The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Spiritual Discernment & Warfare: Brain vs. Soul (3 of 3)

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In our last lesson, we learned that there’s nothing simple about communicating with other people in this world. By the time there are earthsuits and demons in the mix, your soul is getting bombarded with false information. If it tries to make decisions based on that information, what will be the result? Fear, depression, stress, doubt, and a certainty that God doesn’t want you anymore. Now let’s be clear: we are NOT saying that all depression and stress comes from spiritual blundering. This is a common misconception in the Church which has resulted in some very harmful teachings. Just because a Christian is depressed, it doesn’t mean he is making wrong soul choices. An important thing to understand is that you are walking around with two sets of emotions: your soul’s and your earthsuit’s. Spiritual joy is not the same thing as earthsuit joy. Earthsuit depression is not the same thing as spiritual depression. We must also remember that when we examine another person, we are only able to see their earthsuit, and this makes it impossible to correctly diagnose the condition of their soul. The Holy Spirit is the One we must depend on to give us accurate information about someone else’s spiritual status, and as soon as you start trying to ask God to tell you what’s happening in the secret world of someone else’s soul, His most common answer is going to be, “It’s none of your business.” As we learned in our last lesson, God has intentionally built isolating factors into this world so that you will learn to see Him as the only One who can truly help you in life. God is the only One who fully understands you, and He is the only One who has the power to hold demons back and force your earthsuit to align with your soul’s agenda. Without God, you have no hope at all. But with Him, you can find joy, hope, and peace without having to become anything more than your frail, powerless self. The key to grasping a hold of that truth is learning what to focus on in life.

THE RIGHT FOCUS

We learned in our last lesson that you and God are always together in a protected spiritual dimension which demons cannot access. Everything else—your earthsuit, demons, and other people—are outside of that dimension.

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Where do you want your focus to be in life? On your soul and God. When we talk about listening for God’s leading in life, we’re talking about tuning in to the conversation that is happening between Him and your soul. How frequently is God talking to you? He’s talking to you all the time. Ah, but this can’t be true because by now you’ve figured out that God talks to some people way more than others. There are Christians who are always getting “words” from God, and there are Christians who get nothing but silence because God obviously loves them less and so He doesn’t consider them worth talking to, right? WRONG. Poor discernment skills and a clinging to wrong beliefs are what is creating this illusion that God is always talking to some of His kids while He ignores others. And as is always the case when we dig deep into the subject of discernment, there’s a lot more going on than we think.

THE WAY PEOPLE THINK IT WORKS

Satan doesn’t want you to understand the true mechanics of communication between your soul, your earthsuit, God, and demons, because then you will become a lot more difficult for him to manipulate. To steer you in the wrong direction, he has come up with some very clever deceptions which you will find communicated through some very familiar images.

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Here is a common depiction of a man’s conscience at work. Notice how impersonal the term “conscience” is. Your conscience is often viewed like your neural net—it’s part of the fabric of your physical body, not a separate being with a mind of its own. Satan wants to steer you away from the idea that there are other spiritual beings trying to manipulate you in life. Notice how in the above picture, the angel and demon figures look exactly like the man. This is on purpose, for the belief here is that the man is the only being involved in this situation. The angel and demon figures merely represent opposing opinions that the man has within himself. This picture teaches you that you are the only one you struggle with during moral dilemmas. There’s the “good you” and the “bad you,” but these are just expressions we made up to describe your conflicting emotions. According to this belief system, you are the person you see in the mirror, nothing more.

Now let’s look at a less popular variation of this theory:

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Notice how here the angel and demon creatures look very different from each other and the man. The message communicated here is that there are three beings at work: the man, a demon, and an angel. Here nonhuman creatures are being depicted as trying to talk a human into doing what they say. This second picture is bringing us closer to the truth, but there’s still a major piece of the puzzle missing.

YOUR DECISION CENTER

A moral dilemma comes your way. You decide what to do. But where in your complex being did that decision actually take place? Where exactly is your moral processing center? Satan wants you to think it is in your mind. He wants you to think that you are your earthsuit. Look at the two pictures we posted above: are you looking at a soul or an earthsuit? An earthsuit. When we draw pictures about moral dilemmas, we depict an earthsuit—not a soul—as the thing that is deciding what to do. When we draw pictures about the human thought process, we once again depict your earthsuit as the real you.

