Original article posted by Greg:
When I was in high school, the question I could never get answered was “How can you tell when it’s the spirit?” Meaning, how can you tell the diference between the Holy Ghost and the influence of satan, and how can you tell when it’s the spirit or if it’s your own thoughts.
I think I figured it out tonight.
Back then I was never a very good kid. I acted like I was, but I really didn’t do all the things I ought to have done. I didn’t do really horrible things either. I was lukewarm.
Today I feel like I can say I’m very very close to the Lord, at least comparitively speaking. I think of it as a sort of spectrum, with a line in the middle somewhere that is so infinitely small that only God can see exactly where it is. On one side of the line is God’s side, and on the other is Satans. When you are on God’s side but close to the line, you get a lot of ‘interference’ from the devil. A lot of temptation, a lot of him reaching out to drag you to his side. When you are on satan’s side of the line, God is reaching for you and ready to take you back at a moments notice. He’s also sending ‘interference’ trying to keep you from drifting further from him.
See, both sides want you securely. It’s that middle area that is the hot-spot. It’s the spot where change happens. A person in the middle will be riddled with a spiritual shouting match until he or she picks a direction and heads that way. Then the voices fade as one of them doesn’t have to yell to get you to hear him since you’re getting closer to him, and the other begins to get too far away for you to hear no matter how hard he shouts. It works no matter which direction you go.
So that’s the answer, see? It depends on the life you live. If you are lukewarm, as I always was, it will be impossible for you to tell where your guidance is coming from. However, the closer you get to the Lord by living his commandments the more clearly you will hear his voice and the more certain you can be that it is Him who you are hearing. Whereas, obviously, if you get closer to the devil by living against the teachings of God the more you hear the promptings of satan and the more firm of a grasp he has on your heart.
There is much more to consider here! Think of how hard you would have to fight to leave one master for the other. If you suddenly turned away from Satan when you were living in a way that brought you close to him he would surely shout in your ears and heart and mind to stay where you are! He would do everything to prevent you from going towards your Father in Heaven.
But that’s a topic for another time and for personal thought I suppose.