When we were little and just learning to do things for ourselves, we would try. Sometimes we would struggle and strain to zip our jackets or tie our shoes until we finally had to acknowledge the need for help. As Christians, I think sometimes we forget that we haven’t arrived just yet. We’re all still learning in the Lord and don’t have everything all figured out. Sometimes no matter how much we pray and seek the Lord and try to hear His voice correctly, the devil can cause turmoil in our hearts and minds. That happened to me this week when I had a question about God’s will. But, praise God, He hasn’t left us alone to fend for ourselves. That’s why He insists on fellowship with like-minded believers and has placed people in our lives who can help us with wise counsel.
I Spent the Week Dismayed
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”Isaiah 41:10
“Dismayed” means “consternation and distress.” The Bible says not to be dismayed, but this week, I just couldn’t seem to help it. The devil had come at me pretending to be the Holy Spirit. This spirit had a command to give up something that brings joy to my life. It had all the trappings of legal righteousness, but it was missing the Spirit of love, joy, and peace behind it. I wrestled for days and days. I wanted to do what’s right in God’s eyes so bad, but nothing about it was making sense.
Now, God has asked me to give up other things in the past. Both times when He asked, I balked, but He showed me with love in scriptures the reason behind His request and then gave me peace. This time, there seemed to be no other biblical reason besides the idea of dying to self. But God doesn’t require that we give up everything in our lives that make us happy besides Him. Things can’t come before Him, but this thing comes nowhere near that category in my life. In fact, the main reason for my joy is the happiness I bring to others doing it and the chance for evangelization at the same time.
God Is Not the Author of Confusion
So, of course, I asked God for confirmation. If this was Him, I wanted to obey. I prayed, fasted, and searched the scriptures, but I seemed to get conflicting answers from the Word of God. I went through a You Version Bible study about hearing the voice of God (called “Hearing God”), and everything in it screamed that this was not God’s voice. But the fear of displeasing God gripped me. What if I was just being carnal? What if there was some reason God wanted me to hurt my family and friends in order to please Him that I just couldn’t see at the time?
The week was one big wrestling match. I would listen and hear one thing and then think I heard another. I was so tied up in knots that I didn’t even have a clear thought for my blog this week. God always gives me my thought by Friday or Saturday at the latest, and I have at least a rough draft done by Saturday night. This time, though, I had nothing even heading out to church on Sunday morning.
Trouble With My Zipper
But on the way to church this morning in a downpour, I decided to wear my raincoat. I pulled the zipper up to just so far, but it wouldn’t budge. I pulled, rearranged, searched for the cause, unzipped, and zipped again, but I just couldn’t get it. Then I thought back to my childhood and how if I ever had trouble with my zipper, I would ask my mom for help. Then it hit me. I had gone as far as I could with this issue in my own mind. It was time to ask for help.
Of course the thoughts started immediately against it. “Pastor thinks you have it all together now, but he will think less of you if you tell him about the mess inside your head.” But God is not the God of the dark. He’s the God of the light. If I was going to get this thing figured out, everything needed to be out in the open. I decided to do it.
Pastor Preached on Romans 12:1-2
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”Romans 12:1-2
After hymns and songs, Pastor started his message about dying to self and living for God. As soon as he did, the thoughts came in, “See? Die to self. Don’t allow the things that make the world happy to make you happy. It’s God’s will.” And then I said a prayer. “I will do anything to please you, God. Please, God, give my pastor wisdom and understanding. Make YOUR will be known to me, and I will do whatever you want.” With a message like the one pastor preached, it was clear he was already super-tuned-in to the topic. Whatever he said after he heard my story would certainly nail it down for me.
Wise Counsel When We Need It
After church was over and altar service was done, my pastor and I went to a Sunday school room to talk. His wife, one of my best friends in the world, joined us via FaceTime since she was away visiting their new grand-baby. I poured out my whole story from beginning to end, bringing out every question, every situation, and every “confirmation” Bible verse out into the light. I hid nothing and asked my pastor for his thoughts.
Immediately, he identified my situation as a tactic of the enemy. Pastor reminded me that I was just starting a new volunteer position in a ministry and told me he thought the enemy was attacking because of that. He reconfirmed the idea that the thing that brought me joy did so mainly because of the joy I brought to others and the evangelism opportunities that it afforded me. He also said that if any time God did decide to take this thing away, he knew that I would be willing to give it up but that God would provide the peace for doing it.
Not the First Time
One more thing. This isn’t the first time that the enemy tried to pretend to be the Holy Spirit. He came with another command about giving up something involving my husband that would probably have caused the break-up of our marriage. The gnawing guilt and condemnation did not go away until a sister in Christ showed me a verse in the Bible that finally shut the devil up for good. Again, it was a situation that I couldn’t handle on my own. I needed the voice of wise counsel.
Work Out Our Salvation
Philippians 2:12-13 says that we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which works in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Thoughts may come into our minds, but we must always test the spirits. If they are from God, they will not only line up with the Bible, but God will work in us to do His will. Yes, we have to be willing do whatever He asks, but He will make a way for it. The Holy Spirit is called The Comforter for a reason. God doesn’t always give us answers that we like (or our flesh likes), but He is always there to give us peace and not confusion.
Seek Wise Counsel
When we have questions, of course we must go to God first in prayer for the answers. His sheep hear His voice for a reason; He wants us to talk to Him ourselves. But sometimes there are situations that we can’t handle on our own that require an intervention. That’s when His Church comes into play. Proverbs 19:20 says, “Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days.” Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” It’s okay to ask for help from Christians in authority over us or from other Spirit-filled believers when we need it. That’s one of the many blessings of being a part of the body of Christ.
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