You and I have a multitude of thoughts running through our minds every day.
Some of those thoughts are good thoughts, some of them are great thoughts, some of them are bad thoughts, and there are a lot of neutral thoughts. What makes these thoughts so powerful is that they affect how you and I live our lives.
Naturally, it begs the question: How do you know if the thoughts that run through your mind are from God, the devil, or you?
Most of what goes on in your head is just you. Don’t become one of those people who says, “I was at the store, and I was going to buy corn tortillas, and the Lord said, ‘No. Flour tortillas.’”
Jesus just doesn’t make people spooky like that. When I make my grocery list, there is no revelation, no prophecy, no words of knowledge. It’s just Bayless writing “avocados” because I like avocados—you and I don’t need divine intervention to make a grocery list.
If I have a day off and want to go fishing, I don’t pray about it. I just go fishing. If I am needed at home for some reason, I’ll just stay home. I don’t need to pray about that either.
My point is that for most of the day-to-day stuff of life, your thoughts are going to guide you and you don’t need divine intervention or revelation.
Yet we are spiritual beings living in these physical bodies, and the hearts and minds of every man and every woman have been created to yearn for and seek inspiration. As we look at the apostle Peter, we can see that inspiration and influence can come from God, or they can come from the devil.
Do you remember the time Jesus asked the disciples who they thought He was, and Peter answered by saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16)? Jesus responded by saying the Father had revealed that to Peter.
Then right after that, we find Peter rebuking Jesus for saying He would suffer and die at the hands of the Jewish leaders. Jesus’ response? “Get behind Me, Satan!” (Matt. 16:23).
We know we can be influenced by God or by the devil. How can we distinguish between the two?
The place to start is to know when God is talking to you. When Peter had his revelation from the Father about Jesus, that thought did two things: it elevated Jesus, and it built the church. When God is talking to you, you can be sure of those two attributes.
You know God is speaking to you if Jesus Christ is central. Jesus makes this clear in John 15:26 when He says,
“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.”
When God speaks to you through the Holy Spirit, He will point you to Jesus.
The apostle Paul also affirms this truth in 1 Corinthians 12:3 when he says, “No one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.” The Spirit of God makes Jesus Lord.
If any thought comes that chips away at the deity of Christ or takes you away from Jesus or makes Jesus no longer central in your life, that is not God talking to you. Because everything God does lifts up His Son, Jesus.