Impersonators make good money entertaining and impressing audiences with their ability to look and/or sound like someone famous. They can make good money cashing in on someone else’s fame and good name.
Satan does the same thing. He pretends to be God speaking to man – but not just for entertainment and amusement. The results are deadly if we listen to the wrong voice. How can we tell if it is God’s voice we are hearing or Satan’s voice?
The first way we can tell the difference between God’s voice and Satan’s voice is that God convicts while Satan condemns. When God speaks to us about sin we feel guilty and sinful but still loved. When it is Satan condemning us we don’t feel loved but rejected and hopeless.
Jesus forgives and restores, as with the woman taken in adultery. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:10-11).
By contrast Satan accuses and focuses on our guilt. That’s why he’s called the ‘accuser of our brothers’ (Revelation 12:10).
God will expose the sin and focus on it, but only for the purpose of us confessing and removing it. He offers hope of restoration. He doesn’t emphasize our guilt, failure and unworthiness in that area and as a person in general, but Satan does.
When Jesus convicts we know specifically what He is talking about and what to do about it. When it comes from Satan we just have a nagging sense of unspecified guilt and failure to discourage and defeat us. Or Satan will point to past sins which have been confessed and forgiven and try to get us to feel miserable about them, ignoring the fact that God has forgotten them.
So God convicts but Satan condemns.
A second way of telling the difference is to remember that God clarifies but Satan confuses. When God speaks to us it is to clearly show us sin in its true, deadly light. The ‘pleasure’ and deception is removed and the awful deadliness is revealed. Satan, however, tries to perplex us with worldly logic and explanations. He feeds us excuses, justifications, thoughts of how it is another’s fault and general confusion over it (James 3:15). When God speaks there is a sense that everything is under control (1 Corinthians 14:32). Satan’s purpose is to ensnare and take captive (2 Timothy 2:24-26).
God’s voice brings peace (Philippians 4:7) but Satan’s voice brings uncertainty for what he tells us conflicts with what the Spirit is also telling us. Thus we feel perplexed.
If the voice you are hearing brings a nagging, gnawing feeling of frustration in your spirit, it’s not from God. God brings a deep calmness in your spirit.
Thus God convicts while Satan condemns. God clarifies while Satan confuses. There’s another way to tell the difference: God confirms while Satan contradicts. When its God’s voice speaking to us we know it lines up with the Bible and advice Godly believers would give us. It passes Paul’s test of making sure everything is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable (Philippians 4:8-9). However when Satan speaks his words don’t agree with the Bible or advice of mature Christians. When we desire it so much we ignore the warnings in our spirit we are headed to sin.
So God convicts while Satan condemns, God clarifies while Satan confuses, and God confirms while Satan contradicts. Ask God to show you if you are believing any of Satan’s lies which bring condemnation, confusion or contradictions.
(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available there for free.)