by Pastor Tim Burt
Trying to live as a Christian without being in a good Bible teaching church, is like being a child without parents and a home—dysfunctional at best. If you, in your mind, feel you’ve been hurt by a church, I say this kindly but firmly. Get over it! People get hurt in multitudes of ways every day! If you are alive and breathing, you are going to get hurt by people because people are so far from imperfect—including Christians. People will inadvertently hurt you. But that isn’t always their fault. Sometimes you get hurt because you take offense over everything. You need to forgive, examine your own faults and how they might offend people, and move on. Find a good Bible teaching church because that is the community God wants you to grow up in. And quit looking for the perfect church of perfect Christians. It doesn’t exist. If you want to learn to recognize and discern God’s voice and guidance in your life, your Pastor and church family will be contributors to the growth process. And without it, you’ll struggle in your spiritual growth, abandon it, or literally become your own spiritual guide—something that I promise will not go well!
I said it’s common that people confuse the voice of God with Satan. That’s because Satan is a house of cards. He’s a liar. There’s no truth in Him. He hates God. You represent God’s creation so he hates you. And his top two strategies are lies and deceptions. They begin in your mind. Your thoughts are heard from within, in your voice. That’s why it gets confusing.
Satan is called the “god of this world” in 2 Corinthians 4:4. He poses as God. He creates confusion, doubt, and fear, all while sounding like the voice of reason. And 2 Corinthians 11:14 (NLT2) reminds us of this saying, “…Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”
So, to begin to learn to discern God’s voice, you need to understand how God created you. You are a three part being—spirit, soul and body. We see this in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NKJV) “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
As we think through things, we hear our own voice in three areas. First, we hear our own voice in the reasoning process of thinking and human conscience which is our soul. Simply put, your soul is your mind and emotions. It’s where your thought-life, emotions, and imagination happen. Secondly, there is the voice of God’s Holy Spirit. He speaks to us in a variety of ways—some which we have discussed in the preceding post and some we will look further into. He speaks to your spirit which is where the Holy Spirit abides within you. When the Holy Spirit speaks to your through your spirit, it sounds like your voice. And thirdly, there is the voice Satan— of temptation, lies, deception and accusation. That happens in your imagination which was created by God to help you dream, vision, and excel in those things He leads you in. It was never meant to be the devil’s playground to torment you!
So as I said yesterday, it’s not about the voice, but the character of what is being said that helps you discern between God, Satan, and your mind and emotions. Christians really could discern Satan’s voice much easier if they learned and remembered some simple truths exposing his character. Satan will most often tempt you to go the route that is most satisfying to your flesh and personal gratification or selfish wants. If you will think in terms of the big picture, his goal is to lead you away from God and toward an ever-increasing carnal life that would eventually result in your personal destruction.
He will also attempt to lead people into religious confusion—religious beliefs, practices, and behaviors that sound spiritual but are contrary to scripture. For example, radical jihad extremists who blow up people including themselves as martyrs for God, or men or women who do not marry because a religious institution tells them they cannot marry and still serve God. These practices may sound spiritual, but they are not truths rooted in scripture. God is not the inspiration behind these beliefs. God never speaks to us in ways that contradict scripture. That is our safe-guard for knowing what is and what isn’t His voice and His ways. He never contradicts His heart or character in scripture—both which are rooted in love. For the most part, Satan speaks in seducing voices that attempt to lead us away from God’s will, revealed through scripture. You may hear the voice that says, God won’t care if you have sex if you really love each other. Or, It’s really not sex because we aren’t having intercourse. The majority of the voices people wrestle with are fleshly desires fueled by Satan that are in conflict with what the Bible teaches. This becomes true from the larger issues of life down to the smallest. And that is where discerning God’s voice begins. Does it align with God’s Word consistently through scripture?
So, to really get down to the beginning of discerning God’s voice, if its coming from a spirit of love and aligned with God’s word, it’s most likely God speaking to you. But if it sounds good but seems to be contrary to God’s word—We love each other. God doesn’t care if we have sex! Then it’s not God. It’s that lying deceiver steering you toward disobedience with what might seem like logical nice-sounding words. Don’t be ignorant of the Devil’s devices. More to come…
2 Thessalonians 2:10 (NLT2) “He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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