Spiritual Tests to Discern God's Voice
The Bible tells us to test the communication we receive to see if they are from God or another spiritual force. Suzy Smith 1978 gives an example of an evil voice that talked to her inside of her own mind. "With a kindly attitude it said, 'your rescuer has arrived. I have come from a far place to help you. There will be no more trouble.'" This voice sounded benevolent, but later the voice said, "Oh, I'll get you never fear. I'll either kill you or drive you insane” (p. 42-43). Smith states that her dabbling in psychic phenomenon became dangerous. "As I had more and more experiences, ranging from the ineffectual to the outright frightening--most especially the terror of fighting against the bad guys in my mind--I grew to realize that admonitions against such dabbling in the Para-normal should be given" (p. 3).
Joyce Huggett in, The Joy of Listening to God 1986 tells several stories of people mistaking a communication. One man thought he heard God tell him he was going to marry someone even though she was happily engaged to someone else. "I now realize that we can never be one hundred percent certain that the picture we see or the voice we hear or the prophecy we speak out is winged to us from God," (p. 141).
You can never be one hundred percent sure, no one knows but God, but there are tests that can make you more confident in what you receive. In James 3:17 the Bible states, "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. The fruit of God's communication is love." In Galatians 5:22 it states, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Communications of evil do not create a feeling of humbleness and love for God. Evil leaves a feeling of self-importance, directing attention away from God.
Robert Baldwin in Conversations with God: A Catholic View of Prophecy, 1988 tells of a church group that communicates with God. The first test these people use is the feeling that comes in their hearts and spirit. God's presence has a particular feeling attached to it, the feeling of love and peace. The second thing they note is whether the communication is loving. The third test is whether the communication will glorify God. The fourth test is whether the message gives new life to the person or prayer group.
"All that is true must surely come from God, whether directly or indirectly; and all that is false must, presumably, owe its ultimate origin to the 'father of lies'" (Anderson 1976).
These are the tests that will increase our confidence that the communication we receive is from God.
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