Today, when there are so many voices calling out to each of us, the Child of God must KNOW the difference of the voice of the True Shepherd verses the false prophet and unhealed, soulish men and women desiring to build their own kingdoms. This is a simple teaching, but one overlooked by many who are hungry for the things of God.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 - "Test everything. Hold on to the good."
1 John 4:1-3
"Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God."
Early brothers and sisters tested even Paul in obedience:
"Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."
While we were in Israel this year, Pete and I were able to see some amazing things. One thing we saw was a real live picture concerning the door, and the meaning of the sheep knowing the true voice of their own shepherd.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice."
Driving in Israel, we saw the small pen with an open place where the doorkeeper stands. Today the shepherd still uses this same type of pen to keep the flock together from time to time. The sheep are in the pen and when the true shepherd comes and calls to his own sheep they know his voice and begin to come to him, thus letting the doorkeeper know he is the true shepherd of those sheep. The doorkeeper moves over and the sheep follow the shepherd.
We found this so awesome and better understood the simplicity of Christ. The doorkeeper for those who have received salvation is the Holy Spirit. He protects us, and guides us, and lives in each of us and He knows the voice of the true shepherd. His purpose is to give the child of God the strength and wisdom to discern and really KNOW God's voice over the many calling to us.
In today's Christian circles there are many voices calling for our attention: Lost souls and unhealed souls, all wanting followers. As it grows darker with each passing year, it is more important for believers in Jesus to better learn how to judge the voice they are following.
Rev. 19:10 clearly says, "The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy." If the voice you heard doesn't point to the Cross (death of all of our fleshly wants) and Christ (who desired only to do the will of the Father) and doesn't bring Glory to the Kingdom of God, but to man, reject it, renounce any part you had in believing it and shake the dust off your feet.
It isn't as hard as one might believe to fall victim to a deceiving spirit. All it takes is for us to have unhealed places walled off in our own hearts allowing bitterness to grow and finally the seed of deception.
The Lord said we will know the truth and the truth will make us free. Jesus is the Spirit of Truth.
John 18:37 - "Everyone that is of the Truth will know His voice."
Knowing His voice is becoming one with it. It takes time and practice and study, but it is His promise to us that He will complete the good work He has begun. Trust Him to do so!
John 8:36 - "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."
Walking in His freedom is something we will work out daily as we practice to walk in truth. We are each in process of "being healed."
Romans 12:2 - "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, [It is up to us to stop allowing the TV news and our daily newspaper to determine what we believe] but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. [When we allow the world to tell us what is truth, we have listened to the false shepherd] Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will."
Below are some wonderful guidelines the Lord led me to years ago. I have taken them as they are written. I pray I made no mistakes in typing the scripture verses, if so please forgive me and let me know.
(Taken from Scripture Keys for Kingdom Living)
When the Lord Speaks, the following is evident:
- AN INWARD KNOWING. Sometimes He speaks words not familiar to you or not common to your vocabulary (1Cor. 2:13) I remember a time right after I had sat under Liberty Savard's teachings on binding and loosing. My teenage daughter had spoken harshly to me at church. I was hurt, but more than that I understood the law of God and knew she would reap what she had sown. I prayed for her after forgiving her for hurting me, and asked the Holy Spirit what to loose her from. I heard this word, "Loose her from Pungency," I didn't have a clue what that word meant but I obeyed and then asked what I was to bind her to and heard, "Purity, and Grace." When I got home I looked up the word and was totally amazed, as it was a perfect fit. She never spewed those types of words toward me again. Praise the Lord!
- PEACE comes into your soul and you are at rest (John 14:27)
- TRUSTING with all your heart results (Proverbs 3:5-6)
- CONFIDENCE AND ASSURANCE follow (Isaiah 30:15)
- AGREEMENT WITH THE WORD OF GOD, the Bible, God will not violate His Word for anyone's convenience; so the message must be checked with the Scriptures.
- CONFIRMATION. God always confirms His words to you, especially in guidance for action. (2 Cor. 13:1)
- CLARITY. Jesus always speaks clearly and in line with His Word, so that you KNOW it is He. (2Cor. 1:20)
When the devil or another evil spirit is speaking the following is evident:
Just so you really understand, the devil is one being. He is not God therefore he can't read your mind nor be everywhere at the same time. I doubt he has ever spoken to me personally (I am not that important,) but the fallen angles who now work for him know me well and they do report to him in some form or fashion.
- DOUBT, FEAR, DISCOMFORT, NO PEACE (2 Tim. 1:17; Rom. 8:15)
- CONFLICT, RESTLESSNESS, NO PEACE (Jas. 3:14-18; Isa. 48:22)
- QUESTIONING, WONDERING if it is the Lord (Rom. 14:23)
- LACK OF CLARITY, CONFUSION. If you have to "work it out" forget it! Satan is the "author of confusion", not God (Jas. 3:16; 1 Cor. 14:33)
- NEGATION OF THE LORD'S COMMANDS to us personally or through Scripture. When God speaks, Satan soon says the exact opposite, trying to snatch away the Word (Matt. 13:4,18,24-30; Gen. 3:4)
- LORDSHIP OF CHRIST DENIED, discounted (1 John 4:1-6) when you speak truth to a person in need and they say, "yes, but...", understand they have opened their hearts to the thief and believed his lie.
- CONDEMNATION, GUILT, DISCOURAGEMENT. Satan brings up sins that have already been confessed, forgiven, and forgotten by God (Rom. 8:1; 1 John 3:20; Rev. 12:10)
When the flesh-self is speaking, the following is evident:
- HESITATION. Self has to think before it speaks. God's Word to us flows easily without any preconceptions due to our carnal mind (Rom. 8:5-7; 26-27)
- DECEPTION. We can be led astray by our own hearts since we do not fully understand ourselves. (Jer. 17:9-10) So we must feed on the Word until we become mature (Hew. 5:12)
- DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS. Wanting two opposite things at the same time results in instability (James 1:8) Jesus gives us the "single eye" (Matt 6:22-23) that chooses the Kingdom first (Matt 6:33) so that we can really want to do God's will (Phil. 2:13) It is the indwelling Spirit that enables us to do this (John 14:16; 16:13)
- UNREGENERATE DESIRES. The voice sounds like our own, with our own inflections and intonations, and speaks of the same old desires that you used to indulge in (James 1:13-16) Such desires arise from the flesh, and we must consider ourselves dead to those desires (Rom. 6:1-4)