AUDIO VERSION: YouTube Podbean
You’re singing a worship song to God and suddenly you experience a surge of physical energy and emotional joy. You pray to God when you’re afraid and a sudden wave of peace comes over you. You hear God speaking to you through something you hear or read and suddenly you feel an electric tingle run up your spine. We call these things “warm fuzzies.” But what really causes these things and how do you know whether they are from God or not? To answer this question, we must venture into the complex world of soul-earthsuit mechanics.
Your soul is the real you. Your earthsuit is merely the physical vehicle that your soul is using to navigate through this physical dimension that you currently live in. You only need your earthsuit while you’re in this dimension. When you die and go on to a totally different non-physical dimension (Heaven), you’ll no longer need your earthsuit, which is why you’ll leave it behind here on earth.
Now your earthsuit is like an android–it’s a machine that can think on its own. Your earthsuit has its own will and its own intelligence. For example, your body is constantly repairing itself without your soul being aware of what’s going on. Your immune system doesn’t send you a memo saying, “We’re under attack! Should we dispatch the antibodies?” Whenever internal crises arise, your earthsuit uses its own intelligence to assess and resolve the problem.
Your earthsuit is a truly miraculous machine which God built just for you. It’s so complex that you can’t begin to fully comprehend it. Consider how little you understand about the process of digestion alone. You eat a plate of spaghetti and somehow your earthsuit transforms those sauce covered noodles into cellular energy and nutrients which it distributes throughout your entire system. How does it do this? You have no idea. You shovel forkfuls of food into your mouth, chomp them up, and then send small shipments down to your stomach via the elevator that you call your throat. Once you swallow, your conscious role in the digestion process is over. Your earthsuit handles the rest and you go on with your day not paying any mind to the incredible processes at work within you. This is just one example of your earthsuit’s own intelligence at work without any help from your soul.
Now your earthsuit also has a will of its own. Your earthsuit’s independent will becomes very evident when you find yourself being simultaneously tempted and repulsed by some sin. When you are living in alignment with God, your soul desires to please Him. Because your soul desires to please God, it is repulsed by the thought of doing things that God says He hates. So when the temptation to sin comes along, your soul pulls back and says, “I want nothing to do with that.” But your earthsuit doesn’t care about God. Your earthsuit only cares about pleasing itself. When a temptation comes along that seems advantageous to your earthsuit in some way–like doing drugs or sleeping around or spreading nasty gossip or stealing money–your earthsuit will be all for it. Your earthsuit will say, “What a great idea! This is going to benefit me! I want it!” In these cases, you will feel torn–part of you wants to sin, part of you doesn’t. What you’re experiencing is two independent wills warring within you: the will of your soul versus the will of your earthsuit.
Now though your earthsuit and your soul are two separate entities, they are strongly affected by each other. When your earthsuit is stressed, your soul becomes stressed. Imagine if you were sitting in your car and some scary looking thugs started beating on the outside of your car with metal bats. It’s your car that is being physically damaged, but inside the car, you’re going to be panicking with fear. Why? Because you figure anything that can damage your car has the potential to damage you. In the same way, your soul feels very dependent on your earthsuit in this world, and it views threats to your earthsuit as very alarming things. So if some creepy doctor gets out a saw and says he’s going to cut your leg off, both your soul and your earthsuit will go into an all-out panic. Your earthsuit is going to panic because it is being personally assaulted, while your soul is going to panic because it feels so dependent on your earthsuit.
Your soul starts out believing that it can’t be happy unless your earthsuit is happy, therefore it becomes extremely invested in protecting the welfare of your suit. This is why you often find protecting your earthsuit to be far more desirable than pleasing God—we start off feeling far more dependent on our earthsuits than we do on God, therefore keeping our earthsuits happy becomes an important priority to us.
Now the topic of soul-earthsuit mechanics is very vast, and there are many layers of complexity involved. Yet the reality is that these mechanics play an enormous role in your spiritual life, which is why some basic understanding is needed if you’re going to get good at spiritual discernment.
