“You’re not from here, are you?”
I get that a lot. After living in Northwest Ohio the first twenty-eight years of my life, my speech patterns and pronunciations reveal that I am clearly not from Kentucky.
I don’t have a southern accent.
I say “you guys” instead of “y’all.”
I pronounce “time” with two syllables: “tie-eem” instead of “tom”
I say “Lou-ee-ville” instead of “Lul–vul“
Yep…A dead give-away that I’m a transplant from another state–that, and the fact that when I first moved here, I was in the park, trying to make friends with a mom, who was discussing the upcoming birth of her newest baby. She said she was due on “Derby Day,”
to which I responded, “When is that?”
No lie, I thought that sweet mom was going to take a blunt object to my head! FYI, don’t EVER act like you don’t know about the Kentucky Derby if you happen to move here and want to make friends!!! (and FYI again, it’s the first Saturday of May)
Accents reveal a lot about a person’s place of origin. Especially when English is their second language. I know many people from other countries, and most of them speak English fluently. But even the most fluent tend to pronounce certain words in such a way as to reveal their native tongue.
Did you know that our Enemy, Satan, also has a native tongue? No matter how hard the Enemy tries, he can never sound exactly like God. He’s got an accent, and God wants us to recognize it.
“Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” (John 8:43-47)
Freak out Disclaimer: I know there are many people reading this blog at all levels and depths of belief. I also know that Christians as a group are notorious for “Devil talk.” You know…hell, fire and brimstone. An evil spirit behind every bush. I hate that stereotype, personally, and have spent most of my Christian life trying to distance myself, not only from that label, but also from other Christians who have a preoccupation with the Devil and evil spirits. I find it rather creepy and completely ineffective as a tool to draw people closer to Jesus.
However, it’s impossible to discuss “good” supernatural things (i.e. hearing God’s voice) without also addressing “bad” supernatural things (i.e. the Devil, evil influences). The Bible is very clear that we have a spiritual Enemy. Therefore, I feel it is my responsibility to address all aspects of hearing God’s voice as I understand them and see them explained in Scripture.
If this doesn’t freak you out–awesome. If it does, please try to stick with me. I will rely very heavily on Scripture in this post so you can see this stuff comes from God and not from me. And if this is your first time reading my blog, please know that I mostly post on more positive aspects of hearing God’s voice. And I’m not creepy in real life. OK? OK!
So as a brief review, there are two other voices competing with God’s voice in our hearts and heads. Our flesh and our Enemy. Last week we talked about what the flesh sounds like according to the Bible and then I followed up with some personal examples of what that voice sounds like in me. I finished with some do’s and don’ts as to how to handle it when it’s talking.
This week let’s look at the other voice, Satan, in the same way.
What Does the Devil Sound Like?
1. Deception and lies contrary to God’s word: The verse in John 8 (above) says it so plainly: he is a liar and the father of lies. What does it mean when someone is referred to as the “father” of something? It means he is the originator, the founder, the creator, the one with whom the “something” is most closely associated. Satan is the father of LIES. The originator, the founder, the creator and the one with whom lies are most closely associated. Lying is his native tongue. It’s what he knows best. Even when he uses truth he twists it in order to deceive. He did this to Eve in the garden and he did this to Jesus Christ. Think about that for a minute…if he had the guts to speak the word of God TO the WORD OF GOD and think he could get away with with, he certainly will do it to you and me.
But here’s a bit of good news for you:
“When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Revelation 20:7-10)
What this voice sounds like in me: “I’m a terrible mom. In fact, I suck at being a mother. Why did God give me these children anyway? Can’t He see how much I stink at this? My kids would be better off without me.”
2. Doubt, fear and discomfort. God’s voice brings assurance, not doubt. It brings courage, not fear. Comfort, not discomfort. If you’re hearing something that makes you feel any of these things, it is not God.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (II Timothy 1:7 NKJV)
What this voice sounds like in me: “I can’t do this. Life’s too hard. I will lose another child. Jon will leave me someday. I will be raped. I will get cancer. I will die young and my children will be raised without their mother.”
3. Lack of peace, or a sense of restlessness, pushed and pressured. We already talked at length in previous posts about peace and God’s voice going hand in hand. Jesus promised He would leave us peace. Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. God is the Prince of Peace. Bottom line: If you aren’t feeling peace, chances are great the voice you’re hearing is not God.
