If you do an internet search for “spirit guides,” you get a variety of responses, including statements like these:
“Spirit guides are incorporeal beings that are assigned to us before we are born that help nudge and guide us through life.”
“Some may be highly ascended masters (such as Jesus), and others might be your average spirit who just happens to be a master in a certain area.”
“An ancestral guide is one who can claim some sort of kinship with you, such as your dear Aunt Tillie who died when you were ten.”
“A typical spirit guide is archetypical, symbolic or representative of something else.”
“A true spirit guide is an evolved being who has agreed to support your spiritual evolution. Real spirit guides are wise, compassionate and often amusing.”
The general idea is that there exist benevolent spirits who desire to help people or “guide” them through life. Belief in spirit guides is commonly associated with New Age, pagan, and spiritualistic belief systems. The term spirit guide is not always used, as they are also called “ascended masters” or “unseen helpers.” Automatic writing, dream states, hypnotism, and meditation are all practices related to spirit guides. Also terms such as magic circles, centering, iridology, crystals, self-actualization, and positive affirmation are often associated with spirit guides. The goal of contacting a spirit guide is usually to discover some secret wisdom and rise to a higher level of consciousness.
Despite the claims of New Age practitioners, spirit guides are anything but benevolent. They are not the spirits of dear, departed loved ones, nor are they ascended masters who have crossed over some mystical plane. They are what the Bible calls “familiar spirits” (Leviticus 20:27, NKJV). They don’t announce their evil nature but portray themselves as beneficial. Second Corinthians 11:14–15 says, “Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.” Satan’s lies are most effective when they look and sound like the truth, when they seem helpful. Spirit guides are actually demonic spirits who masquerade as helpers in order to trap and destroy people with false teachings and occult practices.
According to spirit guides, man’s purpose is to be transformed through spiritual awareness, realize his inner divinity, and connect with the cosmos. According to the Bible, man’s purpose is to glorify God and be conformed to His image. Spiritualism teaches that man is inherently good, with unlimited potential for power and advancement. The Bible says that man is inherently sinful, and no one is truly good. Spirit guides assert that truth is relative and there are many paths to God. The Bible declares that God is truth, and Jesus Christ is the only way to a right relationship with Him. Spirit guides represent a worldview that is diametrically opposed to what the Bible says.
In the Bible, God warned His people repeatedly about the dangers of dabbling in the spirit world. Leviticus 19:31 says, “Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them.” Deuteronomy 18:11–12 says that those who consult with familiar spirits are an abomination to God. In 1 Chronicles 10:13 we read that King Saul died because he “asked counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; and enquired not of the Lord.” We are told in 1 John 4:1, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
How do you escape these spiritual enemies? By resisting them through faith in God (James 4:7). God is greater than any spirit (1 John 4:4), and He alone is able to deliver from their power. Jesus exercised authority over unclean spirits, commanding them to come out of people (Matthew 17:18; Mark 5:8–9), and they had to obey. Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:10–18 that we must put on God’s armor and use His strength to battle our spiritual enemies. This can only be done by someone who has received God’s salvation through Jesus Christ. Confession and repentance is the starting point. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).