The Voices in My Head: God, Satan, or My Flesh—(Part 1)

Every single day thousands of thoughts flood our minds. Many of those thoughts lead to actions. For example, every morning I think, “A cup of coffee would really help me wake up.” I choose to act on that thought by stumbling to my coffee maker in a sleep-induced haze and brewing a cup. So how can we really know whose voice we are hearing at any given time? Let me give you a real-world scenario, one that plays out in my own thought life nearly every week.

It’s 6:30 Sunday morning; my alarm clock rings out with a favorite song I specifically chose to help wake me up (Like a Lion-Kristian Stanfill). Once again I stayed up too late the night before, and have less sleep than my body probably needed. I think, “I really don’t feel like going to church today. Maybe I should just stay home; I’m so tired.”

A)     God’s voice:

In His omniscience, God knows that my presence at home is required. Through the Holy Spirit, He causes me to consider staying home so I won’t miss out on a “divine appointment”.

B)      Satan’s voice:

Having observed my actions/countenance in the past, Satan knows how my attitude and behaviors are changed after I attend a worship service. Through observation, Satan also notices the physical reaction my body is having as a result of a poor choice I made to stay up late the night before. Taking advantage of my weakness, he places a thought in my head, tempting me to stay away from God’s house and His will, which will probably pave the way for more temptations that, based on past behaviors, Satan has a good idea I will fall victim to.

C)      My Flesh:

I stayed up too late, I’m tired, and because I would rather be comfortable I contemplate on how nice it would feel to sleep in. It has nothing to do with God or Satan; it is just me being my sinful, prideful self. I don’t want to be challenged, I don’t feel like changing my behavior, I just want to SLEEP!

So, which is it; A, B, or C? Let me help you out a little by eliminating A. The Holy Spirit will never, I repeat—never, “lead” us to do something contrary to God’s written word, no matter how spiritual it sounds. Remember, Satan is an angel of light, so he often uses such a ruse to encourage us to think we are spiritual while we are, in fact, sinning. Scripture clearly instructs us to fellowship with other believers, and not to forsake that act as some might be inclined to do (Hebrews 10:25). (Occasionally we are sick, and in some instances, some are stricken with chronic illnesses that keep them from attending church regularly; that is not what I’m talking about here.)

Well, that leaves us with B or C. This is when we need to consider the surrounding circumstances. If I told you that I had been struggling with depression, feelings of regret, or was having difficulty with someone else at church, you may be more apt to lean towards B as your answer. But if I told you that everything was fine, I had no outstanding debts of bitterness, money was raining down from heaven and all my financial problems had been solved, you would likely consider C as your answer. In reality, it could be either. In my case, knowing my life and circumstances, I am about 99.9% certain it is a tempting thought strategically placed by my Enemy.

If I didn’t show up to church one Sunday, most people wouldn’t consider that abnormal because those close to me know that my husband is not a Christ-follower and that he wants to spend time with me on his days off (the weekend); church could be a conflict for us. However, I know that for the most part, my husband couldn’t care less if I go to church or not, as long as I am spending time with him and being flexible with my church-activities schedule (not spending every waking moment at church throughout the week), he really isn’t bothered by it.

But do you see how Satan can use all that he knows (through observation—he is not omniscient) to “scheme” against me (and you)? Suppose I decide to hit the snooze button and sleep instead of going to church (which I have done). My husband wakes up and sees I haven’t gone to church like I said I was going to and asks me about it. Feeling defensive I might whip out a lame excuse, “I wasn’t feeling well,” which is a lie because even though I was tired, I wasn’t legitimately sick or unable to get up. Now my credibility as a Christ-follower is diminished in my husband’s eyes. He notices my lack of commitment and how easily I am swayed from God (after all, he goes to work every day whether he’s tired or not, so God must not be that important). Do you see, friends, how subtle this is? A simple little thought, “I’m tired, maybe I should stay home” could negatively affect my husband’s view of Christianity, and even his salvation!

Stay alert! I will be getting more in depth on these “voices” in the posts to come. Remember that our circumstances play a huge role in determining what voice we may be hearing.

“Lest Satan should get an advantage over us: for we are not ignorant of his devices [noema-schemes].” 2 Corinthians 2:11

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Related posts:

Demonic Schemes

Every Story Has a Villian, Even Yours

Spiritual Warfare 101: Is it Real?

Satan, God, the Flesh, and Spiritual Warfare

Before Your Feet Hit the Floor: An Essential Daily Prayer

I’m Hearing Voices…

“Every negative thought about yourself or another person is not from God. It cannot be from God. It is either from the Enemy, the World, or the Flesh,” Steve told me after I asked him about the negative thoughts that had possessed my mind for two decades.

Such a simple statement and yet the truth is profound, even life-changing for someone like me. I started hearing that “voice” at a young age, maybe 6 or 7. The voice said, “You’re not good enough” and “They don’t care about you.” I also heard voices like, “He’s such a jerk” and “She is always using you, wiping her feet on you like a doormat.” I’d venture to say I am not the only one who has experienced such mental interference. Even in prayer the voice interrupts. “God doesn’t want to hear from you” and “Isn’t it selfish to pray for yourself?” What would my life look like if I believed these lies and behaved accordingly? Well, until recently, my life took on the form of these lies through my behaviors. It required honesty, confession, repentance, and spiritual warfare to break free from those chains of bondage.

Any voice of condemnation, shame, or slander could not come from my Holy Heavenly God. When I look at my husband and think, “He is so mean”, I can acknowledge this voice for what it is: a liar. I can acknowledge where the voice came from: the Accuser. I can renounce the enemy and his lies, and choose the way of truth: “God so loved the world” (Jn. 3:16) and “He first loved us”. (1 Jn. 4:19) All of us were created in His image (Gen. 1:26) and I am to think and act blamelessly towards my fellow creations, regardless of how I’ve been treated.

*Recognize the Enemy’s influence in my thought life:

“How is it that Satan has filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit?” (Acts 5:3)

*Recognize the World’s influence in my thought life:

“We know…that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” (1 Jn. 5:19)

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world.” (Rom. 12:2)

*Recognize the Flesh’s influence in my thoughts.

“For the sinful nature [flesh] desires what is contrary to the Spirit.” (Gal. 5:17)

The next time I hear the negative voices, I can identify where it is coming from and renounce it in the name of Jesus. “We also know that the Son of God has come to give us understanding, so that we may know him who is TRUE.” (1 Jn. 5:20)

I cannot think on what is pure, lovely, good and wholesome (Phil. 4:8) if my mind is filled with lies and slander towards God’s creation, people. I’m determined to make a daily trade in my stocks of beliefs. I’m trading the lies for the truth; what is ugly for purity; what is demoralizing for what restores. If my gaping wounds of lies are left open, they will quickly fester into infection of more lies. The only way the wounds heal is if they are soothed with the balm of truth.

Lies steal; truth heals.

“[I] demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and [I] take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5)

“By faith I choose to be filled with the Spirit so I can be guided into all truth. I choose to walk by the Spirit so that I will not carry out the desires of the flesh. I choose to renew my mind by the living word of God in order that I may prove that the will of God is good, acceptable, and perfect. I put off the old self with its evil practices and I put on the new self. I declare myself to be a new creation in Christ.”Statements of Truth, (The Steps to Freedom in Christ -Neil Anderson)