By Quin Sherrer
In the midst of deep valley, how can we discern whether evil forces are at work in our lives or if we’re being tested by God to build Christian character?
A pastor’s wife once gave me good advice on the topic: “When the enemy attacks, there is great condemnation and seemingly no way out. I distinguish by recognizing the difference between condemnation and conviction. Condemnation brings hopelessness. When the Holy Spirit convicts, there is a way out. I can confess my sin and receive forgiveness and cleansing.”
Another friend told me: “The enemy will try to defeat us in some area, or even remove us from the spiritual race entirely. God’s correction, on the other hand, exposes a heart condition or weakness in some area. God’s correction gets us a better place in the race and keeps us in focus.”
God may test us, but He never tempts us. Satan is the root of all temptation. If it’s a temptation, we can choose to say as Joseph did
when tempted by Potiphar’s wife, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Gen. 39:9, NKJV).
If it’s a test sent by the Lord to teach us something, we can learn and grow from that experience. But if it’s an attack from Satan, we need
How do we discern whether the enemy is opposing us, or God is trying to tell us something? People often talk about “hearing a voice” and
wondering whether it is from God. Actually, there are three possibilities:
1. It could be God speaking through the Holy Spirit. In this case, whatever is spoken will be consistent with God’s character and His
2. It could be a demonic voice representing Satan.
3. It could be your own inner voice “speaking” a thought based on your logical reasoning, your will or your self-centered emotions.
If you have difficulty discerning which it is, you may want to pray: “Lord, I desire to hear Your voice and be led by You. If this is Your
Holy Spirit speaking, please cause this impression I have to become clearer and more urgent. If You want me to take any action, cause the
urge to do this thing to increase. If this impression I have is not of You, please cause it to leave.”
An acquaintance of mine clearly realized the voice she was hearing was not from the Lord. She shares her troubling situation and how she
learned to resist the enemy:
“I was a new bride living in an unfamiliar city. My husband traveled extensively. Satan used my loneliness as a means of instilling fear.
He subjected me to a series of noises.
“For several months, whenever my husband was out of town, I’d be awakened in the night by the sound of my husband’s voice and noises he would make while working in his home office. I could hear the computer clicking, drawers opening and closing. Although I was wide awake, the sounds would continue for some time and in great detail. I was greatly troubled by it.”
After several months of such occurrences, she says, the Lord told her to come directly against the devil’s schemes in the name of Jesus
Christ. As she did this repeatedly, the noises stopped and never recurred. She received a great deal of strength and confidence, and her fear was replaced by well-directed anger at the devil. She learned that persistent prayer renders Satan powerless and his attack cannot continue.
Sometimes Satan tries to deceive us. But our role as Christians is to impede Satan from entering our hearts, minds and bodies. Beware of these major ways through which he tries to gain access:
* immoral behavior, disobedience, anger, pride, rebellion, unforgiveness, criticism, selfishness and so on
* ignorance of Satan’s devices and characteristics
* limited knowledge of God’s Word and His purposes
* not spending time with the Lord
* lack of focus or persistence
* failure to use spiritual weapons
* getting our eyes off Jesus and onto our problems
* fatigue – physical, emotional or spiritual
* disunity in the home and with fellow Christians
When there seems to be no chink in your armor, no disobedience to God, no willful sinning, but still you get hit with an arrow – aimed at
putting you out of existence – remember this: “No weapon formed against you shall prosper” (Is. 54:17).
Cling to that scripture and use it in warfare. Put a guard on your mind by quoting Scriptures to resist Satan’s attacks. Only a renewed
mind can rise up in times of attack and defeat the purposes of the enemy.
We must learn to discern between God’s dealings with us and the devil’s attack against us. If we pass God’s tests, resist temptation and fight Satan’s attacks, we’ll be victorious Christians.
(The above information was published by CHARISMA, May 1993)
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