Testing the spirits & reconnoitering the mindscape
In a war you need to know what the enemy is doing. Not generally, as you know he is trying to damage, incapacitate, or kill you; but specifically, what is he doing in your life today? The battle field is your soul: the thoughts, emotions, and plans of your mind. We have been discussing the past few weeks how your thoughts are not all your own. They can come from three sources: God, the Creep, and yourself. Satan’s main attack is against your mind. It is true he will use your flesh as the temptation. He will strongly urge you to satisfy those desires—especially the illicit ones. But often, he is more subtle—filling your mind with confusion, doubt, unbelief, and all the rest.
You can identify the source of your thought
If you have a thought come into your mind, you can simply speak to the source of that thought. Simply ask that thought, “Do you confess that Jesus came in the flesh and that he is Lord of Lords?” Often your next thought will be a brusque, “No!” Of course, if you ask out loud and any one hears you, they’ll think you’re insane. But then we are fools for Christ, right?
If it’s the Lord you will often hear a gentle “yes, my child” or some similar encouragement. Sometimes you will hear thoughts of confirmation or kind instructions showing you where to look for confirmation. You may feel that peace that passes understanding you have come to know in your walk with the Lord.
If you hear nothing, it is probably just you and your flesh. If it is just you, it might be followed by a strong insistent voice that calls you a fool for doubting. If you start to get confused, you have a clear indication that you are dealing with your own ideas or those of the enemy. The Lord never brings confusion.
Compare the thought to your knowledge of scripture. One of the real blessings of scripture is that objective standard of truth which it provides. If a thought is clearly anti-scriptural you know for sure that the thought is not from God and you need to resist it.
But remember! Satan used scripture to attack Jesus during His temptation (Luke 4:1–14). He will do the same with you. Pray for discernment. Scriptures taken out of context are often misleading and used by the enemy to confuse you. Portions of scripture can be used by anyone.
Letting the Holy Spirit control your memory
I am constantly learning more ways to trust the Lord and more ways to give Him control over my life. I can do no good thing of myself and I certainly do not want to do things insinuated into my life by enemy forces. But here are some prayer tips that will help you. It’s been a bit of a surprise to learn how He can help with my memory—both to remember and to forget.
A powerful prayer as you learn to discern your thoughts is this; “Lord, if this is not from you have it go away.” You will be amazed when thoughts or ideas just disappear and you can no longer remember them. This is a technique we teach people who are learning to manifest the gifts of the Holy Spirit. But it works equally well when discerning our thoughts.
Conversely you can ask the Lord to have you remember a thought. If it from him you will remember. He is endlessly patient and has no problem in telling you over and over in response to your questions. More than that He will provide confirmation from scripture, a teaching from a trusted brother or sister, circumstances, and many more ways. God is endlessly creative. If you ask for confirmation He’ll give it to you.
For those of us who wake up in the middle of the night with these amazingly creative solutions to problems, it is often better to deal with these ideas in this manner. The world tells us to have a pad and pen next to the bed to write these things down. Some even keep a digital recorder there to note down ideas.
I have found that writing these ideas down in my fogged, mid-night stupor often confuses me about the source of the idea. I want only God’s ideas. My inspiration comes from Him. He knows what his ideas are and one of the Holy Spirit’s jobs is to remind us of things of the Lord. You can trust Him in this area also. Simply ask Him to have you remember the inspiration in the morning.
Remember the sound & feel of the voices
As you practice these things, remember voices that you identify. As you practice you will learn the subtle differences and come to know the voice of God. You may not always recognize the enemy. It’s hard to tell between the enemy and your flesh. But you will know that it is not God, and you will increasingly learn to know the voice of God.
It’s different for everyone, but God’s voice often brings a feeling of peace, joy, comfort, and so on. Also, his voice is constantly changing and your methods of hearing must constantly change. That is because it is a walk of faith and He does not want you dependent on a method but on Him and the guidance of His Spirit.
Don’t become attached to methods
Over the years I have regularly come to rely on a certain method to hear from God. As soon as I start to do that, he makes me change my methodology. He wants me dependent on Him not on a method. You can never use a method to force the sovereign God to do your will. He will show you the foolishness of that real quick.
Above all, recognize that this is an important part of your daily warfare.
- testing the spirits – critical; Gifts of the Spirit #3 (eatinglocusts.wordpress.com)
- The Still, Small Voice (sonlightdevotional.org)