I have a friend who has been asking me this question. How do I know if I am hearing God, Satan, or myself? Wowza! That was the first thought that came into my mind. My second thought was that I have no idea. My third thought was that I am going to study this and see what I can find. So here I am sitting, staring at my computer, Bible in hand, a prayer said, (asking God to be my words) and steaming hot tea. Time to bunker down! I hope that you will get comfy in your chair as we try and pull apart the answer to this question together.
I think that as we dig in it is important to first know that characteristics of who we are looking at. You obviously know yourself and what your thoughts, motives, and reasons are usually like. Because of this, I want to skip ahead and see what the Bible says about God and Satans characteristics.
Here is what I found. The Bible tells us that:
We know God is love. 1 John 4:8 ESV Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love.
We know God is never changing. Hebrews 13:8 ESV Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
We know God is truth and justice. Psalm 99:4 (ESV) The King in his might loves justice. (Justice) Psalm 25:5 Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you, I wait all the day long.
Here is what I found. The Bible tells us that:
We know that Satan is powerful and evil. 1 John 5:19 (ESV) We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
Wow! Scary huh? No wonder we want to make sure that Satan isn’t the voice that we are listening to. He has the power to trick us into things that are not Gods plan. He is prowling around the Earth waiting to devour us any chance he gets. As we talk about Satan and his evil power please remember that he only has the amount of power that God allows. He is still under Gods control.
Ok, I think we are ready! We now have a little knowledge about the characteristics of those who we are talking about.
GOD IS ON OUR SIDE
We all have decisions big and small to make every day. It’s hard, I get it. I’ve been there too, many times. Dan and I are always spending time in prayer before making decisions. We know that being in close relationship with Christ makes it a lot easier to hear him when he is trying to reach us. I wanted to look at his characteristics because they say a lot of about what kinds of decisions he would want us to make. A God that is perfect and good is going to want us to make decisions that are perfect and good as well. He isn’t going to advise us to do or choose anything that would lead us to a place of sin. No matter what form that sin may appear. He isn’t going to pull us towards a decision that is going to hurt us spiritually, physically, or mentally. He wants what is best for us and sometimes that is the decision that we weren’t really leaning towards. I want to make it abundantly clear that I know that God leads his people into hard and scary situations. I know that not every one of Gods plans for you may feel like he is on your side. I do know that when his people trusted him, even in taking the hard moves he always provided. His people always came out better on the other side. I say this only because there are those of us who are called to a life of missionary work, or work with the underprivileged and sometimes those things bring hardships. Those hardships will always be worth it when you are following Gods calling.
SATAN IS AGAINST US
When I was at a Bible study learning about the armor of God (see link to blog post below) I started thinking about decisions a little differently. I think it’s important to remember that God speaks to our hearts and really pulls us in love. Satan, on the other hand, gets into our thoughts. He tries to trick us into thinking that we need certain things to be happy, or that we deserve certain pleasures that we know are not good for us. He is just waiting to attack. Satan has a limited amount of power and that is a truth; Satan doesn’t have the power to know what we are thinking, but he can hear us speak. Satan can’t know our deepest longings the way that God does, he simply knows what we profess out loud. I mean just think about that for a moment… How many times do we ourselves give Satan the ammunition to use against us? The information he needs to pull us in. I can’t even count the number of times that I have complained about a certain thing/person and low and behold Satan attacks that exact thing or relationship. Why? Because I let him know that it was faltering, teetering. I let him know that this was the chance to swoop in try and make me look at the situation for worse than it was. Not only does he attack us where we are weak, but he tries to give us what we want in the worst ways. Don’t give him the power. I remember a time that Dan and I were really wanting to move away. We just really wanted to experience something different. Satan knew that. He knew how to get to us at that point. Sometimes decisions are so tempting. I mean I really felt like Satan hand delivered us a way out. Dan was asked to come and interview for a job somewhere else. A great job, great paying and he already knew some people there. It would have been really easy to just take and go. I really thought we were going to until we stopped and really considered what the decision meant. We are pretty certain that we know where God wants us in the future and this wasn’t this place. Had we not really focused on listening to our hearts and where they were leading we would be long gone. My point is that Satans schemes rarely looks bad. He is a deceitful mastermind and is great at making things look a lot shinier than they really are. Remember, he is tricky and has nothing good up those sleeves.
What does any of this mean to us and our decision making opportunities? It means that if we stop and think long and hard about what our decision really is, why we are making one in the first place, and what our own motives are we can be prepared to listen to God tugging at our hearts and at the same time be aware of the areas that Satan may try to exploit our wants.
I guess I would have to say that while studying God and Satan’s characteristics I have come to a conclusion that the best way for us to know that we are hearing God is to be in constant communication with him. Make a pros and cons list. Do you see God’s hand in that? Can you see the way you can work for him, or will a change pull you farther away? Will you be able to give God the glory or will a change cause you to receive the glory? God is a loving Father who wants all the best things for his children. We know this to be true but it is hard to remember that his best for us doesn’t always look the way that our best would look for ourselves.
Open your heart, don’t give Satan the power. Look to other Christians for Biblical advice and spend time in communication with your heavenly Dad. Keep your heads up and trust, follow your heart! I know there have been many times when I knew I was seeking Gods will because I was scared to take the leap and knew that although it is good for me, it wouldn’t have been my own thought.
Leave me comments: I think this is a great conversational topic, thank you for reading
Link to Armor of God Post: http://mypennedheart.com/the-devils-wearing-pink/
I wish I had some great book reviews on this topic, unfortunately, I do not but feel free to head over to Amazon and take a look around. Amazon Books