In the computing world, cookies are data files associated with your browser. Every time you visit websites, click links, and enter information, they are recording your movements. They are keeping track of your preferences and patterns and can even follow you from website to website. Tech savvy people can maneuver around them, but most of us just click the button, accepting cookies as a part of modern life. This week, I had something happen that involved a false prophecy, a counterfeit confirmation, fiery darts of doubt, and an answered prayer. It reminded me that we are in a spiritual battle and showed me that the devil himself has a cookie system with the express purpose of destroying the children of God.
Every time I listen to any message that someone claims is from the Lord, whether on Facebook, YouTube, or any other website, I always pray before I allow it to touch my mind. I pray that God will cover me and protect me from anything that isn’t from Him. If it is from Him, I pray that I will understand what I’m supposed to do to apply the message to my walk. This week, I was scrolling through Facebook and happened on a “word” that someone said she had received a while back, but the Lord just released her to give the message that day. I prayed the prayer as usual and started reading. It wasn’t long before I realized that the spirit behind the words was NOT the Lord.
The message was given by someone who has a small following in certain circles. She posts both her own prophecies and those of other people, sometimes several in a day. The message this time was about well-known pastor and evangelist who passed away in 2011, David Wilkerson. He was the founding pastor at Times Square Church in New York City and established Teen Challenge, a ministry devoted to saving gang members. He wrote several books including The Cross and the Switchblade about his experiences in starting Teen Challenge, and he still has many of his sermons on YouTube today.
This person started her post with a preface that there were a lot of people who wouldn’t like the message because it was a hard one. She encouraged people to pray for truth and then proceeded to give a message that was in first person as if from the Lord. She said, “David Wilkerson spoke my word but he never truly let me be the king of his heart.” She said the Lord told her that Wilkerson spoke empty words, that he knew of God, but he didn’t truly know Him. Instead, he cared more about what people thought of him than what God thought of him. Then the voice contradicted itself as it said, “He had started out strong, but then towards the end, he started to fall away.” (How could he have “started strong” if he never knew Him?)
The voice said Wilkerson lost the love and passion he once had. The seed was planted on rocky ground with no root and a weak foundation. The voice again contradicted itself with the idea that Wilkerson knew God at one point but then became lax. Then the voice said he lived differently than the words he spoke and had not fully surrendered his heart. Finally, the message ended with the words, “So the enemy was the crow that came down and snatched my seed from his heart, and flew away.”
To say my spirit did not bear witness is an understatement. I immediately unfriended this person and prayed prayers of repentance for listening to anything from her in the past. I was thankful that God protected me and gave me discernment. A few minutes later, I started to move on, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I had to speak the truth. So, I searched for the post and commented that I did not believe the message was from God.
The Bible says we will know people by their fruit, and this man had very godly fruit and multiple ministries that still thrive today. Furthermore, God is not a gossip, telling secrets on people and discussing the state of someone’s heart to be revealed in a public setting. I said the devil wished that he got David Wilkerson, and it felt very much like that same spirit of the enemy was on that post.
A Counterfeit “Confirmation”
The next morning, I went to the Bible bookmark on my phone. I was in the book of Matthew. Then I saw it, Matthew 12:32, “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” Immediately, I thought of my rebuke to the woman with the so-called “word” from the Lord. But I was confident that her message was not from God. I wasn’t worried even a little bit, but I did think it was weird. I decided to read one more chapter. Three paragraphs in, there was the parable of the sower.
Now, usually when I read a prophecy that I believe is from God, I will ask for a confirmation. Sometimes, that confirmation comes with a scripture from either my morning or evening Bible reading. (I read sequentially, a little from the Old Testament and a little from the New Testament each night as I feel led, and I read the New Testament at a different spot on my phone in the morning). When a “word” lines up with my Bible reading and the Spirit bears witness, I count it as a confirmation that the word is from God. But this message wasn’t from God. The devil had somehow set up a counterfeit confirmation.
Then came the fiery darts of doubt: “If this ‘confirmation’ wasn’t from God, what makes you think those other ones were? How about those promises you believe God gave you about your life that were also confirmed this way? What if it was just the devil messing with you then too? What if God didn’t really say those things at all?”
A Prayer and a Sermon
Now, some of my best conversations with God happen while I’m driving, especially while I’m driving to church. That day happened to be a Wednesday, so as I was on my way to service, thoughts were flooding my mind. Some were more fiery darts of doubt about the things that I knew God had communicated to me in the past. Some were firm deflections with the shield of faith, words of truth and confidence in the promises of God to lead me if I just stick close to Him.
So I laid it all out there. “God, I know you are omniscient and the devil isn’t, but can he see the future? Did he know I would be reading those passages? Because I’m kind of confused right now, so I just need Your help figuring this out, please.” Now, sometimes we have to wait for God to answer in His time, and sometimes, it is just that quick.
A prayer, two hymns, and an offering later, and I had my answer. It seemed that my pastor had been studying for a couple days for a sermon on forgiveness, but just that morning he had felt led to change his message to be about spiritual warfare. He said that the enemy has his imps taking very careful notes about us, studying us to know our habits, faults, and weaknesses in order to hurt us or to tempt us into hurting ourselves or God. The devil’s mission is to kill, steal, and destroy, and he uses all of the information available against the children of God because we are the apple of His eye. Then he said the line that gave me my title for this blog: “The devil has cookies.”
The Devil Had Taken Good Notes
Could the enemy have seen where I was in scripture? Could he have led the woman to release the message just at the right time to give the false confirmation? Was the whole thing a set up to make me question my own discernment and doubt God’s ability to speak into my life? It seems rather elaborate, but when I started to think about what things might be considered a weak spot in my walk with God, I realized that this was a big one. I question myself a lot, analyzing every detail, agonizing over whether I did the right thing or said or thought the right thing. If he could get me to doubt my ability to determine WHO is leading me in a given moment, he might be able to make me stop having confidence in God as my Shepherd. So much of the Christian walk depends on faith. We have to have faith in God, of course, but we also have to have faith that we are hearing from God correctly. In the Garden of Eden, the serpent asked Eve, “Hath God said…?” and he is still using that line today.
We Must Be More Savvy
The enemy is waiting for opportunities to make us stumble because he knows that we each have our part to play in God’s plan. We have our own spheres of influence with other people, so if he can hurt just one of us, the chain reaction with believers and unbelievers alike could be a big payoff in harm to God’s kingdom. But, the Bible tells us that we are not ignorant of the enemy’s devices. In 1 Peter 5:8, the Bible says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
As children of God, it’s up to us to recognize our own faults and weaknesses and be very wary when something comes at us from one of those angles. As long as we are in this world, we will be in a spiritual battle. There are no “privacy settings,” so the devil will always have his servants watching for ways to discourage us or even take us out of commission.
Our job is to read the Bible daily, stay in close in contact with God, and keep our focus on Him despite any road blocks the devil tries to bring. In John 16:33, Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” We may take some hits in the spiritual battle, but Jesus Christ has already won the war.
More About This Topic
Enjoy articles about warfare? Check out Spiritual Warfare: A Defeated Foe. In it, God uses a housefly to teach me about the way I should view the enemy. Or, try 4 Ways to Avoid Spiritual Deception. In that one, I learn important lessons from a time when I was deceived.
Want to hear hymns about the spiritual battle we are in? Check out my YouTube channel playlist called Hymns With Hannah where the sixteen-year-old song leader at my church sings such songs as Keep on the Firing Line , Victory in Jesus, and more.