Spiritual discernment is about accurately understanding the source of a message or experience so that we can then respond in a way that honors God. For example, if some supernatural being who looks like the stereotypical Jesus character that we see in movies appears in your bedroom, before you fall down and start worshiping, you want to discern whether the being is really God or not. The Church has made a carnal game out of spiritual discernment, and today we find many Christians boasting of their “gift of discernment” while they stand around telling us the names of various demons and mapping Satan’s strongholds on earth. All of this is foolishness. We don’t pursue discernment in order to impress others or build ourselves up into smart little sorcerers who can manipulate the supernatural realms. We pursue discernment because we want to honor God in life, and we must start by acknowledging that humans are very foolish, ignorant creatures who are extremely easy to deceive. We need the Holy Spirit to teach us how to discern God from demons or we’ll end up worshiping demons, believing in lies, rejecting truth, and irritating God. By ourselves we are absolute numskulls: this is a principle you must wholeheartedly embrace if you’re going to get anywhere with real discernment. Apart from God, our “gut instincts” are going to lead us down the wrong road every time because we are all born with backwards wiring: wanting what is bad for us and relying on our senses to tell us what is happening in our souls.
Okay, so we understand we are total idiots on our own. Our earthsuits come pre-programmed with a ton of wisdom for things like digesting food, fighting off bacteria, and healing wounds. But when it comes to wisdom in spiritual matters, we’re complete fools. Here is where we need to recognize that God is our only source of spiritual wisdom, and we need to be seeking His guidance in these matters instead of listening to arrogant morons in the Church who go around calling themselves “spiritual warriors.”
Now then, you are your soul, and as long as you’re alive on this planet, your soul is driving about in a physical machine which we call your earthsuit. Your earthsuit has three main components: body, brain, and emotions. Your soul and your earthsuit are two separate entities, yet they are very affected by each other. A man is not the car he drives, but while he’s in the car, the car is very affected by how the man manipulates the car’s controls and the man is very affected by what happens to the car.
Now that we understand the difference between your soul and your earthsuit, which part is the part that you relate to God with? Your soul. You are your soul, not your earthsuit. Jesus died to save your soul and only your soul. Jesus didn’t die to save the machine that your soul drives around in—the machine is expendable. The machine wasn’t built to last, it was built with a limited shelf life. It starts off with limited capabilities when you are born. Then it slowly develops to its full potential, stays that way for a bit, and then slowly starts falling apart. This is the natural order of things, which God can of course interrupt at any time by killing you off earlier than you expected.
Now it’s very important to realize that your relationship with God is purely a soul thing. You talk to God with your soul, not with your physical brain. Those prayers that you form in your brain and then speak out loud are really delayed broadcasts of what your soul has already said to God. (For more about soul-mind mechanics, see Voices in Your Mind.) When you don’t understand that you are a spiritual being who relates to God on a spiritual level, all kinds of confusion happens.
Now things are already confusing because you are far more aware of your earthsuit than you are of your soul. Because of this, you constantly try to use your earthsuit to assess how your soul is doing with God. For example, when you feel depressed, you are quick to assume that there is some spiritual disconnect between your soul and God. Using earthsuit emotions to assess spiritual well-being is a trap that we all fall into countless times, and it takes a lot of education and coaching from the Holy Spirit to unlearn this habit. Your earthsuit is like a man who is always shouting at you while your soul is like a man who is always whispering. The shouting drowns out the whispering, and at first it seems impossible to ever tune into the whispering as long as the shouter won’t give it a rest. It’s very challenging to learn how to tune into the voice of your soul amid the constant feedback from your earthsuit. Yet while it is challenging, it is far from impossible, and you can learn to get very good at this.
So now let’s talk about the origin of warm fuzzies. What we call warm fuzzies are earthsuit experiences: the rush of adrenaline, the neural tingling, the excited emotions. Once you understand that you relate to God with your soul and not your earthsuit, you can understand that the warm fuzzies by themselves do not mean anything. They are not the actual communication from God, but rather they are a reaction to something else.
Your earthsuit is a very fragile machine and it is constantly reacting to stimuli. Your soul’s communication with God is only one thing that your earthsuit reacts to. It also reacts to changes to its internal and external environments. For example, let’s put you in a meat freezer and close the door. You might have been in a good mood when you entered the freezer, but the sudden drop in temperature around you is going to quickly make you feel anxious and fearful. In this scenario, your earthsuit will swiftly react to drastic changes in its external environment. The very cold temperatures in the air around you threaten to cause your body’s internal temperature to drop below acceptable levels. Your physical body sends an alarm to your brain, which triggers a stress reaction that creates conscious thoughts to form such as, “It’s too cold in here! I’ve got to get out!”
Now let’s look at another scenario. A virus enters your body and begins attacking your immune system. What happens to your good mood now? It plummets as you start feeling sick. What we call “feeling sick” is really a combination of many stress reactions that your earthsuit has in response to changes in its internal environment: heightened fever, chills, fatigue, nausea, etc.. The point is that once again we see your earthsuit having a dramatic reaction to something that has nothing to do with your soul’s personal communication with God.
