God’s voice is not the only voice that speaks to us. There are times we will hear God’s voice, the voice of demons, and even our own flesh speaking to us.
How can we know who is speaking to us?
We can know when God is speaking to us. His voice is that still, small voice that you hear in your inner man. The voice of God bears witness in our spirits, and we usually have an immediate peace. His voice is encouraging and it draws us closer to Him. God does not speak condemning thoughts to us, but leads us gently to repentance. When He shows us a problem area or sin in our lives it is always for our good, and it never brings hopelessness or despair.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they will follow Me. John 10:27
God gives clear-cut directions, but Satan speaks through confusion, urgency and uncertainty. God usually speaks to us when we are actively seeking Him. Satan speaks to us intrusively and obsessively. We can feel backed into a corner when we hear Satan’s voice, and a sense of urgency over a situation. His voice pushes us into being impulsive.
If God is speaking to us we can verify it through His Scriptures. When the enemy speaks to us, it comes in half-truths and lies and cannot be backed-up in the Word of God. God speaks to our spirit which is the center of our worship and communication with Jesus. When God speaks we can discern it deep within our spirit. Satan speaks to our soul, the seat of our emotions, will, and intellect. His voice is loud, demanding and it does not bring a sense of calmness nor peace, but fear, anxiety, and worry. Demons can manipulate our emotions by influencing our thoughts. Thoughts precede behavior or emotions. People act out of their emotions only after a thought about it first. The voice of the enemy makes you feel guilty and you can be perplexed by thoughts like, “I should have done this or that.”
The enemy will even speak through other people to influence you. When someone is speaking to you, learn to discern where their thoughts are originating from. The enemy can disguise, manipulate, and deceive. Even if someone is flattering you, though it sounds nice to your flesh, go deeper, and ask God, “Is this flattery speaking to me to manipulate me in any way?” The enemy can be clever how he speaks to us. Being in God’s presence and reading His Word will help you be able to discern the different voices that speak to you.
Thoughts of failure are always demonic in nature.
Satan usually magnifies a problem and tell us we are responsible for figuring out how to solve that problem, hence, this brings incredible restlessness in our minds. Satan will place thoughts in our minds that we are responsible for solving whatever problems come our way. This brings tremendous guilt, heaviness, and stress. If we entertain these vain imaginations, we lose our peace and joy.
God leads gently, but Satan pushes. God’s thoughts are calming to us and we feel equipped and empowered to do what He is saying to us. The enemy shows us problems to overwhelm us and gives us no way out of them.
We must TEST every single thought that comes into our minds.
One of the greatest footholds demons have is being able to plant thoughts into your mind. It is common for demons to speak to you in the first person. They frequently use “I” instead of “You.”
You may hear a thought in your mind like, “I am such a failure,” because the voice is in the first person, you assume it is your thoughts and believe you suffer from low self-esteem. At this point, the original thought you heard was from the enemy, but because you did not take that thought captive to Christ, your mind or flesh agrees with the demonic thought. The voice of your flesh usually responds to your circumstances or agrees with Satan’s thoughts, especially if given in the first person. Fleshly thoughts do not bring the peace that comes from God’s voice, and often can lead us into sin.
For example, my flesh is feeling tired and while I am at the supermarket someone accidently pushes me. I have a thought in my flesh, “That made me so angry.” If I do not see that thought as a fleshy thought and submit it to Christ, my mind is open to being attacked by demonic thoughts. A possible scenario that could happen after not taking this fleshly thought captive is the enemy pounces on this opportunity to plant his thoughts, such as, “You have every right to be angry, give her a dirty look and make her wish she never ran into you.”
Recognize that ungodly thoughts will come into your mind, but CHOOSE to give the thoughts over to God immediately. If you mull over or entertain these ungodly thoughts, it will eventually stir-up self-centered feelings which could lead you into sin, and eventually you will begin to act out of your unbalanced emotions created by ungodly thoughts. This is exactly what the enemy wants for us.
There are thoughts that are continually running through your mind, but not all are coming from God. When God speaks problems have a resolution, sin is forgiven, peace calms the storms around us, and our focus is on how big God is–not how big our issues are. When the enemy speaks, problems are magnified, fear grips us, we act impulsively, situations around us seem urgent, we are burdened, overwhelmed, guilt-ridden, and feel responsible for solving our own problems.
*Check out my article on Breaking Free from Old Mindsets.
How are you able to discern the voice of God and when the enemy is speaking to you?