But test all things carefully [so you can recognize what is good]. Hold firm to that which is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)
Hearing from God clearly and avoiding the possibility of deception comes only from spending regular time with Him and learning His Word. Listening for God’s voice without having knowledge of His Word is a mistake. Knowing God’s written Word protects us from deception.
Trying to hear from God without knowing His Word is irresponsible and even dangerous. People who want to be led by the Spirit but are too lazy to spend time in the Word and in prayer set themselves up for deception because evil spirits are eager to whisper to listening ears. The devil tried to say things to Jesus and He always replied, “It is written,” and then quoted Scripture to refute the lies of the enemy (see Luke 4).
Some people seek God only when they are in trouble and need help. But if they are not used to hearing from God, they will find recognizing His voice difficult when they really need Him.
We need to compare any idea, prompting, or thought that comes to us with God’s Word. If we don’t know the Word, we won’t have anything against which to measure theories and arguments that rise up in our thoughts. The enemy can present wild ideas that make sense to us. The fact that thoughts are logical doesn’t mean they are from God. We may like what we hear, but the fact that something appeals to us doesn’t mean it is from God. We may hear something that feels good to our emotions, but if it fails to give us peace it is not from God. God’s advice to us is to always follow peace and let it be an umpire in our lives (see Colossians 3:15).
Test everything you hear against the Word of God, because that is the only standard of truth that exists.
Prayer Starter: Father, help me to hear from You more clearly. Help me to always test everything I believe against the perfect standard of Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.