“There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.” (Isaiah 48:22)
What this voice sounds like in me: “I’m not doing enough. I need to do more. I must excel. I must be perfect. I must do all things, do them perfectly and do them now. I’m missing something very important that I should be doing.”
4. Confusion or disorder. I remember talking to my best friend, trying to weed through the ministry options I thought God had placed before me. Getting frustrated with God for what I perceived to be Him keeping from me the direction I needed to make a good decision, I confessed to my friend, “I’m just so confused and frustrated!”
Wisely, she responded, “Well, then we know that’s not from God, because God doesn’t bring us confusion. He brings us a sound mind.”
I had not even considered that Satan would tempt me with “ministry opportunities.” Yet, that is exactly what was happening. The ministry opportunities were not bad in and of themselves, but I felt tremendous pressure to pursue them. I felt confusion about my priorities. And had I moved forward with these ministries, I would have stepped out of God’s will and purpose for that particular season of my life.
That’s not to say every time we are uncertain, it is Satan. We all go through uncertain times. And we won’t always understand everything God leads us through. But God leads us to firm ground and straight paths. God’s ultimate purpose is never confusion.
“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” (I Corinthians 14:33 NKJV)
What this voice sounds like in me: “What is wrong with me? Why can’t I figure this out? Everyone’s got it together but me. It’s too complicated. I’m overwhelmed.”
5. Denial or discounting of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I always thought this one was kind of a no-brainer…like, of COURSE if I’m tempted to deny Christ, it isn’t God… Duh! Sort of like the devil showing up with a red suit and a pitchfork. Isn’t that pretty obvious?
But then, in the last few years “spirituality” became very popular. It’s now en vogue to believe in God (whatever you define God to be) and to exercise your freedom to practice your faith. What is NOT popular, however, is to believe in Jesus Christ and to practice faith in Jesus Christ.
Believing in God is popular.
Believing Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the only way to salvation is NOT popular.
Praying to God, popular.
Praying in the name of Jesus, not popular.
In fact, the name of Jesus is downright offensive to the general public. “God” is not offensive. But “Jesus” is offensive. Who do you think is behind this little scheme?
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.” (I John 4:1-6)
What this voice sounds like in me: This is a tough one to give a personal example, because I honestly don’t think I hear this one much. But in the world, you may hear something like this, “Just because your faith is right for you, it doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. Saying Jesus is the only way is spiritual bigotry. Who are you to judge? God is whoever you want him to be. Just be true to yourself. That’s the most important thing, but don’t push your faith on others.”
6. Condemnation, guilt, discouragement and shame. There is a guilt that leads to repentance (a genuine sorrow and turning away from wrong-doing) and then there is a guilt that lingers and oppresses long after you’ve asked for forgiveness. If you have sinned (and we all have!) and you’ve asked God for forgiveness, then you are forgiven. Period. God may lead you to restore a broken relationship or repair something you damaged in your sin, but He will not condemn, discourage or shame you. If you are hearing a condemning voice, guess who is talking to you.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” (Romans 8:1)
What this voice sounds like in me: “No matter how hard I try, I will never change. No amount of prayer or Bible reading can transform my character. I’m hopeless.”
7. Division and isolation from others, especially from the body of Christ. When you are hurt or offended, is your first reaction to isolate yourself? Mine is. There have been times I’ve worked out a mental plan to avoid my friends for the next several weeks, just because someone hurt my feelings. Sigh….that’s not God. Whenever I’m tempted to isolate, I must remember that God’s plan is for me to be in the body of Christ, not live alone. We are created in His image, and He is relational to the core. Any temptation to be otherwise comes straight from the pit of hell.
” The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (I Corinthians 12:12-27)
What this voice sounds like in me: “I’m too high maintenance. I’m too much…too loud, too talkative, to demonstrative, too opinionated. No body likes me once they really get to know me, so I shouldn’t bother getting to know people well. I don’t need people. I can do it myself.”
How do we handle this voice when we hear it?
It’s quite simple really. James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” To see what the Bible means by “resist,” let’s look at Jesus and how He resisted when the Devil tempted Him.
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: ” ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’
Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. (Matthew 4:1-11)
And once again, it all comes down to knowing the Word of God. Even Jesus Himself quoted the Word of God to resist the Devil. Isn’t that fascinating?
This is a good stopping point, but there’s a little more I’d like to share on this topic, so I’m going to stretch this into one more post, meaning there will be a “Part Three.”
Come back in a few days to see how this saga ends!