To let this out up front, this post is quite personal, but is such an important point for us. We must be able to tell God’s voice apart from the enemy’s. There are so many Biblical passages I could cite that I’m going to assume familiarity with the basic, pervasive messages of the Bible.
I caught myself today. My thoughts stream through rather heavy subjects almost no matter what I’m doing (I happened to be exercising), so I can’t particularly remember how my thoughts segued into this, but I considered this passage:
And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
I got a little bit whiny about this–but not in the way you might think. I considered an awful lot of struggles and hardships that I encountered over the years (as it happens, things are really on the upswing recently albeit still with a struggle). But basically I thought perhaps I was being punished. And I complained to God, haven’t I been asking daily for correction, to hear God’s voice, to dedicate every moment of my life to following You?
And then it hit me: who accused me of sinning? Who was condemning me? My sentiment to God was as if God never said a word to me, which could not be farther from the truth: He has been speaking to me continuously! And everything He says to me is truly empowering.
I considered Biblical figures like Job and Joseph and many others, were they being punished or rebuked for sinning? Clearly they were not, but God was definitely in the process of refining them.
So what happened, when I was caught complaining to God, and for a moment, felt like He was like an enemy? Well, I was not hearing his voice! It was another voice at work: an accuser! The fact is that God is not the only voice that tries to speak to us, and other voices that speak to us will claim to speak for God.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
We must know the nature of God: He loves us. He is a God who answers prayer. Consider: have you ever spent an enormous amount of your time and energy to obtain something? Have you worked hard for a goal? And once you obtained something that you spent all of that time/money/effort obtaining, aren’t you serious about taking care of what you bought.
Our Heavenly Father bought us with His Son! How could He have paid a higher price? And since He paid such a high price, is He not interested in taking care of His investment?
Praise the Lord, He is invested in us! He answers prayer, supplies all of our needs according to His riches and glory, training us in every way.
Unfortunately we know the better part of the world does not follow God, and Satan speaks lies as truth–lies that steal, kill, and destroy.
To speak in general terms, lies are extremely abundant. They come from theologies that do not agree with the Bible: masses of people who will enable their “leaders” to say what their itching ears want to hear and feign submission to the truth–false humility; “leaders” who appeal to people’s worldly and fleshly attachments versus the unmovable truth of God.
And it doesn’t matter how many stand up against God. God does not yield to popular opinion, or “leadership” whom man exalts. This may seem obnoxious, but this whole passage is worth seeing for this point:
Luke 6: 21-26
21 Blessed (happy—[h]with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, apart from your outward condition—and [i]to be envied) are you who hunger and seek with eager desire now, for you shall be filled and completely satisfied! Blessed (happy—[j]with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, apart from your outward condition—and [k]to be envied) are you who weep and sob now, for you shall laugh!
22 Blessed (happy—[l]with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, apart from your outward condition—and [m]to be envied) are you when people despise (hate) you, and when they exclude and excommunicate you [as disreputable] and revile and denounce you and defame and cast out and spurn your name as evil (wicked) on account of the Son of Man.
23 Rejoice and be glad at such a time and exult and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is rich and great and strong and intense and abundant in heaven; for even so their forefathers treated the prophets.
24 But woe to (alas for) you who are rich ([n]abounding in material resources), for you already are receiving your consolation (the solace and sense of strengthening and cheer that come from prosperity) and have taken and enjoyed your comfort in full [having nothing left to be awarded you].
25 Woe to (alas for) you who are full now (completely filled, luxuriously gorged and satiated), for you shall hunger and suffer want! Woe to (alas for) you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep and wail!
26 Woe to (alas for) you when everyone speaks fairly and handsomely of you and praises you, for even so their forefathers did to the false prophets.
We can expect to be absolutely bombarded with lies, screamed out by the majority. You may or may not be an actual prophet, but would you listen to a Jeremiah, whose message no one liked and the man ended up looking like a bum? Or will you listen to a man who says what you want to hear, propped up for all to see–propped-up by people ONLY because he says what people want to hear? A man who is essentially a hired hand, with a craft for keeping his customers coming back?
And I see it all the time: the lapses in basic, common sense with people warping theologies in ways that suit them. How will they control truth? By immersing themselves in a mutual admiration society?
1 John 4:4
4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
1 John 5:4-5
4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
No matter how many shout lies, and no matter how loudly, if you have God on your side, God works out everything around you for your good, including trials:
2 Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.
3 Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.
4 But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.
For the purposes of men, so many of us awaken to anti-male propaganda in the world. Tirelessly, people craft theories and ideologies that enslave, degrade, and dehumanize men, including warped theologies, such as that insane “Silence of Adam” theology to which I recently responded, and much more. They write to an audience, nothing more. Listen to God. Their agenda is not there.
God meets you where you are. If you are in need of discipline, discipline you will receive until you approach God with a humble, submissive, and dedicated heart that understands everything you have belongs to God. Believe that God answers prayer. Pray for gifts of His Spirit and He will shower them abundantly.
To share something I do quite often, I speak to God when I weigh my thoughts when evaluating things according to His will. One particular story I can share involved a decision that was a very distinct fork in the road: it was one way or the other. NEITHER option was relieving my conscience. I worked it out and used my mind, to reason through it morally, to come at a decision, but the feeling of guilt was relentless. Finally, I spoke to God, explaining what I intended to do, and explained why I reached the conclusion. Time after time I was struck by the Holy Spirit so powerfully while I spoke that i was silenced; I could not put more than two or three words together before I felt that strike–it was not something I “waited” for, but it was so overpowering. The doubt and guilt had gotten so deep into me that I kept speaking, kept explaining. The feeling was overpowering, yet filling, healing, and empowering. And finally it was clear and inescapable that the enemy was tormenting me with lies, and I could not deny it: even if I TRIED to think that my conscience was legitimately condemning me, the force of the Holy Spirit overwhelmed it so greatly that I could not succeed. Quite simply, my Shepherd led me with his voice away from a wolf.` The feelings, that troubled me greatly for at least a year, troubled me no more. Why not? Because God’s voice was like waking from a dream: no matter how “real” the dream feels, the reality of waking truth washes away a dream with a force that will make us forget the lie.
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
The Lord will lead us far away from lies when we follow, and lead us utterly to life.
I do not in the slightest suggest that I do not struggle with sin. Quite the contrary, the Lord has been working a great deal in me, uprooting layer upon layer of bitterness, but it is by His power, not mine, and it involves taking in His love and empowerment, the good news of grace–setting me free from lies that breached me, freeing me from wolves, enabling me to fight and resist and stand firm. I thank God that He is “here,” even when I feel alone–my tireless good Shepherd.