Our minds are powerful tools. Sometimes I’m amazed at its own ability to keep itself happy. We get to thinking about something, and then automatically our brains fire up a bunch of cool thoughts that make us smile. Our data-banks are filled with stuff that trigger good emotions. Sometimes we have to consciously get in there and dig deep for a thought, but often they just come flying to us, automatically, out of the great blue sky I call vision.
Hey, we can’t beat that. Our brains help themselves. It’s a gift. There is, however, a danger that the gift of an automatic brain presents. As followers of Christ, we can be given prophetic gifts. The Lord reveals hidden things to his prophets. The trouble is our brains can fool us.
In Ezekiel 13, the Lord condemns those who prophesy from their imaginations. The Lord tells Ezekiel to “Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: ‘Hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing!” (Ezekiel 13:2-3). In other words, people were saying the Lord gave them prophesy when he didn’t. They were simply imagining things and believing that it was the Lord speaking to them.
It’s easy for a person like me to get confused by my own imagination. I am a writer after all, and creating dialogue for fiction is one of my favorite things to do. So, I really have to try hard to discern between my own imagination and God’s holy influence in my life.
As Christians, it is our duty to discern between spirits. Our own spirit often gets in the way of God’s spirit. So when we pray and a thought pops into our head that sounds good, we can think it is God speaking to us when it might not be him–it might be our own brain responding as it is made to do.
The Lord has directly spoken to me before, and I definitely knew it was the Lord speaking to me at the time. I felt a power come out of no where and put a physical presence over my body and then a very direct, commanding sentence jumped into my thoughts. The sentence was distinct and surprising, and it was obvious the Lord was speaking to me.
When the Holy Spirit moves us, we’ll know it, but when it happens, let’s try to recognize the way our thoughts change from carnal to praise. Let’s also pay attention to the gentleness that overtakes our spirit, and that way we will get better at recognizing God in our lives.
Also, don’t let any of this stop you from receiving good things in your prayer. If you are thinking good things while praying, receive those things for yourself in faith, and, remember, the nature of God is good, kind, merciful, gentle, forgiving and even-tempered. It takes a long time for the Lord to become angry.