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Here is a classic depiction of your decision making process: your earthsuit is presented with a dilemma, it thinks about it, and it comes up with a solution. Well, yes, this does happen, because your earthsuit does have a will of its own. But this is just your suit, this isn’t you. You are not your suit, you are the soul inside your suit. In eternity, you will be judged by the decisions YOU made, not by the decisions your suit made. It is your soul’s decisions that are of utmost importance, yet the world completely discounts the notion of your soul. It presents you as your earthsuit, nothing more. And since your physical brain is the control center of your earthsuit, you are taught to believe that your brain is also the control center of your relationship with God. You are taught to believe that all thoughts originate from your brain, and that prayers are thoughts which you pray with your brain. Well, no, this is all wrong. Let’s dig deeper into how the brain works.

HOW YOUR BRAIN WORKS

Your physical brain is like a complex data processing center. It is constantly being bombarded with information from three main sources: the other components of your earthsuit, demons, and your soul. It is from this incoming data that your brain forms thoughts—verbal statements that you hear in your head which make sense to you. Let’s see how this works.

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Now most of the information your brain collects never results in verbal thoughts. For the most part, your brain just handles the problem. You’re sitting at your desk and your hand reaches out to pick up your glass of water without you ever hearing the thought, “I need some water,” clearly stated in your mind. You enter a room and slip out of your jacket without ever thinking, “I am hot.” You are hot, and that is the reason your brain commanded your earthsuit to remove the extra layer of clothing, but your brain is like a highly complex autopilot program that does most of its work without involving you at all. Yet your brain doesn’t work alone. God is involved in every step of the process. He is the One making sure information reaches your brain and that your brain handles that information the way He wants it to. So your brain and earthsuit are in very good hands, but for the most part, you are left out of that loop. You are off in your little soul world with God, and you are oblivious to most of what your brain is doing. It’s only when your brain feels it needs your cooperation, or it is in a conflict with you, or it is trying to communicate with other people, that verbal thoughts are formed.

BRAIN VS. SOUL

Your soul does not speak English or any other verbal language. Your soul speaks its own spiritual language. Your soul doesn’t have a physical body with vocal cords, a tongue, and some lips. The language that your soul speaks can’t be spoken using the same physical speech parts that your earthsuit uses to communicate with other earthsuits. This means that if your soul wants to say something to another earthsuit, it needs your brain to play the role of translator. Here is where things get sticky, because whenever you translate a message from one language to another, it’s easy to lose something in the translation process. We’ve learned this principle on earth as we try to translate poems and love songs from Chinese to Spanish or from Russian to English. In the original language, there might be beautiful rhyme and rhythm. But by the time we’re done with our conversion, we’ve got a rather choppy set of phrases that doesn’t sound nearly as nice.

This problem is compounded when we try to go from a nonverbal spiritual language to a verbal earthly language. A lot gets lost in translation, and this is why you find yourself feeling deep love welling up in your heart for someone while your tongue remains at a loss for words. We simply can’t find the words to accurately express so much of what we want to say to each other. And even when we are satisfied with the message that leaves our lips, by the time that message is mangled by demons and another person’s earthsuit, the message that actually reaches their soul might be quite different than what we were trying to say. We learned about these problems in our last lesson—there’s nothing easy about communicating with each other.

But what about God? We struggle to find the right words to say to Him, as well. Does this mean that He doesn’t really understand how we feel about Him? Not at all. Here is where we come to a very critical point: you pray with your soul, not your brain. Let’s see how the process of prayer works.

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What you think of as prayer—thoughts that you say to God in your mind—are really partial translations of what your soul has already said to God. Your brain is always repeating something that your soul has already said. Your brain will also attempt to translate some of God’s answers to your soul. Because God also speaks in a nonverbal language to your soul, your brain finds translating His words to be quite challenging. Let’s learn more about how this works—read:

Practicing Discernment: Conviction vs. Condemnation

Demons REALLY want you to think that you pray with your brain. They want you to think that your brain is the only spiritual communication center you have in your entire being. Why is this so important to them? Because your brain is something they can mess with, whereas your soul is off limits.

