It takes a ton of practice and review to learn how to identify false conviction. False conviction (which is also known as condemnation) is when demons try to imitate God’s Voice in your mind and convince you that He is saying something to you which He really isn’t saying. Once you accept that God is the source of a lie, that lie becomes extremely powerful in your life. Believing false conviction can drain your life of hope, fill you with fear, and it might even drive you into suicidal despair. Your beliefs control the quality of your life. Demons know this, so they put enormous effort into trying to get you to put your faith in lies. If you want to stop being their helpless victim, you need to realize that you have choices and decide that you are going to start fighting back. With a little education, anyone can learn how to identify false conviction. Once you identify the lies, you can practice rejecting them and countering them with God’s positive truths. To help you in the education area, here are three easy ways to identify false conviction. Whenever you start feeling upset by something, run through these three tests in your mind and see if what you’re stressing over is from God or not.
#1: I know something’s wrong, but I don’t know exactly what it is.
If it’s vague, it’s from demons. When the Holy Spirit has a problem with you, He will make it crystal clear to you. If you can’t clearly state what it is you’re feeling convicted about, you’re just being toyed with by demons.
#2: I’m very clear about what I’ve done wrong, but I don’t know how to fix it.
If it’s vague, it’s from demons. When the Holy Spirit has a problem with you, He will clearly spell out both the problem and the solution. When God just points out problems that He doesn’t want you to try and fix, He always identifies a positive reason for bringing up the negative. For example, maybe God points out how meanly you treated a friend in the past because He wants to start working with you on your insecurity issues. He isn’t interested in you going back and trying to make amends, He’s just helping you see an area you need His help to grow in. In such a case, you’ll have a clear understanding of what positive direction God wants to take you in and you’ll feel motivated to want to mature. But when demons are picking on you, you’ll just feel bad about what a jerk you were in the past with no way of resolving it.
#3: I’m clear on both the problem and the solution, but the solution is impossible for me to do.
The problem is that you never should have gotten divorced. The solution is for you to go back in time and undo what you did. Is this a realistic solution? No, it’s not. When demons provide solutions, their solutions are always impossible for you to do. They either require time traveling skills, or access to God’s supernatural power.
Maybe you have a really foul mouth. The solution is simple: just stop cussing. Well, that sounds simple enough, but whenever the solution involves controlling your flesh, supernatural empowerment is needed. Unless God comes across with that empowerment, you’re going to keep right on cussing, and demons will keep right on blaming you for “not trying.” Yet trying is not the real issue. A man can spend all day trying to push over a brick wall by pressing his hands against it, but that wall isn’t going to budge. In the same way, you can try to stop lusting, cussing, envying and gossiping, but the reality is that you’ll never be able to overcome these things in your own strength, and God has no interest in ripping these sinful desires out of you. As long as you are on this earth, your flesh will crave sin and it will triumph over you in the execution of its desires more often than you’ll care to admit. This is reality, and the sooner we adjust our expectations to match reality, the better off we’ll be. Without God, you can’t do anything good, and God didn’t create you to be a perpetual fountain of good deeds. He created you to bond with Him, and having you struggling through the muck of your own carnality is a vital part of developing that bond.
Vague & Impossible: Two Markers of False Conviction
Whenever you find yourself feeling unclear about the problem or the solution or both, you need to throw the message out as condemnation. Whenever you feel clear about the solution yet the solution feels like some distant star that you have no hope of reaching, you need to throw the message out. It doesn’t matter if it came from your pastor or some Christian site or even the Bible. Demons love attacking you from trusted fronts because then you’re more likely to reject the possibility of their involvement. Yet the reality is that there is nothing in this world that demons can’t use to drag you down. Even your personal devotion time where you try to journal or bond with God in the prayer closet can blow up in your face when they get involved. Just because you’re praying to God with your eyes closed, don’t rule out the possibility that demons will be doing the answering.
Clear, Specific & Doable: Three Markers of God’s Convictions
When the Holy Spirit convicts you, you will be very clear about both the problem and the solution. These things will be specifically identified in your mind—there won’t be any vagueness or confusion. Most importantly, the solution will be something you can actually do. For example:
What you just said to your wife was inappropriate. Apologize.
The way you just spoke to your boss was disrespectful. Apologize.
It really disappointed your son when you missed his game last week. Take him out for pizza tonight and give him your full attention.
You’re behaving rudely by texting while your friend is trying to talk to you. Silence your phone and put it away.
Now let’s compare these clear convictions with some false convictions from demons:
You should have never gotten that abortion.
You’re always nagging your husband. Why can’t you be more like the pastor’s wife? You can bet she never complains.
You’re such a drunk. Where is your self-control?
What you just thought about that woman was so inappropriate. You have such a dirty mind.
That joke you just laughed at insulted your Savior. Do you think it’s cute to make a mockery of Jesus?
If you’d been around when your kids were growing up, they wouldn’t be so messed up today.
Can you hear the difference? When God speaks, you know what’s wrong and you know what to do about it. The solution is well within your reach. When demons impersonate God, you feel like a rotten failure who will never be able to improve.
Present Convictions vs. Past Commands
Understanding Divine Judgment: Illumination, Empowerment & A God Who Delights In Mercy
Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t: Finding Peace in the Midst of Moral Dilemmas
Being Commanded by God