Once in a while I get asked how you know if you’re actually hearing God. The “Satan appears as an angel of light” verse from 2 Corinthians 11 is quoted as reason for their fear of not recognizing God’s authentic voice.
The answer is in God’s intrinsic nature. The enemy may be able to appear as an angel, but he sucks at faking love, joy, and peace, because he has none. Before the enemy can deceive you, he’s going to try to scare, hurt, and offend you out of love, joy, peace, and every other fruit of God’s Spirit.
So what do you do? How do you receive God’s voice and dismiss the negative ones? Stay in love. Keep your heart open to joy, peace, patience, and kindness. Regardless of your circumstances, let God teach you to live in and give away the genuine fruits of his Spirit, starting with love, which displaces all fear (1 John 4:18).
Each one of the fruits of his Spirit will produce a closeness to Jesus, and a greater confidence in your own identity. Living in awareness of who God is for you through them will empower and equip you for the situation in front of you. They’ll give you compassion, wisdom, and grace for everyone around you, and keep you from settling for cheap counterfeits.
“Among the fruit the Holy Spirit produces in us are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. Against these the law—and the fear of failing it—has no power” (Galatians 5:22–23, paraphrase).