(For Part 1 click here)
This is the transcript for the video I made here: HGV Part 2: Discernment
We know that God communicates to us.
Satan and demons also communicate to us and they also use signs and dreams and visions. We need to discern the spirits. We need to discern between truth and lies.
Satan deceived a third of the angels.Satan and his demons are thousands of years old. We can’t underestimate them.
“Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” 2 Cor 11:14.
I’ve seen demons pretending to be angels. I saw a demon once pretending to be God. I’ve had many wonderful experiences with God that were really Him too. I’ve learned the difference now because God has given me discernment.
Most christians will fall into 1 of 2 categories:
- those who avoid spiritual experience because they fear the devil and
- those who go all in with no discernment between what is of God and what isn’t.
Satan’s very happy about this because either way he wins. But you can have a close relationship with God without fear of devil and the key is discernment.
There are many false prophets out there and many of them don’t even know they are false prophets. They really believe they are hearing from God. But I tell you this not to scare you away from communicating with God, but to use discernment when you do. It is vital that you have that close connection with God and learn discernment so that you are not deceived. Many people feel unqualified to do this and so they blindly follow preachers who seem to be well educated instead. But that is a big mistake. No matter how knowledgeable the preacher is, they are still imperfect, human and make mistakes. Whatever anyone teaches you, (including me!), don’t ever follow blindly, take it to the Lord and find out for yourself if it is true, like the Bereans did.
“These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you.But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.” – 1 John 2:26-27
1 Sometimes it’s obvious like if you heard a voice that told you to murder someone – you know it isn’t God! Use your logic. Some good questions to ask: Does it glorify Jesus, or yourself? Does it bring you closer to Jesus or further away? Is it loving or hateful?
2 Check it against the bible. If the message contradicts the bible you can know it wasn’t from Him. (Hebrews 4:12) – “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
3 Pray and ask for discernment. Discernment is actually one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given… discerning of spirits…” 1 Cor 12: 7-10. Pray for discernment every time you’re not sure about a message. Ask for confirmation if you’re still not sure.
4 Pray and ask for the spirit of Wisdom and Revelation. “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened” (Ephesians 1:17-18, NKJV)
5 Ask them if Jesus Christ is Lord and came in the flesh. If they don’t bow down to Jesus or acknowledge Jesus as their Lord,or God’s son or acknowledge Jesus as the only way to salvation, they are demons/false prophets. 1 John 4:1-6:
“1 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. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. 6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”
6 Learn to recognise God’s voice:
– Sometimes you just know that you know:
“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” (Romans 8:16)“I tell you the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit …” (Romans 9:1) Sometimes you just know something in your spirit without a shadow of a doubt and no confirmations are necessary. I’ll give you a couple examples, one time I was looking for a house to rent. As I looked through the ads, I felt the Holy Spirit on a particular house and I knew that was the house. From the ad it was not much different or special than the others but I just knew God was telling me that’s the house. I didn’t have the money for it either. The money unexpectedly showed up at the last minute, the exact amount that I needed. It turned out that house had a church right over the back fence that would help me get further in my walk with God! That’s why God placed me there.
– Another example of knowing is when we have a dream or vision from God and we know what it means. We don’t need it interpreted. I love it when He does that. I think God does this when it’s something urgent or important that you need to know straight away.
– Conviction. Sometimes Holy Spirit will give you a strong conviction about something or move you or push you to do something. It can give you boldness too that you never felt before that you know isn’t just you.
“… they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia … They tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.” (Acts 16:6-7)
I remember one time I got all ready to go out in my car for a trip and as I was walking out the door, I had a very strong feeling not to go yet. So I went back inside and waited for about 5 minutes until I had a feeling of peace about going. I left and drove past a car crash down the road that had just happened. That could have been me in that crash if I didn’t follow my gut. I’m sure most of you have had a similar experience or heard of a similar experience. That was God protecting us.
– Right words at right time. It can give you the right words to say at the right time. If you’ve ever been preaching and the right words just came out of your mouth and your like…did I just say that? Where did that come from?! That was Holy Spirit.
“For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” Luke 12:12
– Holy spirit is life. You may feel more alive when you receive it. “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63
– You may feel a physical sensation. You may feel warmth or energy or “truth bumps”. The closest thing I can relate this feeling to is like when you see your baby’s face for the first time and you feel so much love and awe like your heart’s going to burst. Babies are gifts from heaven, so it’s not surprising! I usually feel Holy Spirit in my heart. Sometimes I feel it being poured over me like warm oil or honey being poured over me, anointing me. Sometimes I feel it from my shoulder or back as if God touched me. That’s usually when I remember that He’s there and He taps me on the shoulder as if to say yes I’m still here. Holy Spirit strengthens me.
