You may wonder, as I have, “How can I be certain that I’m hearing the Holy Spirit’s voice, and not another?”

First of all, the Holy Spirit cannot, and will not, govern any believer who isn’t wholly surrendered to His will. The Spirit speaks to those who are prepared to obey His voice. And something else concerned me as I thought about walking in the Spirit. If walking in the Spirit involves total confidence in hearing His voice and being led by it, how can we be safeguarded against deception? How can we know we’re hearing the voice of the Spirit, and not our own, or that of the devil?

I’m convinced that multitudes of Christians have developed doubts about listening to the Spirit because of bad experiences in the past. They wonder, “How can I know if it’s the Holy Spirit speaking this time? I thought I heard clearly the last time, but it turned out not to be Him at all. I felt deceived.” And still others have been turned off by the bizarre antics of those who go about saying, “God told me this; God told me that.”

This important matter requires of us another emphatic “amen” to trusting God’s promise of protection. Paul points out that such trust demands an act of faith: “Taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Ephesians 6:16). This is a promise from the Lord that He will shield us from delusion and error.

The voice of Satan constantly shouts all kinds of accusations at us. And the only way to shut out these fiery darts is to turn to the promise God has given us: that no weapon formed against us can prosper (see Isaiah 54:17). Satan’s weapons include condemnations and lies, and the Holy Ghost is faithful to expose them all to us. The voice of the enemy would urge you to act impulsively, without checking with God’s Word. But every word of the Spirit will be confirmed by the Bible.