WAYS THAT DEMONS DECEIVE YOUR BRAIN  

As we said earlier, your brain is like a data processing center. It collects information, interprets that information, and then chooses logical actions based on those interpretations. Demons can get involved in any one of these three stages to lead your mind astray. Let’s see how this works.

Collecting Information.

Since your brain is housed inside of your earthsuit, it has no direct contact with the outside world. All of the information it receives is delivered to it by the other components of your suit—your eyes, your ears, your nervous system, your feelings, etc. What your brain doesn’t count on is supernatural beings messing with your suit. If your eyes tell your brain that a doctor is coming towards your earthsuit with a syringe, your brain expects to feel a painful prick and it alerts your earthsuit to prepare itself. But if your earthsuit is relaxing in bed and a demon suddenly inflicts a sharp pain in your arm, your brain is very alarmed. The data it is receiving from your neural system has no rational explanation. The same thing happens when you see a ghost or hear the sound of footsteps in your house when you know that you’re alone. Demons can manufacture all kinds of disturbing data for your earthsuit to report to your brain—data that has no logical explanations. When your brain doesn’t understand what’s happening, it doesn’t know how to protect your earthsuit, so it sets off an emergency alarm and suddenly your soul is bombarded with warnings that your earthsuit is in serious trouble.

Since your soul depends on your earthsuit to function in this world, it panics when your earthsuit panics and suddenly you feel bombarded with fear. Notice how demons managed to get your soul stressed out just by feeding your brain some confusing data. Your soul is always the one demons are really after.

So how should you respond to this kind of attack? Your heart is racing in fear, your muscles are trembling, and your brain is screaming that something terrible is about to happen to your earthsuit at any second. Now if it was up to your soul to protect your earthsuit, and if your earthsuit was your soul’s only protection in life, you’d have good cause to panic. But here is where you need to remember how things really are. This is how demons want you to view their attacks:

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But in reality, you are not their helpless victim, nor is it up to you to fend them off by your own strength. You are with God, and He is protecting both you and your earthsuit. This is how things are from the perspective of demons:

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Focus is the key to soul peace in these moments. Whenever demons start messing with your earthsuit, your brain quickly goes into panic mode, but your soul can choose to cling to God and focus on the truths that He is reminding you of:

I’m right here with you.
I’m infinitely stronger than anything that can come against you.
I’m not going to let anything happen to you that isn’t for your best.

Now as your soul reviews these things with the Holy Spirit, it will start to feel better. In these stressful moments, your soul or God or both will help your earthsuit calm down by communicating positive messages which your brain will then translate into verbal thoughts. This is why, in the middle of a frightening moment, you hear yourself thinking things like:

God is with me. I’m going to be alright. God will protect me. Everything is going to be alright.

Interpreting Information & Acting on Interpretations

Let’s look at another way that demons mess with your mind. Sometimes your brain receives data that has a very rational explanation behind it, but demons jump into the interpretation stage and bombard your brain with false conclusions. For example, you hear a car backfire in the street outside. Before your brain has a chance to analyze this sound, demons whisper, “That was a gunshot!” If you just read in the morning news that someone was shot very close to your house and it really disturbed you, this is going to be a very useful deception. Now all demons have to do is flood your mind with images of some shady looking characters sneaking into your backyard, and you’re not going to be getting any sleep at all.

Ever get that pain in your arm only to suddenly start worrying that you’re having a heart attack? Ever notice some new mole on your skin and think, “It’s melanoma!”? Such fear loaded interpretations come from demons. Demons are going to tell you as many lies as you are willing to believe. Are you afraid of catching the bad flu that your coworker has? Every time you feel a slight tickle in your throat, demons will be there to say, “You’re coming down with it!”

