“This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” (1 John 4:2-3)
I’ve always dreaded the day the antichrist would show up. The description in the book of Revelation is scary . . . with graphic imagery of beasts and dragons and war and tribulation and Armageddon. But these verses remind me that it’s not just a future thing, it’s a present thing too . . . the “spirit of the antichrist . . . is already in the world.”
We live in a culture dominated by voices of people who do not acknowledge that Jesus came in the flesh and was the Son of God. Some are overtly ‘anti-Christ’ while others seem benign . . . simply ‘being themselves.’ Think how few celebrities, athletes, actors, actresses, politicians, musicians, writers, talk show hosts, news anchors or columnists acknowledge Jesus Christ for who He is. These are the people who are shaping our culture . . . and the evil spirits are running wild.
Let me take a shot at what an evil spirit might be. The movies tell us it’s a spooky voice, ghost, zombie or monster of some kind. I believe evil spirits are much more familiar and their voices sound a lot like the voices we hear in our heads every day. The spirit of fear, the spirit of bitterness, the spirit of jealousy, the spirit of violence, the spirit of lust, the spirit of greed, the spirit of cruelty, the spirit of envy and the spirit of hopelessness . . . just to name a few. These spirits are talking to us constantly, leading us away from Jesus and His peace. Unbelievers explain these as human emotions, bad behavior or poor mental health. I believe there’s more going on. Take a look at the themes in popular music, movies and television shows or the lives of our heroes from the world of sports and entertainment. Many, if not most, subtly or even overtly reflect the spirit of the antichrist.
The opposite of antichrist is Jesus Christ. He gives us the spirits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, not to mention forgiveness, compassion, generosity, mercy and true hope for the future. Few of these spirits are being promulgated by media and culture.
This isn’t a rant against culture so much as a call to create new culture. A new model for life, marriage, fatherhood, work life and leadership . . . a ‘light of the world, city on a hill’ kind of culture that will draw people toward Him and away from antichrist.
At the same time, let’s not lie to ourselves about the culture we’re living and raising our kids in. Take the initiative. Make new culture. Be creative, building a family and reputation that’s all about Jesus and His righteousness. Be diligent to discern and then courageous to resist media and culture that’s antichrist. And don’t get lulled to sleep and pretend there’s a benign ‘middle ground.’
Scripture: Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me. (Matthew 12:30)
Mentor Tip: Encourage your guys to be creative, discerning and courageous about making their own family culture. While it’s hard to swim against the tide of what others are ok with, it can be fun to be a little different and even backward!