By Pastor Walt Healy
Beloved, do not believe every spirit,
but test the spirits, whether they are of God;
because many false prophets
have gone out into the world. I John 4:1
Each of us is told we are to test or "proof" the spirits. The obvious first filter for this testing is the scriptures, which will clarify all doctrine and 95% of all of our guidance. It is the other 5% that can raise questions. The general guidance we receive from the written word is not the subject of this writing; my purpose here is to focus on the precise and specific guidance we seek in the situational needs we face. Since there are three sources of "voices"-- human, demonic or divine -- we must learn to discern so as not to miss the voice of God or follow some other voice.
We begin by separating the spirit of the message from the content, assuming the content lines up with the word of God. We determine if the thoughts were born in meditation, constructed from what we've learned and linked to other thoughts as a progressive unfolding or arrival. This is natural or human thought.
Supernatural thought arrives differently, either coming from the air (the prince of the air; the devil) or they bubble up from the inner spirit. These are both spiritual, but God's thoughts are born in the innermost being, intuited, known without being thought through. They are sensed before they are thought, spontaneous, gentle and full of light, higher than our thoughts and they excite us to faith, peace, awe, etc. God's thoughts and words carry their own strength to achieve fulfillment.
For with God nothing will be impossible.
Demonic thoughts are not so much sensed or thought but come as an air raid or attack. They fail the wisdom test of James 3:15-18.
This wisdom does not descend from above,
but is earthly, sensual, demonic.
For where envy and self-seeking exist,
confusion and every evil thing are there. But
the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
The fruit of God's thoughts will be righteousness, enduement of power, peace, liberty, humility, and the production of the character and person of Christ. Satan's thoughts will produce bondage, fear, compulsion, and an ego trip. His thoughts are negative, pushy, destructive, accusative, urgent, divisive, and closed to testing. In other words, though he may claim to be God talking to you, his words will violate the nature of God even if he is quoting scripture. Demonic thoughts will also reject testing while God's thoughts will submit to the scrutiny of the church authority.
Another major distinctive of the origin of thoughts is given by Jesus in Matthew 7:15-20.
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
Satan can appear as an angel of light and can send a disguised message but he cannot hide his character. He comes to rob, kill and destroy, while Jesus comes to give abundant life. Satan will attempt to replace doctrine and have us depart from the faith.
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. I Tim. 4:1
The Holy Spirit will cause us to magnify God and reveal the glory of Christ and not ourselves.
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Acts 10:44-46a
The antichrist spirit will deny Jesus Christ (see I John 4:1-6 and 2:22-23). The antichrist spirit will never say, "Jesus is Lord" (see I Cor. 12:2-3). In other words, the truth concerning Jesus must be the root and the fruit of prophetic communication:
And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ""See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Rev. 19:10
In every "inner dialogue," ask yourself if Jesus is the focal point as in Romans 10:8-17. Ask yourself if God's kingdom is being built on Jesus.
For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. Rom. 14:7
Ask yourself if you are finding the Way, the Truth, the Life and entrance to the Father.
Lastly, I point out that the Holy Spirit always teaches of Jesus and the kingdom, not petty things about others. Such ones as believe God talks to them about other people are frequently seduced by another voice not of the Good Shepherd.
I hope and pray this message will help you better attune to and discern the voice of God, freeing you from the confusion of your own thoughts and guarding you from accepting satan's as valid.
God bless your pursuit of Him.
article used with permission