Demons love fear. They want to keep your soul in a constant state of anxiety and stress, and they do this by agitating your earthsuit so that your brain will be constantly sending panic messages to your soul. Since your soul doesn’t begin to understand all the intricacies of your earthsuit, it’s very easy for it to buy the lie that some horrible tumor is developing in your stomach just because you aren’t digesting your lunch well. Once your brain accepts this as a possibility, your soul believes it because your soul thinks your brain is good at interpreting reality. But no, your brain really isn’t that great at interpreting things, because it is so easily fooled by demons. A child might be very intelligent on his own, but if he believes any lie he’s told, how much will his intelligence help him? Your brain is an incredible machine, but the fact that it is so gullible causes it to make many foolish decisions. This is where your soul needs to assert itself and stop relying on your earthsuit to tell it what’s really happening in the world. God is the One you need to look to for guidance in life, and God is Someone your soul has access to 24/7.

THE POWER OF LABELS

One of the most common frustrations Christians vocalize when they start learning more about discernment is, “If I’m so unaware of my soul, how can I control what it is doing?” Well, suppose your friend is driving a car and you’re sitting in the front passenger seat. Your friend says to you, “How do I know that I’m really the one driving this car?” What would you say? To you, it’s obvious. You might say, “Of course you’re driving—look at yourself. You’re driving right now—I’m watching you do it.” But your friend says, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t see myself driving. I’m completely unaware of what I’m doing right now.” Are you going to believe her? Not really. Despite the fact that she claims to be completely oblivious to her own reality, you can see her making intelligent choices—stepping on the brake when stop signs come up, and accelerating when lights turn green. Your friend’s mind might honestly feel out of touch with her body, but clearly something’s working, and obviously her lack of awareness isn’t affecting her ability to drive.

It’s the same with you. Your soul is interacting with God every day—hearing what He says and choosing to either obey or defy Him. Not only is your soul carrying on private conversations with God, it is also reacting to information from your earthsuit and demons. You are actually quite conscious of your soul’s activity—you just don’t realize it because you’re used to lumping all of your thoughts and feelings together and saying they all come from the same source: your earthsuit. When you’ve spent your whole life thinking of yourself as the person you see in the mirror, you don’t grasp the separation of body and soul overnight. When you’re used to only focusing on verbal thoughts in your mind, it takes you a while to recognize the nonverbal language of your soul.

Suppose you are new to the world of colors. I want to teach you what the color blue looks like so I show you this picture:

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Then I say, “This is what the color blue looks like.” Since you don’t know anything about colors, you believe me, and you go through life thinking that blue looks like this picture until one day someone comes along and says, “Hey, that picture isn’t all blue. There are two other colors as well: red and white.” This second person then points out specific squares and teaches you how to correctly identify all the colors. This is what we’re doing in this series: we’re helping you understand what’s really happening in a picture that you’ve been staring at your whole life. The picture isn’t changing—only your labels are changing. When you think, “I don’t even know where my soul is,” it’s like you’re looking at the picture above and saying, “I’ve never seen the color red before.” You are not out of touch with your soul—on the contrary, you are your soul, and you’re very aware of what you are doing. You’re just not used to calling what you’re doing by their correct names.

This same issue arises when Christians say, “God never talks to me.” God does talk to them, and they hear Him and answer Him all the time, but because they aren’t using correct labels, it is very easy for Satan to convince them that God is totally ignoring them. Labels are very powerful things. If you have a headache, and a doctor labels your pain as an evidence of an inoperable brain tumor, that one simple label will have a devastating effect on your whole life. You might not really have a brain tumor at all, but once you accept the label, you will be just as depressed, fearful, and upset as if the tumor was real.

Why do demons put so much energy into hiding the truth from you and getting you to call truth lies and lies truth? Because they understand the power of labels. When God brings a trial into your life, demons want you to interpret it as evidence that He hates you. The truth is that God brought the trial into your life because He loves you and wants a deeper bond with you. If you believed the truth, you would react to the trial very differently than if you believe lies. Experiencing soul peace and satisfaction in life depends on using correct labels.

