Sunday, September 12, 2010

Four Tests to Help Us Listen to God and Not Our Own Emotions


  • When we face a big decision in life, we often pray for God to give us some idea of what to do. We may end up with a variety of different directions we could go.
  • When trying to make such a decision, how do we know if we are listening to God or to our own emotions?
  • It is important to know how to tell the difference between the voice of God or our own emotions because the emotions of our heart can trick us. When emotions deceive us, life can get messy real quick!!!!!


Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is more deceitful than anything else and desperately sick—who can understand it?"

  • The reason that our emotions can be wrong is because our hearts are naturally sinful.
  • Sin has caused all of us to have "heart" problems so we need a system to check our heart and make sure it really is God leading us before taking action.
  • There are four tests we can use to make sure our ideas are from God and not our emotions.


1. God will never tell us to do something that contradicts His Word.

  • God used 40 different men to write the Bible in three different languages over a period of 400 years. Though God used those men's personalities and backgrounds, God inspired the men to write in such a way that the entire Bible is without error.


2 Timothy 3:16-17 - All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

  • The scripture is profitable to us and equips us to good work in our lives.
  • We should be reading the scriptures daily so we can hear from God through them.
  • But since the Bible was written a long time ago, is it still relevant for today?


Isaiah 40:8 "The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God remains forever."

  • God says that His Word will remain true forever.
  • God's Word has no expiration date!
  • It is as true now as the day it was written.
  • Because the Bible was 100% true when it was written and is still 100% true today, God will never tell us to do something contrary to what He has already said in His Word, otherwise He would be contradicting Himself.
  • If our "great idea" or life choice would lead to actions that go against scripture, we know the idea is a bad one even if it "feels" right.
  • The feeling is a deception from our well-meaning but imperfect human heart.

2. God does not tell us to do things that cause confusion or division in the church.


1 Corinthians 14:32-33, 40 "And the prophets' spirits are under the control of the prophets, since God is not a God of disorder but of peace . . . But everything must be done decently and in order."

  • This verse says that people (prophets) who think they are hearing from God are still in control of their spirits.
  • What that means is that we do not lose control of ourselves just because we think we have an idea from God.
  • God does not want us to lose control of ourselves because God is not a God of disorder, but of peace.
  • God will not lead us to do something that causes craziness in the church.
  • We must learn to control our actions if we really want people to listen to what we think the Spirit is saying to us.
  • Ideas that ignore this concept are not from God or have not been delivered the way God intended for them to be shared.
  • We must ask ourselves if our idea will cause confusion or division in the church.
  • It is important to note that non-Christians may be confused by our actions since they lack the Holy Spirit, but Christians should understand our ideas if they are really from God because they have the same Spirit.
  • Sometimes an idea may be from God, but the timing is not right and we have to wait on the Lord. We must not let our hearts run ahead of God timing.


3. When God tells us to do something, there will be confirmation from other Christians.


Proverbs 24:6 ". . . In the multitude of counselors there is safety."

  • God tells us we will safe if we have a large group of counselors.
  • This is referring to Spirit-filled believers, not those with worldly ideas.
  • If we have an idea about something we should do, we should share it with some other Christians who we know are Spirit-filled and ask them to join us in prayer.
  • Sometimes when we share our ideas, no one else will get excited about it. In those moments, instead of getting upset and angry, we should thank God for keeping us from doing something stupid.


Ephesians 4:3-4 "diligently keep the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope at your calling."

  • God speaks with unity in the Spirit.
  • If we think we are the only one "connected" to God, we are being arrogant not spiritual.
  • Spiritual people realize sometimes they are wrong. Therefore, they consult with other spiritual people to make sure God is saying the same thing to others. That is how they keep from making a mistake.
  • But what if no one else thinks my idea is a good one, but I am still convinced it is from God?
  • In times like that we must ask God either to put the idea on the hearts of others or to remove the idea from our own heart.
  • Then we must wait on God to do one or the other, which can be hard.


4. When God tells us to do something, the idea will not go away.


Psalm 37:4 "Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you your heart's desires."

  • If we are living our lives in such a way that we delight in God, then God will put certain desires in our hearts.
  • Those desires will not go away or fade with time. They will remain in our hearts.
  • If we are really living for Christ and an idea remains in our hearts for a long time, then we can be assured it is from God.
  • Because we are really living for God, we will have already filtered those ideas through the other three tests. They will have either passed or failed the other three tests.
  • If the ideas failed the other three tests, we will discard them and they will no longer be on our hearts.
  • If the ideas do pass the other tests and remain in our hearts, we can have confidence that the ideas are from Him and will eventually come to pass.
  • What do we do while we wait for those ideas to come to pass?


Matthew 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you."

  • Instead of becoming obsessed with our idea, we should focus on serving God the best we can in our present situation.
  • We should do all we can to seek God's kingdom and live as righteously as we can.
  • In time, all the other things that we desire will come to pass if they really are from God.



If we want to know if an idea or choice is from God or from our own emotions, we must run the idea through these four tests:

1. God will never tell us to do something that contradicts His Word.

2. God does not tell us to do things that cause confusion or division in the church.

3. When God tells us to do something, there will be confirmation from other Christians.

4. When God tells us to do something, the idea will not go away.


  1. I thought this was very good this morning. And the pot-luck lunch afterwards was great too.

  2. I am on the verge of making a big decision and when I heard this sermon this morning at church, I knew it was just for me!

  3. I felt like you were talking to me this morning. Though I took notes, I knew I missed some so thanks for posting them. Thanks for being our pastor.

  4. Frank Rothe, Connect With Kids MinistriesSeptember 14, 2010 at 9:36 PM

    sounds like the road I took