I think a lot about how I interact with them, and if I have love, then I won't fear the opportunity to talk to them. When you have fear, so people, for example, Jerry Seinfeld tells that great joke about that the number one fear is public speaking, and that's above death. And so the guy in the box, is you'd rather be the guy in the box than the guy that's speaking. Jeffery Downs (11:25.73) However, if you really look at what is it that I'm fearing in public speaking, I'm thinking about how others are judging me. Rather than thinking about how can I love them, I've had an opportunity in my career to speak before many, many audiences, thousands of people. And as I get up and prepare to speak, there is a lot of anxiety. I do a lot of things to prepare to speak. so that when I get up, I can deliver the message clearly that I have prepared to deliver. If I start to turn inward and think of myself, and what I mean by that is, think about how others might be judging me or might be looking to judge the message that I give, and I start to get wrapped up in that, that's when I start to fear. I get a whole level of anxiety. And what is anxiety? Anxiety is worry about a future event that may or may not come to pass. Whereas if I think about the audience, and not the audience as a whole, but each individual, I think about individuals in the audience, and I think about having a conversation with them, that then gives me less fear. And then if I think about that I love them, and I want them to experience what I've experienced from accepting this message, be that the gospel of Jesus Christ, or any other skill or principle that I'm speaking about. That changes my whole attitude and outlook. Now I would love to have the words that make me persuasive or that people are persuaded, let's put it that way, that I'm not persuasive per se. The words that I speak are able to get into the hearts of the people and they then are persuaded by that word to live a better life, to be good. In our other podcast that Jamie and I do, Streaking, we talk all about Jeffery Downs (13:27.766) this idea of consistency. And I've wished many times, and I've spoken on streaking many, many times, I've wished many times that I could help convey the power that comes from the consecutive nature of a laughably small thing. Just like what I'm doing here. I wish that I could convey that. And the way that I can convey that is through perfect love. I think of the savior. When he was here on the earth, as we're learning here from John and as we read in the New Testament earlier this year, He had perfect love. In other words, he saw people and loved them, did not fear for himself, did not, as my oldest daughter's mission president would say, turn his arrows in. Looking, in other words, everything's pointing at me, rather than turning the arrows out and looking at everyone else and striving diligently to give them what they need in order to make the best decision that they can going forward. That is love. And it's a true skill and strength to be able to project that love out. Have you ever been in the presence of someone that you just, that you knew they loved you? I mean, you just knew it. There was no judgment, there was no condemnation. There was just pure and perfect love. That's what I want to get to. That's, I believe, embodying what John is talking about here and what the Savior taught us. Because, verse 20, if a man say I love God and hateth his brother, he's a liar. And I love how John puts this sometimes. He's a liar. Let's just go with it. He is a liar. I'm a liar. If I don't love my brother and I say I love God, I'm a liar. Why? Because all of us are God's children. He loves every last one of us. To him, we are the most important thing that there is. He made. and created the earth and everything that it is in order to support our opportunity to become like him. Therefore, I need to love my brother. And by so doing, loving my brother, my sister, everyone, that gives me the greatest opportunity to feel God's love and for all of us to progress together. Consider, what is it, not the lilies of the field, I know that one, right? How they toil not, neither do they spin, but the Lord does give them. Jeffery Downs (15:51.53) all things and they look beautiful. More what I was thinking about is the joy that comes from preaching the gospel to one soul and that person decides to turn to the savior to be baptized and to follow the covenant path. How great shall be your joy with that one? And if that joy shall be great with that one, how about if you do many? That is where great joy is, but how do you get there? That is where I have to embody love. Now the question is, how do I embody that love? How do I get to that place where I actually do love people? And now I get right back down to prayer. Pray with all energy of heart that you may love that person. And when you do, you then, having that love of God in your heart, will act differently, behave differently, make different decisions, be more intentional and deliberate in your decisions. That's where I see it. This was 1 John chapter four. I enjoyed reading it and also discussing some of the thoughts. and insights that I had. Hopefully you have some thoughts and insights as well, and I look forward to, in a future day, discussing them with you via email or getting that live feedback. Again, as this podcast develops, we'll be able to develop some of those things as well. Until we talk again, have an enjoyable, fantastic day, evening, morning, wherever you are, and remember to keep streaking the scriptures.