Why do we say that focusing on God is the key to spiritual victory? Because God is going to teach you correct labels. God is the One who will teach you how to correctly interpret what’s going on in your mind and discern between His Voice, the voices of demons, and the voice of your own soul. We’re all walking around with some pretty damaging beliefs, but we aren’t open to changing them because we think what we believe is correct. Consider how much torment Satan can inflict on a sincere Christian just by convincing him that God might suddenly decide to take back his salvation. Look at how many well-meaning Catholic priests end up in messes of molestation because they believe that God wants them to stay celibate. When we digest wrong beliefs about God, the effects are devastating. We end up cowering in fear, injuring ourselves, and groveling like worms in front of a God who loves us dearly and wants us to feel safe and accepted by Him.

STUDYING REACTIONS

So how do you start the relabeling process? You start by paying more attention to how you are reacting to your own life. Practicing discernment is like slowing down a movie and paying more attention to what is happening in each scene. A thought enters your mind and suddenly you find yourself doubting God’s love for you. Your reaction cues you that the thought originated from demons. Another thought enters your mind and suddenly you feel reassured that God really does care about you. Your reaction tells you that the thought came from God. At the thought of God being displeased with you, you feel all anxious inside. Your reaction tells that your soul is aligned with God. Your reactions become a valuable education once you learn how to interpret them.

It’s easier than it sounds to tell the difference between you, God, and demons. It starts with a correct understanding of motivation, because motivation determines actions. Let’s now examine motivation and action for the three groups we want to identify: God, demons, and the real you (your soul).

GOD’S MOTIVATIONS

God wants you to grow and thrive in your relationship with Him. Everything He does and says to you will be with that end in mind. Because God cares so much about you and Him being on the same page, He is exceptionally clear whenever you’re doing something that He considers to be a problem. The Holy Spirit’s convictions can be identified by these characteristics:

CLEAR & SPECIFIC IDENTIFICATION OF THE PROBLEM. The Holy Spirit will clearly identify the specific problem to you. He will not be vague, He will not drop unclear hints, and He will not use a form of communication that you don’t understand. When God has a problem with something you are doing, you will immediately know what it is.

DOABLE SOLUTION. Whenever God points out a problem to you, He will also tell you what He wants you to do about it and His solution will be something that is humanly possible. God will not tell you to do things which He knows you cannot do, such as “be more like Christ” or “just stop sinning” or “stop thinking sinful thoughts.” God understands earthsuit mechanics. He knows that your earthsuit has a will that often opposes yours, He knows that your earthsuit has the power to override you unless He intervenes, and He understands how demons manipulate your earthsuit and how easily your brain is to deceive. So God will not demand perfection from you, nor will He tell you to control things which you cannot control. You can’t make demons stop planting gross thoughts in your head. You can’t make your body not feel aroused when it’s confronted with pornography. Your soul’s abilities are extremely limited and God knows this, which is why His instructions to you will always fall within the realm of what you actually have the ability to do. If He tells you to do something that you normally can’t do, it is because He plans to empower you to do it. When God convicts you, He simply wants you to agree with Him and obey His doable instructions. Let’s look at some examples:

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GOD’S ILLUMINATION

Now not everything God says to you is about correcting some behavior. Most of what He says to you is instructional, like a teacher who spends the class hour explaining new concepts to his students. When God is instructing you, He might identify negative behaviors to you but He will not tell you to change anything because He’s fine with the way things are. A classic example of this is when God points out that something you did in the past was wrong. Maybe you had an abortion five years ago. At the time, you honestly didn’t know that it was wrong, and God never convicted you. Now, five years later, He is deepening your understanding of truth and He shows you that it was wrong to kill your child. He’s not telling you this so you can feel like a worm, but so that you can grow closer to Him by getting a better understanding of His standards. What’s done is done and God knows you can’t go back in time and change history. He just wants you to agree with His truth and keep moving forward. He does this with obedient teachers and preachers all the time. They might have taught some particular doctrine for years, only to have God finally show them that their understanding was wrong. He isn’t criticizing them, for He doesn’t expect them to understand things that He never taught them. He is simply deepening their understanding of truth. But of course demons aren’t going to let opportunities like this pass them by. This is when they leap into the picture to dump on the shame and try to make you stop talking to God.