Sometimes it feels like fire but not burning, just warm.
Some say it feels like water or a waterfall.
It can surround us or fill us.
Some say they feel Holy Spirit coming from their belly. I haven’t had that yet but it is biblical. Jesus said:
“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive…” John 7:38,39
– Different people have different experiences with it and describe it differently.
– Holy spirit feels like truth.
Holy Spirit is also called the spirit of truth. This will make sense to you when you feel it. If you can remember a time when you uncovered a truth that you didn’t know before and it’s like taking a blindfold off and seeing for the first time. And you have a feeling of awe and appreciation and you just know inside, in your spirit that it is true. I had this happen to me many times when I first read the bible with Holy Spirit guiding me. It feels like a joyful energy. Its feels amazing! I love that feeling, it fed my spirit and made me want more!
– I feel Holy Spirit when I receive a vision or dream or word from God and that’s how I know it is Him.
– Reminds us of scripture:
Holy Spirit often makes me remember scriptures that are relevant at the time.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:26
You can recognise Holy Spirit by the fruits:
“the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Gal 5:22,23
– When in Gods presence
You will feel love, peace, joy and awe. God is always loving and He can be firm sometimes and convict you of things, but it is always with love/compassion/mercy and you can feel His love when He speaks to you. God will speak truth always. I often feel like crying in His presence and they are healing tears.“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” 1 John 4:7-8
The times I personally feel Gods presence and His Holy Spirit the most is when I’m worshipping, when I’m interceding, or when I’ve learned more truth and He is confirming it to me. If you haven’t felt it before go into deep worship with Him and you probably will feel it then.
It can sound harsh/condemning or mocking/belittling/ making you feel guilty. They may make you feel frightened, or ashamed or even flattered as they appeal to your pride. It can be confusing.
It can feel pleasurable.
It can sometimes have some truth in it, but it will be truth that is twisted to their agenda.
They lie. Satan is the father of lies.
It will be missing love. There is absolutely no love in them. They could say they love you but they lie and you won’t feel the love.
You will feel uneasy. You will feel something isn’t quite right. You won’t feel peace about it.
It can sound like one of your own thoughts to make you think it is your idea. That’s why you must question the random thoughts that pop up in your mind and don’t always assume it is you.
Discernment is something that will get better over time as you get familiar with Gods voice and the enemies voice. You can practice by asking God a question, then take note of the thoughts and impressions that come up in your mind. The way He speaks to us in our mind is like a thought or impression popping up or inspiration or intuition. Try to notice the intention or feeling behind it.
Gods voice is usually the first voice we hear, sometimes when you haven’t even finished asking the question. He already knows what you are going to ask.
“…there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.” Ps 139
God can read our minds but satan/demons can’t. (Unless we are directing the thought to them).
“then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and act, and give to everyone according to all his ways, whose heart You know (for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men),” 1 Kings 8:39
So if you want to say something privately to the Lord, say it in your mind. Alternatively, ask God to stop them from hearing you.
How can a demon be speaking to someone who is saved?
Satan spoke to Jesus and tried to tempt Him 3 times. We also see an example here where the apostles James and John were mislead by a demon and probably thought it was their own idea:
“they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him[Jesus], because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”
55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”
So James and John were being influenced by an evil spirit and didn’t realise it. They bought the lie because of their own desire. They were likely listening to a spirit of pride or revenge instead of Gods love.You have to rebuke those thoughts from Satan and listen more to God’s thoughts and over time God will become clearer and satan will be drowned out.
How to know if it’s just your own thoughts:
Your own thoughts will be those ones that you are consciously thinking for example when you were asking God a question earlier. Or they may be things popping up from your memory, for example your personal beliefs or things your parents taught you etc. Gods voice is often something you never thought of or would never think of on your own or something you couldn’t know.
Sometimes when you think of doing something wicked, it is a demon tempting you. Rebuke it and don’t entertain the idea.
Keep rebuking the devils lies and their influence and power over you will diminish. Keep practicing and you will be able to tell the difference.
“But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” – Hebrews 5:14
“And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers” John 10:4-5
Proverbs 4:20-23 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
If you’re still having trouble hearing from God, please see part 3, on overcoming blocks to hearing Gods voice. And please comment below if you any good tips/experiences in discernment.