Part Four: Learning to Discern God’s Voice in Your Life
A college student told me, I’m in a constant struggle. I find myself swearing too often and I know it’s wrong. God has spoken to me about this area of my life. But then I have the thought, Everyone swears—they are just words—you are making way to much out of this—lighten up… Pastor, It’s almost as if I had the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other.
That is a real life experience that many Christians struggle with. In learning to discern between Satan speaking to you trying to deceive you, or God trying to lead you, you have to understand the voices you hear from within. First you have to understand that God uses your voice to speak to you. God is a Spirit and the Holy Spirit indwells within us the second we’ve made Jesus our Lord and Savior. But, He is not the only one using our voice. We are also contending with demonic influences. Satan is called the “god of this world” in 2 Cor. 4:4 and for every way God is trying to draw you near to Him, Satan is trying to lure, seduce, and deceive you into his eternal destiny—Hell. He hijacks your inner voice. His goal? To sound like God and confuse you into a way more desirable to your flesh.
We have God’s voice speaking to us from within. We have Satan attacking us from without. Both are spirit beings and both use our own voice to speak to us—God using our voice by permission from us, and Satan usurping our voice to confuse and set us on a false course of sin and decisions contrary to God.
To understand this, first understand that 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. Its 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 posts, and some we will look further into. He speaks to your spirit which is where the Holy Spirit abides within you. And thirdly, there is the voice of temptation, lies, deception and accusation from the devil. 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!
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 personal destruction.
That isn’t his only strategy. 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 and still serve God. These are not truths rooted in scripture. God is not the inspiration behind these beliefs. God does not demand it. 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 in scripture.
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 that are in conflict with what the Bible teaches. This becomes true from the larger issues of life down to the smallest.
Romans 8:12-13 NLT says, “So, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you keep on following it, you will perish. But if through the power of the Holy Spirit you turn from it and its evil deeds, you will live.” It doesn’t make a difference if you hear the voice of God if you will not learn to follow and obey His voice.
When God speaks to you, He almost always speaks to you through scripture. Someone emails you a video or joke that makes fun at someone else’s expense, or that crosses the line using profanity or sexual humor. If you were sensitive to the Holy Spirit, you might hear the Holy Spirit speak to you through scripture saying, “Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. “ Philippians 2:3 TLB, or “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29 NIV. (God won’t give you the verse chapter and number. He’ll just speak through the scripture!)
This is the Lord’s voice and it comes to us softly and in the framework of scripture being spoken to our heart. But, there will be other voices that say, Lighten up will you? It’s only a joke. Don’t be so serious. There is nothing wrong with a little humor. Every one jokes about other people or sex, and let’s face it—swearing is mainstream. You can and need to learn to discern these voices and know God’s and follow His!
Romans 8:14 says “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.“ When your heart is open to the truth, God will expose Satan. Obey God’s voice and make changes that result in great blessing in your life. More to come about learning to discern God’s voice!
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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