I am thrilled to say, I have just finished the manuscript for my latest book. At this point, I have no question as to why God led me to write about deception in the last days. There are voices of deception all around us, and we must pray for discernment continually. The Holy Spirit is our friend, teacher and advocate. He is willing to lead, guide and direct us if we keep our feet firmly planted on the straight, and narrow path and keep our hearts tuned to the Word of God—the Holy Bible.
We must certainly be on guard against laziness and complacency and make sure we are studying the Bible for ourselves, and receiving instruction from wise and godly counsel. Unfortunately, in this day and age, many people have become complacent and rely solely on others to hear from God for them. This is how false prophets enter into our lives and cause confusion. At other times we might want a quick answer and become unwilling to wait for God to reveal the right answer to us. So, we go looking for a quick answer from whoever is willing to speak an answer to us.
For example, when God first called me into ministry He did it in a dramatic way. The first time, He revealed my calling through a visiting evangelist at my church. In that case I didn’t believe the man at all. I even told the evangelist that he was wrong!
However, even though I didn’t accept his words at the time, those words stuck. I couldn’t stop thinking about them. And, when I did think about them it was as if I had a flutter of butterflies in my tummy. But, I still resisted the word because I didn’t think God could use me in that way. My doubts were strong concerning myself and my inabilities.
Then a couple of years later God confirmed that same calling through a women’s minister who was speaking at a local women’s conference. She told me almost the exact same thing the evangelist told me. This time I accepted her word from God open heartedly. It was a confirmation to what had already been planted in my Spirit. I didn’t hesitate to believe it even for a second. I knew it was God!
But, since God had now spoken to me through two completely different ministers, I wanted Him to keep speaking to me through other ministers. I started attending every women’s conference I could find in the hopes that someone would give me a Word from God. But, it didn’t happen. Not. one. single. time.
I began to pray and beg God to speak to me through someone else. That’s when He stopped me in my tracks and said, “You do not need Me to speak to you through someone else. You can hear Me for yourself!” That’s when it dawned on me! I wasn’t listening to His still small voice before when He was trying to gently whisper to me about my calling. So, He had to use other voices to get my attention and confirm those things to me.
Now, that I had started drawing closer and closer to Him, I could hear His voice through His Holy Word in the Bible, and I could discern that small still voice of the Holy Spirit for myself. I didn’t need to chase others around asking them to tell me what God had to say to me. If we become caught up in thinking we can only hear from God through someone else’s lips, we can easily fall prey to false prophets.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that God does not still speak through prophecy, and He has done so many times in my life when I needed a confirmation about something. But, we must not seek to hear from God ONLY through the mouths of others. And we must use discernment in every case.
I have had people who have spoken things into my life that I knew were not of God. And for that reason I am extremely particular (or careful) of who I allow to speak into my life. In fact I had one self-proclaimed prophet who started calling me every week saying, “Woman of God, God told me to tell you….”
Some of the things he said were so bogus and off in left field that I had to block him. I also tested the words he spoke over me. Did any of them come to pass? No. Did any of them resonate with my Spirit? No. In fact most of his words were in direct opposition to what God was actually speaking to me. Use discernment. Pray for discernment.
1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 explains this.
“Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.”
Not only should we use discernment in what others speak over us, but we must also use discernment in our own understanding of what God is speaking to us personally. Sometimes our personal desires can become crisscrossed with what we think God is saying to us.
I have had desires in my own life that I have prayed for—like a faithful Christian husband—and when I fell in love, I BELIEVED God told me he was the one I had been praying for. It was not because God actually told me that, but because I desired that relationship for myself. I never had peace about it, because deep down I knew I was NOT truly hearing the voice of God, but I was hearing the voice of my own desires. It was no wonder that marriage ended in divorce.
Sometimes our own personal desires, wants, and wishes can become so powerful that we want to believe God is speaking those things to us. That is why we must make sure those things align with the Word of God. Is there anything that conflicts with His Holy Bible? Are we sure we are not assuming that everything we want is a word or confirmation from God? Does it bring peace? We have to be careful. The enemy also uses his influences to bring confusion to our minds, so we must make sure we recognize the voice of God.
For this reason, I’m also very cautious of people who continually say, “God told me,” at the start of every single sentence. Yes, God talks to us, but if we believe He is telling us every single move we, and others, should make we may be taking it to extremes.
Let us always be discerning, protecting ourselves from deception, distractions, and anything that would try to supersede the true Word of God in our lives. These are troubled times we are living in. We must have a sound and secure foundation, and we must be busy doing the things God has called us to do, not being distracted by words that would lead to confusion, or take us off the path God has called us to.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1 ESV)
Donna Sparks is an International Speaker and Evangelist. She is the Author of Beauty From Ashes: My Story of Grace, and, No Limits: Embracing the Miraculous.