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The voice of the Spirit
- Jacob Ninan
The God of the Bible has not changed. He speaks to people, answers prayers, and does miracles for us, as He has been doing from the beginning. Unfortunately some Christians believe that God doesn't speak directly to us in our heart but only through the reading of the Bible. Such people miss out on the comfort, encouragement, guidance and correction that come through fellowship with God through the Holy Spirit. God has sent the Holy Spirit into this world for this very purpose. We only have to see the Book of Acts to know the different ways the Spirit moves in the lives of God's people.
On the other hand, those who look forward to moving with the Spirit need to be careful that they hear clearly. Deceiving spirits can also speak to us, imitating the voice of the Holy Spirit or Jesus. That is one of the tactics of Satan (2Co.11:13,14). If we are open to hearing from the Spirit, and if we have decided that we would trust and obey Him in everything He tells us, these counterfeit spirits can be very dangerous. This is essentially what Satan tried to do with Jesus when he came quoting the scriptures (Mt.4:6). If Jesus wasn't aware that Satan could talk to Him and try to deceive Him, He could have been fooled when the scriptures came into His mind. He could have assumed that it must be the Father who was reminding Him about the scriptures.
How many wrong doctrines have come up through people who started with sincerity and godliness, and who made themselves wholeheartedly willing to do anything for God! It's because they believed that the voice they heard was from the Holy Spirit that they received it immediately and failed to check it out first.
It may also be that when we hear a quotation from the Bible we take it without question as God's word for us. But the Devil can quote words out of context or in part in order to mislead us. When he talked to Jesus, he said, "He will command His angels concerning You"; and "On their hands they will bear You up, So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone" (Mt.4:6). The original word he was quoting to said in fact, "He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone" (Ps.91:11,12). The substance and context of this verse were about God's protection in general, and the mention of foot striking against a stone was to be taken as a figure of speech used in a song rather than to be meant literally.
It was the personal knowledge of the Father and His nature, the knowledge of God's word and the awareness of the dangers of temptation that preserved Jesus from the attacks of Satan. It is the same for us too. In these last days, Satan and his demons have stepped up their efforts to attack us, and more so to deceive us. The nearness of God is our strength and refuge (Ps.73:28). The more we know Him and His word, the better we are prepared to overcome Satan's wiles.