“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:7-8
“And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” 2 Cor. 11:14
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:27
The voice was emphatically clear. I should shut down my ministry and cease and desist. Immediately. Until further notice. Until I no longer struggled with a particular sin. No matter that I repented when I fell into it and desperately wanted to be free from it altogether and please God in this and all things. Until I was perfect. I should stop writing. Stop sharing the Gospel. Stop ministering to people one on one. Just stop. NOW!
It wasn’t an audible voice. It was just a quiet voice speaking to my heart. Firm but sweet. Well, as “sweet” as Satan can be, that is. He prowls around you know like a roaring lion looking for people to devour and dresses up as an angel of light and does anything he can to deceive and destroy his prey. That “sweet” voice wasn’t the Lord as it had purported to be. That voice belonged to the enemy. To Satan. To the devil!
Sometimes it’s almost impossible to tell it’s his voice speaking to our hearts. That’s why I was so extraordinarily blessed that day I had everything in place I needed for victory. And why I didn’t shut down my ministry but chose to persevere. What did I have in place, and what should you have in place also?
* A rock solid personal relationship with God through faith in Christ
* Filled with and led by His Spirit day by day
* Continually studying God’s Word and living by it
* Keeping myself pure which means plenty of repentance along the way as needed
* Continually seeking, hearing, and obeying God
* Being solidly planted in and connected to Christ’s Body both with strong women Christ followers and with men and women in ministry
By God’s grace alone, I knew to call a brother in the Lord who had been a pastor at a church I once attended. We talked, he listened, he encouraged, he prayed, and he helped me to see I had been hearing the voice of Satan trying to destroy my ministry and get me to stop helping to build God’s Kingdom.
A pastor told me long ago a wise wolf goes after the sheep farthest away from the pack – those standing at a distance away from the pack. We need to keep ourselves in right and strong relationship with God in Christ our Great Shepherd, stay steadily in God’s Word and filled with His Spirit, and keep in close friendship and fellowship with strong Christ followers who can help us grow in our relationship with God and help us in our battles to secure victory in Christ.
That day, I could have packed my bags and grabbed my dogs and left New York City and shut down the ministry with which the Lord has entrusted me. Instead, I repented from some sin, received God’s forgiveness, received the love and help of a brother in the Lord, spent time resting and studying God’s Word, and carried on.
Satan speaking to you? Not sure if it’s Satan or the Lord? Or your own flesh speaking? Best way to tell whose voice it is? God’s sheep know His voice. Make sure your relationship with Christ is rock solid, be filled with God’s Spirit, study diligently God’s Word and continually seek His presence, listen and obey, and reach out to fellow Christ followers for love, prayer, and support as you discern the voice of the Lord.
And turn away from the voice of Satan who speaks dangerous, destructive, and deadly despicable lies to you!