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When God speaks to your soul, your soul feels inspired, uplifted, encouraged, and hopeful. If He is addressing a problem between you and Him, He always shows you how you can be IMMEDIATELY reconciled with Him. God always draws you closer to Him, because He wants you to thrive in your relationship with Him. When God puts you through trials, it is to strengthen you trust and confidence in Him. The strengthening process can be quite brutal at times, but God’s motivations are always POSITIVE and He is always focused on doing what is for your soul’s long-term best.

THE EFFECT OF DEMONS

Demons are always going for the opposite of whatever God wants. Since He wants to draw you closer to Him, demons do anything they can to cause a sense of division and strife between the two of you. They can’t change the way that God views you, so they have to focus their efforts on getting you to reject anything He offers you: His love, His truth, His forgiveness, His mercy, His compassion, etc. Serious Christians fall into these traps all the time. When’s the last time you inwardly scoffed at the idea of God really thinking you were special? When’s the last time you refused to believe He has totally forgiven the sins that you are most ashamed of? When we accept the rot that demons say on a soul level, we feel discouraged, beat down, embarrassed, and distant from God. We feel unwanted, unloved, and rejected by Him. We feel insecure in our relationships with Him. We doubt the goodness of His Character and even His control over His own Creation. Believing demons leads to all kinds of trouble, and the sooner we learn how to recognize the little jerks, the sooner we can put our rejection skills to work.

BATTLING CREDIBILITY

Just as a little child automatically believes anything he’s told by his parents, so also you believe demons whenever they sidle up to you and whisper their lies in a confident tone of voice. Demons have enormous credibility in your mind—this isn’t something you chose, it’s just the way it is. Even after you meet God, become saved, and choose to live a life of alignment with Him, you continue to view demons as extremely wise, truthful beings. Even when you know that they are evil little rats who hate your guts, and even when you know that they are always trying to deceive and trick you, STILL your automatic response to demons is to agree and believe. It’s important to realize that you’re wired this way, because then you can approach the battle with realistic expectations. You aren’t going to learn how to deflect everything that demons say to you in an instant. Even the strongest Christians find themselves instantly going into fret and stress mode as soon as a demon says something to them. It’s automatic. Your flesh always agrees with demons and it takes a lot of time and practice for your soul to learn how to break out of this unhealthy pattern.

GRIM PREDICTIONS

Take a moment to pull up a quick mental list of your top worries in life right now. What is on your stress list? Are you worried about your job? Your health? Your finances? A relationship? Your walk with God? Whatever your worry subjects are, think about the kinds of thoughts that are cycling around your head whenever these subjects come up. You’re going to find that grim future predictions are a huge factor in fueling your fears. Demons are like fortune tellers that you don’t want to talk to, yet they follow you around everywhere you go and they won’t shut up. Demons are constantly forecasting bad news for your future by planting thoughts in your head like:

  • What if I get cancer?
  • What if I lose my job?
  • My condition is going to keep getting worse.
  • I’ll never be able to pay my bills this month.
  • My friend will never forgive me.
  • I’m going to be single forever.
  • This miserable trial is never going to end.
  • I’m always going to be in pain.
  • When I get to Heaven, I’m going to want to be with God more than He’ll want to be with me.

Does any of this sound familiar? In each of these statements, demons are declaring things about your future in their famously confident tone and you are accepting their words as gospel truth, which is why you end up with knots in your stomach and no sense of peace. How do you combat rot like this? By turning your soul’s focus onto truth. Demons don’t know bumpkus about the future, and demons do not have the power to shape your life for you. When demons come at you with grim predictions, they are just telling you what they wish they could do. But the fact that they’re having to talk about it tells you that they can’t get permission to actually do it. Demons would much rather act than talk, but the reality is that the Holy Spirit vetoes 99% of all the brilliant schemes they come up with concerning you. This is why demons are such a mouthy lot—talking is the best they can do in most cases. Psyching you out is their best attack strategy, so they plant thoughts in your mind, mess with your earthsuit, and count on the fact that you’ll think they have far more power and choices than they actually do. And while we’re on the subject of demons psyching you out, let’s take a moment to learn about some of the more aggressive strategies they use as well as ways that you can make it hard for them to keep your full attention. Read:

