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Weekly Encouragement

How to Distinguish God’s Voice (Part I)

Do you remember being a child and watching a cartoon character who had a devil on one side and God, or an angel, on the other? The character would often hear both voices and sometimes be confused about which voice was correct.

I could only imagine the person who originally illustrated this concept did so because it happens to us all. God is always talking to us, but as God is speaking, so is the devil.

And while we can be left feeling like the cartoon character in not knowing which voice is right, there are very specific ways to discern God’s voice from the enemy’s.

First off, God won’t force you.

Jesus was very straight-forward and as much as He desired to help people, He never forced Himself upon anyone. It is the reason Jesus said He knocks on the door. If Jesus was trying to force us to do something, He wouldn’t knock – He would just barge in.

Instead, God’s voice will soothe you and will be comforting. Remember, God always wants us to be obedient to Him and if He forces us, we aren’t working out of obedience.

However, in John 10:10a Jesus tells us this, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” Have you ever heard of a thief knocking on someone’s door because they wanted to take someone’s stuff? Probably not. Thieves will barge in and try to intimidate you to do as they say. A thief will use fear to make you listen to them. A thief knows s/he doesn’t have a lot of time and will try to get you to work “right now.” It’s the same concept that a thief may use when robbing a bank in movies. He always yells at the banker with a gun in hand (intimidation and fear) and says, “Hurry up.” In John 10:10 Jesus wasn’t talking about earthly thieves though, Christ was referring to the enemy.

When the devil speaks to you he’ll want you to act “right now” and will use fear to push you into something. The devil will order you, making you want to work out of compulsion and not out of the sound mind God provided you.

I’ve talked to a lot of people who have dealt with depression and made several suicidal attempts. As you may know, God doesn’t want us committing suicide. When I often ask those who attempted suicide, “Did you think about it first?” or “What made you do that?” They’ll often say they had thoughts that compelled them to do it. They felt forced, locked in as if they didn’t have another choice. One person even told me they felt that had to do it “right now.” Proverbs 14:15 says a wise person gives thought to their ways. Therefore, if the devil can get you to work out of urgency, he cuts down or completely eliminates your ability to consider what you are doing.

God gets personal.

When Christ talked to people in the New Testament and when God often spoke to people in the Old Testament, they got personal.

God and Christ spoke to the person by calling them by name:

When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” (Exodus 3:4)

The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” (1 Samuel 3:10)

He  fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4)

God will also call out to you using the name “friend,” “beloved,” and “child” because that is who you are to Him.

In contrast, the enemy speaking to you is like getting a newsletter that beings with “Dear Friend” or “To Whom It May Concern”. The letter may speak about things that are important to you (as the devil will speak to you about your situation), but the letter will still feel like a ‘cookie cutter’ — making you feel that you are reading a template and not a heart-felt message.

Remember, the devil uses an impersonal approach while God gets personal with you.

Author’s Note: Because discerning God’s voice is very detailed and intricate, this part of the series will continue throughout March. I’ll be writing on discerning God’s voice with relevance to time and relationships, discerning God and the devil’s voice by the different results we see, and discerning God’s voice when He tells us about others. To keep the articles on the shorter side, I’ll cover all of this in a few weeks’ time.

18 Responses

  1. alisa hope

    I’ve come into contact with this negative feeling of being rushed or forced, and I’m learning to just stop for a moment and pray. I think many of my mistakes could have been avoided if I simply sought God before acting. This is very practical and essential Biblical truth. The examples of Scripture offer great insight!

    1. Alisa, I think most of us can say we’ve come into contact with those negative feelings. We just have to discern the spirits to see if is God or not speaking to us. I like what you said, “Stop for a moment and pray.” That’s the best thing to do. Blessed that you were enlightened by the post. Thank you for reading.

  2. Danielle Wright

    This is powerful, indeed. I will definitely be reading this again and figuring out how I can work this into the FCA Bible Study.

    1. Wow, that’s great! Danielle, thank you. As sly as the enemy may try to be, once we know the truth, we can no longer be deceived. Let me know if you need help with creating the Bible study. I’d be happy to help you and share other references and resources with you.

  3. Tanya Villani

    Thank you so much for sharing. The closer I get to God daily reading His Word, the more I can tell the difference. But when I am not nourished, stressed, tired or just struggling, that is when the enemy will come in to try and lead me astry. I am going to memorize those scriptures you shared. I think sometimes the enemy will work through our families and friends, as the battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces.

    1. Tanya, you’re very welcome. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting! Reading God’s word is so beneficial in discerning if the message you are receiving is from God or not. I’ll have to mention this in a future article. I’m glad you brought it up because the Bible is God’s word. So the more we’re in tune with the sound and words that come from God, the easier we’ll recognize the words that do not come from God.

      It’s almost like a close friend of yours or a family member. You’re so use to hearing their voice, that even if a stranger tried to disguise themselves as your friend, you’d know it was someone else. Why? Because you’re in tune with your friend’s voice. In the same manner, once we become in tune with God we’ll notice if it’s Him or not.

      Great point!

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