Now let’s look at a third scenario. Demons are creatures who are totally separate from you, yet they have the ability to affect you in very personal ways. Demons can do all sorts of things to your earthsuit, depending on how much permission God is giving them in a given moment. Demons understand how your earthsuit works far better than you do, and they are very good at manipulating it to cause certain types of reactions in you. For example, demons can directly manipulate your nervous system so that you will experience the sensation of a chill running up your spine. When your earthsuit feels this sudden chill, it will try to determine cause. The cause is demons manipulating you, but this isn’t a possibility that your earthsuit automatically goes to. Instead, it looks for more logical causes, and demons try to guide your earthsuit’s reasoning process by planting a thought in your mind like, “There’s an intruder in your house.” Because you associate the cold chill with fear, you automatically look for a reason to be afraid, and when demons suggest one, you’re quick to believe them. This sort of game happens all the time—demons manipulate our earthsuits and then lead us down some path of lies which we readily believe because we don’t understand what’s really going on.
Now so far we’ve been talking about negative examples. But demons trick us with positive experiences as well. Demons can trigger what you think of as “warm fuzzies” simply by manipulating your earthsuit correctly. Further complicating things is the fact that your earthsuit can also create these feelings in itself as a response to positive changes in your environment. Sliding down into a wonderfully warm hot tub, sinking down into a soft bed, tasting a delicious food when you’re acutely hungry—these are all experiences which can trigger a wave of joy in us as our earthsuits respond to positive changes in the environment. So when the worship team at church begins the next song set and you feel a rush of excitement, how do you know if your earthsuit is responding to an exchange that is happening between your soul and God, or if it’s just feeling stimulated by the rousing music? Here is where a focus on the soul is needed, and here is where many Christians refuse to focus on their souls and give sober thought to their personal relationships with God.
In general, Christians find it very fun to just get carried away with the beat of worship music and give God a lot of empty lip service. Instead of really thinking about the words on the screen and pondering if those words really apply to us and God or not, we just sing whatever and enjoy the experience of being one with the crowd around us. Such a mentality is not at all pleasing to God, for He finds it extremely repulsive when we sing words about Him and to Him that we don’t really mean. Just as you wouldn’t enjoy watching your adulterous spouse entertaining a crowd with their rendition of some love song which was filled with declarations of their undying love for you, God doesn’t appreciate it when we start making a bunch of declarations about our relationships with Him that we don’t really mean. “Lord, You are everything to Me”—if you don’t really mean it, you have no business singing it. “Lord I trust You, Lord I love You, Lord I want You.” Christians are very good at singing words to God with their physical lips that their souls completely disagree with and He hates it when we treat Him this way. Why are Christian musicians constantly pumping out worship songs with lyrics that grossly insult our God? Because we’re all about triggering those warm fuzzies in our earthsuits and we’re too lazy to really worship God with our souls (see Worship Songs from Satan: Lord Reign in Me). By now we Christians have learned that our earthsuits respond to external stimuli, and that rousing music is an easy way to trigger positive reactions in our suits. Instead of engaging in sincere soul worship on Sunday mornings, we’re just playing games of earthsuit stimulation. We hype ourselves up with audio and visual stimuli, then we tell ourselves those intensely positive emotional and physical reactions we experience are evidence that God is talking to us. It’s a disgusting display of carnality and it makes God want to, well, you can imagine. God makes His feelings about hypocritical worship very clear in the Old Testament.
“I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to Me. Even though you bring Me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.” (Amos 5:21-23)
“These people come near to Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. Their worship of Me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.” (Isa. 29:13)
It is because it is so easy to manufacture warm fuzzies through external stimuli or by downing a strong caffeine drink or shooting up with the right kind of drugs that we lead ourselves astray when we start labeling all warm fuzzies as evidence that God is talking to us. Often these rushes have nothing to do with a valid communication from God, and if we are willing to do some honest analysis, we can usually figure this out. You know in your heart whether you sincerely care about pleasing God or not. You know when you’re sincerely seeking Him and when you’re just playing games.
