KJO5 asked an important question. She (I think “she”) had read in the Bible Dictionary about Satan, and how he can deceive us, even transforming into an angel of light. It also said Satan could quote scripture and use many means to deceive us. She said she was 100% committed to obedience, but was concerned she might mistake a deception for a prompting, or a true doctrine for a lie.
I am mostly interested in comments from the family of the Un-Blog. I know you have a great collective wisdom. How can someone tell for sure that they are listing to the Holy Spirit, and not a deception of some sort?
What say you?
While you’re pondering your response, I would like to add a couple thoughts.
First, we will be judged “according to the thoughts and intents of our heart”. If we are trying to obey, then we will be judged as obedient. If we do get deceived on something, we’ll learn and the Holy Spirit will teach us the difference. These things will not pull us down into a permanent deception. A permanent deception only happens when we allow it, when we prefer the lie to the truth. Permanent deceptions are common among mortals who do not receive the Holy Spirit. They are rare among those who do.
Second, Satan does not have as much power as the description in the BD seemed to indicate. Even when he tries to appear as an angel of light, there is no glory. His light like from a light bulb, but feels like spiritual darkness. There is the chill of present evil, not the peace and love of God. Most of us can tell the difference between a plastic cup and a crystal goblet of the same shape. There is a discernible difference, and we should not worry. If it ever happened to someone who was familiar with the Holy Spirit, they would instantly understand it as a deception. One of you recently referred to Moses, and his discerning of Satan who appeared and proclaimed he was also god. Moses saw that there was no glory, and commanded him to depart.
Third, there is a very sweet feeling that fills our bodies with the presence of the Holy Spirit, and a very unhappy and dark feeling when it is absent.
When you have the spirit. You feel:
- Loving, happy, at peace, even when things are not going exactly as you hoped
- Generous and giving
- Understanding and patient
- Difficult to offend
- Not competitive with other people’s success and possessions
- Like praying and going to church
- You enjoy wholesome things and inspired entertainment
- Your love of the Savior is warm in your heart, and you want to obey Him.
- The whisperings of the Holy Spirit are precious to you
When you don’t have the Holy Spirit with you, you feel:
- Unlovable, unloving, unhappy, irritable and possibly depressed or frustrated, even when nothing is especially wrong.
- Possessive and selfish
- Very little patience with other people and children
- Easy to offend
- Jealous of other people’s success and possessions
- Like you don’t want to pray and go to church
- Energized by loud, violent, sexy worldly entertainment, music and movies
- The Savior doesn’t seem important
- A prompting seems like a nuisance, and an inconvenience.
© October 2011, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.