Test the Spirit
By Rev. Frances D. Montgomery, NST, CM
Spiritualists respect all holy writings, regardless of their origin. However, we do not take everything we read as gospel, including writings in the Bible. We realize that the Bible was written by humans and as it was translated many times from one language to another, idiomatic meanings were sometimes lost or altered. We believe that Biblical references to the “devil” actually refer to lower, underdeveloped souls who haven’t yet grown into spiritual knowledge and light. We are also aware that the New Testament was compiled in 367 AD – much later than the Old Testament – and there were many writings (and heated differences of opinion) before the 27 books now comprising the New Testament were agreed upon. Many other writings were either destroyed or laid aside in favor of these 27 books.
Spiritualists also recognize that many “gifts of the spirit” including psychometry, healing, prophesy, speaking in tongues, clairvoyance (clear seeing), clairaudience (clear hearing), clairsentience (clear feeling), automatic writing and materialization – just to mention a few – are described in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Biblically we are told by Jesus, the Master Teacher, in St. John 14: 12 “……these things I do, ye shall do also and even greater works...”
As Spiritualists, we openly accept and embrace these gifts as demonstrated truth. We gladly accept messages from spirit and do not doubt the continuation of life or communication with those who have left the earth plane. These beliefs and the practice of them are an integral part of our religion.
Does that mean that we accept each tingle or twinge we feel as having been sprit-given? Does that mean that every time we see or hear a certain thing, we automatically accept that it is given by spirit? I certainly hope not because we are well aware there are mischievous entities on the other side of life, just as there are people on the earth plane who are not honest or well-intentioned. We realize and teach that Aunt Sally, in spirit, is no wiser when she arrives there than she was when she left the earth plane. Without extensive work and study on her part, she isn’t going to progress in spirit any more than she did while she was on the earth plane. People are human and some people are prone to greed, lies and/or worse.
Spirit entities are, simply, people who have dropped their earthly bodies and moved into spirit life. Their entry into the spirit realm does not automatically elevate their spiritual awareness and understanding. Therefore, some spirit entities may not always be who they say they are or whom you imagine them to be.
How do we KNOW with whom we are dealing when giving or receiving messages? Don’t you want to know with whom you are dealing when you purchase a home or a car? Don’t you want to deal with someone you feel you can trust? Haven’t you ever met a salesperson who just doesn’t seem honest or real? Someone you know you don’t want to buy from or deal with? Should it be any different when you are dealing with spirit? Do you test the spirit to find out who they really are?
In St. Matthew 4: 1 – 11 we read, “Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil (lower entity). And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward hungered. And when the tempter came to Him he said, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” And Jesus answered and said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Then the devil (unenlightened entity) took him up into the holy city and sat him on a pinnacle of the temple. And said unto Him, “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning thee; and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” Jesus said unto him, “It is written again, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” Again, the devil (lower spirit) took Him up into an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them: and said unto Him, “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” Then said Jesus unto him, “Get the hence, Satan, for it is written, thou shalt worship the Lord, thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” Then the devil left Him and behold angels came and ministered unto him.” When dealing with a lower entity, Jesus trusted the Spirit of God. Should we do less?
In the Bible, which we do accept as a Holy Writing, we are told to try the spirit. How many of us know how to do that?
Actually, the very specific message of how to test the spirit is given in the Bible. Do you know where to find it so that you can practice and use it in your development? One of the best and most clearly written passages is actually found in St. John 4: 1-6. “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 confessth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God; and this is that spirit of antichrist, where of ye have heard that it should come, and even now already is it in the world.”
In other words, asking the spirit with whom you are dealing “Are you of God?” or, “do you believe Jesus Christ walked the earth in the flesh?” is actually the method given in the Bible – and the wording to be used – when testing the spirit with whom you are working. Have you ever asked your spirit forces these questions? I prefer the simple question, “Are you of God?”
We know that we attract teachers, guides, healers to us who are a ‘step above’ our level of understanding. It only makes good common sense. If they weren’t more knowledgeable than we are, how could they teach us anything? How could they raise us from where we are to where we are attempting to be? We also realize when we do a prayer at the opening of our religious service that we call it an Invocation – we are invoking, asking, inviting the God Force, Infinite Intelligence, the Highest Entity we can call upon – to be with us, to enter into the building, to be a part of the service so that what we say, teach or discuss is led, protected and guided by the most Divine Spirit we are able to reach. No one with any knowledge wants to stand on the podium and act like we know everything. We don’t! No one wants to mislead anyone in any way, especially in Spiritualism, because we understand the Law of Karma (or retribution) that we bring into play for or against ourselves if we do not present using the highest and best levels of our ability when giving a talk. We strive to tell it like it is to the very best of our ability and we ask for spiritual guidance when choosing the topic we will address.
That is why I ask if you test the spirit with whom you are working. That is why we invoke the Spirit of God into our church services and séances and that is why we “try the spirit” in our work. The quality of communication will be enhanced. When you feel the spirit energy drop it is time to quit! Give thanks for what you have received from spirit and be quiet.
It is my most sincere desire that you all progress as you desire to a higher level. It is also my desire that you try the spirit with whom you work. Only the highest and best should ever be good enough for us.
God bless you all with the highest and best spiritual entities you are capable of receiving and remember that you will be given the courage, when you ask, to “test the Spirit” in your work.