Now all that said, it is quite real to experience a surge of earthsuit joy in response to a real communication from God. The Holy Spirit is a very positive Guy, and if we sincerely care about pleasing Him, He will speak many words of encouragement to our souls as we go through life. Often our earthsuits will emotionally react to God speaking some good news to our soul, just as we get emotionally excited when a friend shares good news over the phone. Such warm fuzzy reactions to words from God are very fun to experience and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying these moments. Being dedicated to God doesn’t mean you have to go around with a grim expression on your face and act like any stimulation of your adrenal gland is a satanic event. God designed our earthsuits and He enjoys using them to bless us. Earthsuit stimulation can be a fun side effect of God talking to us. We just don’t want to start relying on our earthsuits to gauge our spiritual communication with God. There are countless times when the Holy Spirit will speak some positive word to your soul and your earthsuit won’t react at all. Other times, it will react very negatively to God’s positive words (see Leaving the Worm Mentality). The key is to realize that your earthsuit is utterly fickle and can’t be counted on for reliable readings on spiritual matters. To accurately discern whether a message was from God or not, we need to rely on truths He has taught us, not on our current emotional state. “God loves me” is just as true when we’re sailing high on joy as it is when we’re down in the depths of despair. When we’re joyful, this truth will feel more real than when we’re depressed, but it won’t be more real. This is a very important principle to get a hold of: feelings do not determine reality.
So then, you say something to God and He responds to you and you feel some rush of warm fuzzies. Or maybe you’re just going along in life and a positive thought pops into your head about your relationship with God and you feel a surge of joy. Are these things from God or not? Well, what was the message? Does the message align with truths that God has already taught you?
When we talk about God teaching you truths, we aren’t talking about the Bible. God is not a book, and this popular rule that you shouldn’t believe anything until you can back it up with chapter and verse is idolatrous rot. When we talk this way, we are making a created thing our highest authority in life instead of God Himself. This will only spark God’s jealousy, not make Him smile.
So then, what do you think God was communicating to you in the midst of the warm fuzzies? When God wants us to understand a message, He makes it clear, so a bunch of vague confusion is not Him talking. When God speaks, He draws us closer to Himself and inspires us in our walks with Him. Contrary to what we’re often taught, God is far more encouraging and vocal about His love for us than we expect. Often the reason we never “hear” God saying He loves us is because we are internally deflecting His words whenever He says them to our soul. “It sounds way too good to be true” is a common stumbling block for Christians who are on the right path with God. God is so incredibly easy to succeed with that we have trouble really accepting it. Yet God insists that He is very pleased when our souls are sincerely yearning to please Him (see Does God love us all the same?). When we are walking in alignment with God, He will often cheer us on with positive encouragement. When we’re yearning for more of God, we need to remember that He is the One stirring up those desires within us. God initiates in every area of our relationship with Him, so when you find yourself trying to grip on to difficult truths—such as how much God loves you personally—God will often encourage you in these matters.
Humans are responsive creatures. It’s natural for you to think it was your idea to sit down and ponder God’s goodness and love. But in reality, it was the Holy Spirit who prompted you to contemplate these things, and when you respond by following His leading, it’s quite common to sense Him affirming you in some way. Many of God’s truths have a very powerful, freeing effect on our souls. A brief moment of clarity about the depths of God’s love for you can trigger a very strong emotional high in your earthsuit. Plus soul joy is a very real thing—not every “emotion” we experience originates from our earthsuits. There is soul joy, soul peace, soul angst, soul yearning—these things are separate from the emotions of our flesh. We can feel at peace in our souls while our flesh is in a panic. We can feel joy in our souls while our flesh is depressed. The human experience is highly complex because God has put our souls into these intelligent earthsuits. There’s nothing simple about sorting out all of the complicated factors, but the more we understand core truths about who God is, what His priorities are, how He views us, and how He operates, the easier it becomes to tell whether a message is from Him or not. Some things are basic. When a Christian says, “I think I felt God saying that He loves me,” it’s a no brainer. God loves all of His kids, and He is constantly communicating that love to us. But when a Christian says, “I think I heard God saying He is pleased with me,” then more questions need to be asked before we can determine if the message actually came from God or if it came from demons who are trying to encourage that soul to remain in a rebellious state.
Learning to discern the many forms of God’s Voice is a process, but it’s one that the Holy Spirit enjoys walking us through. So if you’re feeling stirred up to learn more about this topic, recognize His leading in your life and ask Him to help you learn everything that He wants to teach you. Any progress you make in this area will greatly increase your confidence in your own standing with God. It has always been God’s desire that we each learn to rely on Him alone to guide us in life, and He will teach you how to get there in His time.
Spiritual Discernment & Warfare: An Introduction (Advance Series 4.1)
Learning to Recognize God’s Voice
Mind Wars: Defending Against Demonic Voices in Your Head