Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
1 John 4:1
How can we uncover a counterfeit? How do we unmask the one who is not really from God? How do we test the spirits? In 1 Thessalonians 5:21 Paul tells us that we are to “test everything” and “hold on to the good.” We are to test everything because we are surrounded by false prophets who come to us in “sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” (Matthew 7:15) We face the task of having to unmask the counterfeit at all times. “The devil will try to mislead you and will show himself as being the truth,” as we read Paul reminding us in 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, and no wonder, “for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness."
The way to do it is by matching everything we hear/read against the Word.
It is indeed a daunting task which suggests knowledge of Scripture, time for meditation, and discernment of the truth. Sometimes we just don’t have the time or a comprehensive knowledge of the Bible at our fingertips. Maybe someday we would be able to get Bible software inserted directly into our brains for easy access, but until then, we are left with having to read it and let it dwell in our hearts one bit at a time. However, all who are of Christ know the truth, and the truth is always with us, and the truth sets us free! (John 8:32) This is why John tells us in his first letter, chapter 2, verse 20 that we have the “anointing from the Holy Spirit, and all of us know the truth.” John then continues with the most powerful, the quickest and the most effective way to test the spirits, when he said that the liar is “the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist – he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” (1 John 22-23)
There it is then. The easiest way to uncover the counterfeit, the false prophets and false prophesies is to ask the Jesus question: Who do you say that I am? (Mark 8:29) Ask this question to yourself, to others, to everything you hear and read. The answer to this key question will give you the best indication of whether the spirits you are testing are of God or of evil. After all, we do live in the middle of a spiritual warzone, “for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)