Tuesday, October 13, 2015

7 Ways to Test an Impression

      Rick Warren, Pastor of Saddleback Church, has an excellent teaching on Hearing the Voice of God. He says learning to hear and discern God’s voice is one of the most important skills a believer can acquire. It will help us make decisions. It will keep us from sin. It will teach us to follow where He is leading.  In that sermon, Warren gives us seven ways we can test an impression.

If we didn’t hear a distinct voice, or we don’t have a specific Bible verse where we know God is speaking, but we have an impression or a thought, how can we test that impression to know if it is from the Lord? We need to filter it through these seven questions. Warren says our impression must pass all seven tests to be considered from God. If the impression passes most of them, but not all, consider strongly that it is not God’s voice speaking to you.

1.    Does it contradict the Bible? Does it agree with the Bible? God’s will or His voice will never contradict what He has already spoken to us in His Word.
2.    Does it make me more like Jesus? God is more concerned about our character than He is about our comfort. What is Jesus character like? The fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-controlled. 2 Cor. 10:15 says test every thought. Would Jesus feel this way, think this way, or do this? Would it hurt anyone else? Wisdom from God is considerate, submissive and humble.
3.    Does my church family or small group agree? What do they think about your idea? We need to be humble and teachable and allow mature believers who have walked with God longer than us to speak into our lives.
4.    Is it consistent with how God shaped me? (S.H.A.P.E. is an acronym for spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality, and experiences) I am 5’3” and just a few years past 21  31 :) If I got an impression that I should try out for the WNBA, that would not be from God.
5.    What is that to you? We need to mind our own business – like in a race, we need to stay in our lane. We are not to be the Holy Spirit to someone else. If we feel God has given us a message for someone else, we need to wait and pray. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to that person directly. He doesn’t need us to do that for Him. God usually uses other people to confirm what He is already speaking to someone. Most of the time He will use our words without us being conscience of it, like when we hear from the Lord through what our Pastor says on Sunday.
6.    Is it convicting rather than condemning? I wrote about that in more detail here.
-Conviction comes from God to correct us and to grow our character.
-Condemnation comes from Satan to criticize and attack our value. It says “You are worthless.”
7.    Do I sense God’s peace about it? If we feel pressure or confusion, it is some other voice. 1 Corinthians 14:33 says God is not the author of confusion.

Philippians 4:6-7 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Have you ever had a thought or impression and wondered if it was from God? How did you determine if it was your own voice, the enemy's voice, your mother’s voice in your head or the Lord’s voice? Please share in the comments below.

**To listen to Rick Warren’s sermon on this topic, you can go to saddleback.com.

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(This is Day 13 of 31 Days of Hearing God, part of the writing challenge at write31days.com.   If you would like to read more on this topic, click here. )




15 comments:

  1. Excellent steps for discerning God's voice. Very difficult to "teach" ... I think it's like a muscle we have to work out ... it takes experience to know it. But once you do ... wow!

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    1. I agree it takes time and practice.Thanks for stopping by Dianne!

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  2. This is the best way I've ever seen it explained! Thanks Robyn

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    1. Thanks Jackie! I'm glad it is helpful.

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  3. INVALUABLE checklist. Thank you for sharing it!

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  4. These are excellent steps to filter what we hear and think we receive from God. I'll have to check out his book. Thanks!

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    1. This teaching was from one of his sermons. You can find it at www.saddleback.com.

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  5. Great steps and good explanations (although I am rather sad that I too shall never go into the WNBA). ;)

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    1. LOL! God did not shape everyone to be a basketball player. I'm sure you have other great skills Carol!

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  6. Our pastor spoke two weeks about conviction vs condemnation, and it was such a blessing to hear it as you have written here. And freeing too, because condemnation isn't where God wants us to live!

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  7. I am thankful for the checklist. I have just been asked to do praise and worship and impression I had was for reflection on the proceedings. I led people to prayer without singing that they were expecting. I used a verse in our hymn book as a point of reflecting and we prayed. I have an impression that I believe was from God but let down organisers who wanted rather charismatic approach. I believe that God impresion do not have to satisfy even myself as I believe God is taking over at that moment. I am l learning myself. One of the lesson I learnt is that when God takes control you sit down having strong peace but head say,"oh my God where did that comes from as this is what I have planned. Thanks for reading my reflections.

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