God’s people hear His voice and follow Him (Jn 10:27), but do we also hear other voices which are not of God? If so, how do we tell the difference?
To be clear, we aren’t necessarily referring to an audible voice, but this might be an inner sense or witness in our spirit that God’s trying to guide us or teach us something. Thinking the enemy can’t try to imitate God like this underestimates him, and implies any kind of impression or leading we receive must be from God.
But God tells us that other spiritual beings, seducing spirits, will also be speaking to us, trying to get us to follow them (1Ti 4:1), and that believers know the difference instinctively. (Jn 10:5b) Yet when we’re desperate to hear a “word from God,” we might override our instincts and fall pray to the enemy’s leading.
So, how do we know?
Simple: if we don’t instinctively know God is speaking with us, then He isn’t, at least not supernaturally, such that we should implicitly obey. If we’re able to wonder if it might not be God, or ask, “Who are you?” then we don’t know it’s God. If the impression is supernatural, clearly external to us … flee (Jn 10:5a); this one’s out to harm us.
When an impression might be God but we aren’t absolutely sure, rather than blindly and passively obeying, or even testing the spirit, we engage our minds and wills. (1Pe 1:13) Does the path before us seem wise? As we examine ourselves, discovering our own will in the matter … does it align with us in all wholesomeness, holiness and righteousness? If so, we should own this way and follow God as well as we can in it, not as being passively lead, but actively in the good fight of faith. (1Ti 6:12) Otherwise, it is not the path for us.
When we need clear direction from God we should ask in faith for wisdom (Ja 1:5) and guidance. (1Sa 23:2) Until God answers unmistakably we should be seeking counsel from others and the Word, and walking it out using all the wisdom we have, trusting He’s working out His will in and through our wills. (Php 2:13)
If we need direct, supernatural revelation, God will speak to us clearly, and there will be no doubt about it. Satan comes as an angel of light to deceive (2Co 11:14), kill and destroy. (Jn 10:10) The voice of God is unmistakable, let’s not settle for a counterfeit.