Hearing God is hard sometimes – in part because of competing voices. Here’s how to tell the difference between Satan, your false self, and God.
Satan tells you lies. Often, they have a half-truth baked in which can make them especially tantalizing. Satan tempts you, accuses you, bully’s you, rejects you. He tries to get you to distrust and disobey God. He wants to distract you, delay you, “reward” you with destructive patterns. He plays on your fears, your insecurities, your ignorance of God’s word.
2. Your False Self
Your false self tells you to pursue what your old, sinful nature desires. It’s the former you trying to resurrect and reassert itself. It wants you to be self-centered and engage in things like lust, greed, lying, idolatry, stealing, power grabs, gossip, anger and hostility, putting others down, gluttony, addictions, cheating, etc.
God lovingly tells you the truth. He speaks things that are for your good and his glory. He is not harsh, condemning, a killjoy, an opponent, an accuser, or an enemy. He wants you to become more like him and live an abundant life, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). If you listen to the things God tells you it will always result in loving yourself, loving him, and loving others. God wants your life to be full of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
When you’re not sure who’s talking, look back at these three descriptions. Which one does it sound like?
If you want to get better at hearing God, spend more time in his presence. Get to know him as a person. Sit at his feet. Talk to him like a friend. Read his Word. Let it transform how you think.
The closer you get to God, the easier it will be to recognize his voice. God wants to talk to you, guide you, and transform you. Let him. And watch out for the voices that will lead you astray.