Mind Wars: Defending Against Demonic Voices in Your Head

RECOGNIZING YOUR SOUL

One of the most helpful aha moments Christians can have in the area of discernment is realizing that most of the thoughts they hear in their minds don’t originate from them. God designed humans to be very responsive creatures. We do not lead, we follow. Even if you’re what the world calls “a natural born leader”, when it comes to your spiritual life, you’re a follower. All souls are followers who are constantly reacting to promptings from God and demons. You didn’t get the idea to come to Jesus all on your own. First the Holy Spirit educated you about your need for salvation, and then you responded to Him by submitting to Christ. Everything you do in your relationship with God is a response to something He did. God always initiates. Demons do a lot of initiating as well—planting thoughts into your mind and stressing your flesh in order to trigger a negative response from you. If everyone just left you alone in life, you wouldn’t know what to do. You need things to react to in order to move forward in life, because on your own you have no wisdom whatsoever. Happily for you, God never leaves you alone. He’s constantly nudging you this way and that, and you’re constantly responding to those nudges. Spiritual maturity is the natural result of you saying yes to God far more often than you say no. Spiritual stagnation is what happens when you say no to God more often than you say yes. So then, obedient Christians say yes, and rebels say no. Obedient Christians are those who are living in alignment (or agreement) with the Holy Spirit. It is very easy to predict how obedient and rebellious souls will respond to God and demons. Once you understand both of these patterns, you can start recognizing the voice of your own soul and distinguishing it from other voices. Here’s a simple breakdown of how obedient and rebellious souls respond to God and demons:

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So according to these general patterns, which camp do you fall into? Notice that all of the reactions we describe here are soul reactions. Your earthsuit enjoys sinning, and your earthsuit doesn’t care about pleasing God. Your earthsuit is all about your earthsuit, so you aren’t going to find it feeling all upset over sinning. Your earthsuit just wants to cruise around this planet with minimal discomfort and feel as good as it can in every moment. Rebellious souls align with their earthsuit’s simple agenda, and this is why we find them getting into all kinds of wicked schemes in order to get ahead of the pack. More money, more fame, more sensual rushes—whatever makes their suits smile is what rebellious souls chase after. And since they hate God, they enjoy siding with His enemies against Him. Bring on the mockery of His Character, the worship of evil, and the intentional manipulation of God’s people.

A REVIEW FOR OBEDIENT SOULS

Now that we’ve discussed our three groups, let’s summarize what we have. The following applies if you fall into the camp of obedient souls:

When God speaks you will feel inspired, informed, encouraged and strengthened in your walk with Him. Messages from God draw you closer to Him, they increase your confidence in His love for you, and they motivate you to continue down the road of obedience. They paint your future in a positive, hopeful light.

When demons speak you will feel guilty, depressed, anxious, fearful, ashamed, and embarrassed. You will feel like a flawed spiritual flop. Messages from demons try to create a sense of friction and distance between you and God. They often paint your future in a very negative light.

When your soul speaks it will agree with God and reflect His priorities. It will react with strong repulsion to sin and it will be very excited about God being pleased. It will want what God wants. It will feel intensely bothered whenever it thinks God’s will is not happening.

A REVIEW FOR REBELLIOUS SOULS

Now let’s go through this list again, this time assuming that your soul is currently being a stubborn little rebel.

When God speaks you will see your current rebellion in a very negative light and you will feel something pushing you towards repentance. You will experience God’s Voice to be very unsettling and agitating, so you will do your best to try and tune it out. God will keep harping on the area you are defying Him in, and He will keep pressing you with clear instructions. He may also start to threaten you with specific forms of discipline if you continue to defy Him.

When demons speak you will feel justified and encouraged to continue doing the things God says are wrong. You will experience the messages of demons to be very pleasing and calming to your agitated soul. You will cling to the excuses they give you and try to focus on them instead of on what God is saying.

When your soul speaks it will agree with demons and reflect their priorities. You will downplay the seriousness of sin, you will mock God’s Authority, and you feel a strong dislike towards anyone who reminds you of Him.

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