Identifying False Convictions
This is a principle every Christian needs to be crystal clear on: when it comes to conviction, God doesn’t play guessing games. If He has a problem with you, He will spell it out. He will also tell you exactly what to do about it. The Holy Spirit doesn’t make vague threats, nor is He in the business of subtle hinting. So if you’ve got rocks in your gut feeling like something’s wrong between you and God but you don’t know exactly what you can do to fix it here and now, then you need to realize that your “gut instinct” is being fabricated by Hell.
Here’s a quick review of your popularity with the spiritual realm: God loves you, Satan hates you. God wants you to succeed and thrive in your relationship with Him, which is why He will bend over backwards to assist you in every way possible. Satan wants you fail miserably and feel lousy. If he can’t get you to fail in reality, then he’ll do anything he can to make you THINK you’re failing because he knows your internal peace level will be massively affected by what you believe.
Realize that your emotions are like a playground for demons. Unless the Holy Spirit blocks them, it is extremely easy for Satan and his nasty friends to tweak your mood. At some point, the Holy Spirit will start letting them attack you this way because He wants to train you out of the mentality of using your emotions as a measurement of spiritual success.
To depend on your emotions to tell you how you’re doing with God is like checking the temperature of your oven by sticking your head in the fridge. It doesn’t work. Your emotions and your soul have very little to do with each other. Now there is such a thing as spiritual joy, but when we talk about joy, we are usually referring to carnal joy—one of the many frail emotions that are part of the earthly body package. Carnal emotions are like the churning surface of a rushing stream. Anything that happens to the surface of that stream makes the water swirl in new directions. Likewise, anything that happens to the surface of your life will scramble your emotions. By now you’ve learned how instantly one sharp word, one bad phone call, or one nasty look can burst your bubble of happiness.
If I want to distract you from enjoying the fact that your hand is in perfect health, all I have to do is hit your toe with a hammer. You’ll become so focused on your throbbing toe that the condition of your hand will seem irrelevant. Satan uses the same trick on us all the time to undermine our confidence with God. If you’re keeping a clear record between you and the Spirit, Satan will try to invent false conviction. For the conviction to be properly tormenting, he knows it has to propose a problem that is beyond your ability to fix. This is why Satan’s convictions often come in the form of vague statements, such as “God is disappointed in you.” That’s it. No further details given. If he can trick you into thinking this message comes from the Spirit, you’ll be stressed out the rest of the day trying to rack your brains to think of what you did wrong. Another favorite ploy of Satan is to focus on the past. Here he can be very specific because he knows you can’t change history. “You really messed up by getting that divorce.” “It’s so horrible how you aborted your child.” Such messages have one goal: to beat you down.
You need to understand that God will NEVER toy with you in these ways. God will never block you from repenting and correcting any problematic situation. When God wants you to do something, He will ALWAYS be very clear about what that something is. He will present you with SPECIFIC, DO.. ABLE steps so that you can immediately return to a state of obedience. God will NEVER hang things over your head that you cannot change, nor will He pelt you with guilt over your past mistakes.
Now if you respond to God’s conviction with a hardened heart and a bunch of attitude, it is very possible that He will threaten you with some kind of discipline. If you continue to act like a punk, He will follow through with that threat and make your life increasingly unpleasant until you finally break down and do that very clear, specific thing He is ordering you to do. But if you’re smart enough to recognize that fighting against God is utterly foolish, then you have nothing to worry about. No matter how much Satan insists that something vague and terrible has created an insurmountable obstacle between you and God, you can whistle a happy tune and know that all is well. Unless conviction is coming from the Holy Spirit, you need to let all accusations, criticisms and negative harping blow past your soul like so much wind. God is FOR you. If you care at all about pleasing Him, there’s no way He will let you shipwreck your relationship with Him.
If Satan’s station is suddenly coming in loud and clear in your mind, understand that this is the Holy Spirit’s way of teaching you how to recognize and reject counterfeit messages. Developing good discernment is an important growth step for every maturing Christian. Trust your Teacher: He knows how much you can handle. Don’t let anyone but God tell you where you stand with Him.