It is not fashionable nor politically correct to believe there is a devil in our modern world. Fortunately, I don’t try to be either, especially when it contradicts the clear teaching of scripture. I went through a long period of doubt that Satan existed, but there was always one nagging question I could not answer that kept me from ceasing further inquiry. If Satan doesn’t exist, then why is evil so well organized? We would expect evil to occur in a completely random fashion if there were no force of evil to contend with. In the end I have had to conclude that Satan does exist, and in doing so it has allowed me to be much more effective fighting against him (Writer’s note: I intentionally choose not to capitalize the word “Satan” because the evil one does not deserve it!).
Over the last few months I have written a number of articles on the power of prayer, and encouraged faithful pray-ers to learn to be still and quiet, and learn to listen for God’s gentle whisper to your soul to reveal His will and other revelations of wisdom He would like you to have. One of the questions that has been raised many times is, “How do I know if it is God who is speaking to me?”
This is a great question. One’s first thought is if it isn’t God it is probably my own will that I am hearing. This is very possible because we like to think to ourselves that God wants what we want, and God is saying what we want to hear. This is rarely what God actually does. I have found that I know it is God because of the creative answer God places in my soul, things I have never thought of, or answers that once I consider them, I know they are true and from God, even if I don’t like them. God is always trying to stretch us to come closer to Him and trust Him more.
But what if the voice you hear is not God’s but Satan’s? As I shared above, I not only believe that Satan exists, I also believe Satan has a real desire to attack those that are trying to do the will of God. If we are committed to prayer, then we will become a problem to the advancement of the kingdom of darkness. I have encountered those times when people, myself included, have received a whisper from Satan. How can we tell the difference?
I found these three insights to distinguish between God and Satan’s voice at the following website (http://www.philipkosloski.com/3-ways-to-distinguish-between-gods-voice-and-satans-voice/). They are very insightful. First, Satan’s voice will contradict God’s commandments, and the clear teachings of who God is that we learn from the Bible. God clearly commanded Adam that he was not to eat from “The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” in the Garden of Eden. Satan confused both Adam and Eve with lies that seduced them into doing what they wanted against God’s command.
The second way we can tell the difference is Satan’s word creates anxiety and worry, while God’s word to our souls will create peace. That is one of the reasons Jesus taught us to trust in God and not worry in Matthew 6:25-34. I must refer to this famous “Don’t Worry” text often because so many people, Christians included, worry so much about things that God does not want them to worry about. Worry and anxiety are Satan’s tools. I have found that even when God is telling me something I don’t want to hear, when I know it is from God it brings me peace.
Finally, Satan accuses us and brings us down. God may accuse us because He hates our sin, but His word to us will build us up, as it makes us better. God tells us in Ephesians 4:29, “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.” If God tells us to build others up, He is certainly going to do so, and so much more.
Have you noticed how organized evil is in our lives? Have you ever encountered evil, either in prayer or in your life, that helps to confirm these three ways to recognize Satan’s deceptions of contradiction, anxiety, and accusation? Do you set aside quiet time every day to listen for God’s voice to reveal His will for your life?
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