How do you know if it is God?
2 Timothy 1:7
7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (NIV)
We want to follow God but it’s not easy to discern in a moment what has come from God and what has not. Not too long ago, I was in a counseling session with a married couple. One of them began to explain they were having an affair. They fully believed the person they were having an affair with was from God. Contrasted with their spouse, they felt this person was kind, gentle, loving. This person knew Scripture, went to church, and wanted to pray with them each day. They did not have any of this with their spouse. Was this from God?
The Bible says that God is neither tempted nor does He tempt. The Lord has declared adultery a sin not to mention all of the deceit that went into hiding the affair for so long. Would God tempt a person to sin? Absolutely not. I explained to this person, no matter how Godly they may have seemed, God never would have given a sinful relationship to someone because their marriage was unfulfilling. This was not from God.
That scenario is blatant, but the source of many things presented to us in life is not easily distinguished as holy or secular. This passage gives us the guide to discernment in every situation. We have not been given a spirit of fear, but power, love, and self-discipline.
When the issue presented before you creates fear, this doesn’t mean it is not from God. Fear is the natural response to difficult situations. However, if your response is motivated by fear, you will not be operating in the wisdom of God. Rather, our response should be motivated by the power of God, for whom all things are possible.
If your response causes you to act in an unloving way toward someone or yourself, it is not from God. An important thing to remember however is that love is doing what is best for someone but keep in mind that what is best for someone is not always pleasant to them. If you miss this, you will be working to please people more than God.
If your response requires you to operate outside of God’s principles set forth in Scripture such as the situation I mentioned above.
You can also follow these same principles to know when others’ actions are from God. Are they acting in fear or faith? Are they acting in love according to God’s definition? Are they acting against God’s commands? Answer these and then you will know.
The enemy will bring temptation before you. The sinful nature will tempt you from within, but the Spirit will give the wisdom to respond to every temptation in power, love, and self-discipline.
Prayer: Lord, help me to operate in Your Holy Spirit to discern how to respond to this world and how to recognize what is from God. Amen.