One of the most common questions is how do we know if we are receiving revelation from the Lord, or if it is a deception from the Adversary? I received the following question:
When one hears a voice and is trying to discern between the “familiar” voices and the Lord’s voice, can one ask “whose” voice it is? For example, is it helpful to ask, “Is this Jesus speaking?”, etc. or can the adversary deceive us on that also?
One of the challenges we face in mortality is learning to discern the good from the evil, and the closer we come to God the more He allows these familiar spirits to challenge us. It usually comes in waves and the Adversary will switch gears and try a new tactic if he is not successful. The good news is that the Lord will always help us to see the difference between His voice and the familiar spirit.
But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils.
Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given; for verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts. (D&C 46: 7-9)
The Lord is showing us that He is willing to give us gifts to help us to come to Him and not be deceived. He then lists the Following Gifts of the Spirit (verses 10-25)
- Knowing Jesus is the Christ. (Second Comforter)
- Believing on their words that Jesus is the Christ. (To receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost.)
- To know the differences of administration. (Discernment of how to use priesthood)
- To know the diversities of operations. (Discernment of use of priesthood by others)
- The word of wisdom (How to apply God’s will)
- The word of knowledge (To know God’s will)
- Faith to be healed (To act upon revelation both spiritually and physically)
- Faith to heal (To act upon revelation in behalf of others both body and spirit)
- Working of miracles (performing tasks by faith which confound the wise)
- To prophesy (To speak in the Lord’s name.)
- Discerning of spirits (To identify the Adversary and the spirit realm.)
- Speak with Tongues (To pray and prophesy in the Spirit)
- Interpretation of Tongues (To be given the interpretation of these prophecies.)
The Lord wants us to receive these gifts and even states that we should seek earnestly the best gifts (vs 8) to help us. Ask the Lord how he wants you to acquire these and follow the instructions given, it will increase your faith and bring you closer to Him.
Part of the process of receiving these gifts is learning to hear the voice of the Lord. When receiving personal revelation always check what you receive by asking, “Lord, is this from you?” The only time I don’t need to ask is when I’m in His presence or in the Room (exceedingly high mountain), otherwise I always check. I can usually tell if something isn’t right if it’s a familiar spirit because I feel a confused or uncomfortable feeling (stupor of thought), which leads me to immediately ask the Lord if it is from HIm. Do not be discouraged if this happens, because it is part of the process. The Lord will often allow the Adversary to interject Himself before the real thing. Its part of the opposition we are required to experience to hone our spiritual gifts. If you are always seeking the Lord’s will Satan can not lead you astray – that is the key.
There may be the rare occasion when despite your greatest efforts you still fall for a familiar spirit’s deception. Usually, what happens is the Lord’s spirit begins to work on you to bring you back to the truth. Those who have a broken heart and contrite spirit are always susceptible to powerful spiritual witnesses; you’ll be able to spot the Adversary quickly and correct the mistake.
I can’t think of anything more important than developing the Gifts of the Spirit in order to become a Servant of the Lord. When we decide to remove all our unbelief and are willing to be schooled by angels, the floodgates begin to open.