The Devil’s Mouthpiece

by Andy Wood on May 5, 2008

in Insight, Life Currency, Words

The Devil’s MouthpieceI owe Peter an apology.  And if the Lord will let me, when we link up in Heaven, I plan on delivering it.  I ragged on the man for many years.  Laughed at him.  Mercilessly dissed him for being the guy who was always making a verbal fool of himself.

But a couple of years ago, I made peace with Pete.  And I promised I’d never criticize or mock him again.  Why?  Because Peter was the one who was willing to make a mistake if it meant learning.  Or leading.  He was the one who got out of the boat to at least try walking on the water.  He was the one who was willing to say what everybody else was thinking.  And he, Christianity’s biggest failure, was the one who looked Jesus in the eye after denying Him and said, “Yes, Lord.  You know I love you” (John 21:17).

In Matthew 16, this fisherman/disciple speaks out twice.  The first time, Jesus responds by saying, “Peter, only God could have revealed this to you.”  The next time, Jesus is in his face, saying, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s” (Matthew 16:23).

One minute, Peter is hearing something that is doubtless a revelation from God Himself.  The next, he is hearing from Satan.

Uh oh.

I’ll bet you know what I’m thinkin’.

If that can happen to somebody who is hanging out with Jesus every day, it can happen to you and me, too.

Is it possible that you can think you’re hearing from God and miss it so badly, you’re actually listening to the enemy of your soul?

Yes.  Here’s how.

1.  Ignore or deny the plain truth of scripture.

What was Peter’s verbal flub?  Jesus had told the disciples He was going to be betrayed and crucified.  Peter, flush off his “You are the Christ!” declaration, pulled Jesus aside and began to correct Him.  “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said.  “This will never happen to you” (Matthew 16:22).

Hindsight says he should have known better.  The word of God said clearly that Jesus would be “pierced through for our transgressions” and “crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5).

The ultimate test for all guidance is the word of God!  God never speaks out of both sides of his mouth.  Anytime somebody says, “Well, I know what the Bible says, BUT. . .” whatever follows makes God a liar.

2.  Move in a direction opposite God’s purpose for your (or someone else’s) life.

There was no question that Jesus came for one purpose – to die on a cross for the sins of the world.  From the very beginning of His ministry, He heard a consistent voice from the devil – “Avoid the cross!  Avoid the cross!  ANY way but the cross! This time, Satan was rehashing that same old message through one of Jesus’ most trusted friends.  I’m sure Peter was being loyal, sincere, and loving when He rebuked Jesus.  But it’s possible for loyalty to be misplaced, love to be misguided, and someone to be sincerely wrong.

You have a purpose, too.  Among other things, it is to be transformed into the image of Christ.  Any voice, however friendly, that diverts you from that purpose is not from God.

3.  Presume to tell somebody else what God’s will is for his or her life.

Do you see what Peter is talking about with such confidence?  He’s talking about God’s will for Jesus’ life!  That is a dangerous thing to do.  Be very careful about telling someone else what God’s will is for them.  God can use that, but many people abuse that.

Be very careful about the phrase, “God told me to tell you….”  It that possible?  Yes.  But you don’t have to feel obligated to jump just because somebody told you that God wanted you to.  And other people don’t have to jump because you say it, either.

Most of the time, when this is used in a valid way, it serves as a confirmation for what God is already saying to someone.  Example:  When I was praying about God’s call to ministry, my friend Rick Cagle said matter-of-factly and casually to me one day, “Oh I believe God is calling you to full-time ministry.”  It was a confirmation of what I had already sensed from the Lord.

4.  Speak out of fear, not peace.

When the voice is from God, it produces peace.  That was true for Peter when he first responded.  But in his second response, Jesus reacted sharply.  I think Peter was responding to Jesus out of fear and anxiety – his own lack of peace – because Jesus had predicted His death.

I wonder how many women have been told, “God told me you are the one to marry me” because some guy was scared to live alone?  Just thinkin’….

So what do you do if you miss God?  Do you turn in your membership card to the School of the Prophets?  Not so fast there, Jonah.

I find it encouraging that within a matter of minutes, Peter heard from God and then missed God.  I don’t know about you, but I can relate to that!  So what is Jesus’ response?

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24-25, NASU).

When you miss God, lay down your selfish ambitions.  Go back to a place of dying to self.  And start following Jesus again.

How about you?  Have you ever spectacularly missed what God was saying?  Or had someone distract you with a missed “word from God?”  Let us hear about it.

Meantime, keep listening, Pete.  God is still speaking – even when you don’t always understand Him.

In the next post, I want to show you how God took this bull-in-a-china shop and transformed Him into a man of God who could hear the Holy Spirit so well, he wound up writing two books of the Bible.  Peter learned to discern the voice of God purely and powerfully.

You can, too.

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