Many people struggle with discerning whether the thoughts in their mind are coming from God, their own ideas or worse the Devil! LIKE HOW DO I FIGURE THIS OUT!
If you’ve ever struggled with trying to figure out the dialogue in your head (I know I have 😊). I’d like to share with you a few points that will help provide some clarity as to whether its really God, you or the Devil.
So, let’s start with the Devil. Contrary to what people believe, the devil is NOT all-powerful and does not have direct access to your mind. He can’t plant a thought directly in your mind and force you to think about it. Now what he does have is about 6000-years of studying human behavior and manipulation, which makes him an expert at influencing the thoughts that humans have. The Bible says that he is the ruler of this world (John 12:31 “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.”) and so, he uses the things in this world to entice us, cause us to think certain thoughts and lead us astray according to the things that are specific to our individual vices, weaknesses and desires.
Like I said, he is an expert in human behavior and manipulation. He’ll cause 10 Vodka ads to appear in front of the person struggling with drinking, he’ll cause random pornographic ads to pop-up on the computer of the person struggling with pornography, he’ll ensure that negative Reality TV dominates the airways because it promotes sexual promiscuity, greed, lust, foul language, back-biting and stabbing, gossip, and cheating just to name a few and while consciously we know these are bad behaviors, unconsciously we glorify them with our desire to see more of it! Then we wonder why these same behaviors and attitudes are manifest in our lives.
Again, the Bible says that he is the prince of the power of the air. (Ephesian 2:2) Did you know that the air has power? And watch this, tv, internet and radio are broadcast over the AIRways!
So, while he does not have the power to implant a direct thought in your mind, he uses the devices of this world to entice your thoughts and tempt you to engage in ungodly behaviors. (James 1:14 “ But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.”) He is paying close attention to your habits, patterns, and sin struggles and he will put the right things out there to influence your thoughts.
You know what that sums up to?
The Devil is clever enough to speak to you in your own voice!
Ok, so here are 4 ways to help you determine if the thoughts that are in your mind are yours or God’s.
1. Through His Word! Does your thought line up with the word of God? God will never give you a thought that is contrary to His word. But if you don’t know His word, you can’t know if your thoughts are contrary or not. That’s why its important to read and study the Bible because it is the Word of God.
2. Through Prayer! I know this sounds cliché, but God actually speaks to us through prayer. The problem is most times, most people are so busy talking (praying) that they are not listening. So, they go into prayer, get out all their request, problems, and thanks out, and then wrap it up, and check prayer off their to-do list. Now there is nothing wrong with a prayer of only thanksgiving. After all, we shouldn’t always be asking for something 😊
But if you are actively trying to hear from God, you need to build some listening time into your prayer life. After all, God is not RUDE, He will not cut you off while you are talking and He will not interrupt you while you’re falling asleep midway through prayer 😊.
Now that doesn’t necessarily mean that you get down on your knees and pray for 15-minutes and then stay down for the next hour listening. What it means is once you are finished praying, you are in a posture of listening. You don’t immediately tune God out and tune everything else in. You don’t immediately turn on the tv, radio, make a phone call, etc. But you remain in a posture that will ensure that the voice of God will not be drowned out by the things around you. And why? Because you are expecting God to speak and how can you hear from Him if you are listening to everything else?
This is called praying with expectation. In other words:
Praying with faith that He is and He will answer (Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder to them that diligently seek Him.")
Praying with confidence that He will answer (1 John 5:14-15 “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”)
3. Through Memory! What am I taking about? The Bible says, “He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” John 14:26. Now here’s the key… The Holy Spirit is accessing what is already in you. If there is nothing (no truth, no word) in you to access, there is nothing to bring to your memory. That’s why points numbers 1 and 2 are so important (the word and prayer), so that there are deposits into your spiritual account that the Holy Spirit can make a withdrawal from. Have you ever gone to an ATM and made a withdrawal from an account that you never deposited any money into?
4. Through Godly Counsel! The Bible says, “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” (Proverbs 11:14) and “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire and He rages against all wise judgment.” (Proverbs 18:1)
Now who are you getting your counsel or advice from? And notice I said GODLY counsel not GOOD counsel because just because something is a good idea, doesn’t mean it is a God idea. Again, you’re trying o hear from God not man. Godly counsel can come from a multitude of things (like books) or people (like parents, pastors, or other leaders). But this builds off the foundation of points 1-3 so that YOU WILL KNOW GODLY COUNSEL WHEN YOU HEAR IT! And this is so important because just like Godly counsel can come from your parents, pastors or leaders, so can bad counsel. And just like God can use them, or NOT. He can also use a friend or a homeless person on the street! And I don’t want you to discount the God in people because of their appearance or where they are in their life.
So, to sum it up:
Read and study the word of God
Pray with expectation, faith and confidence
Make deposits into your spiritual account so that the Holy Spirit will have something to withdraw from to bring to your memory
Seek Godly counsel, but you need points 1-3 in order to know Godly counsel when you hear it.
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