By Evangelist B. N. Wire
What Are Differences Between The Accusations Of Satan And The Reproofs Of The Holy Spirit?
Inability to answer the above question has caused many a saint to cast away his confidence. A short time ago a lady asked me to tell her how to try the spirits and see whether they be of God or not. She wondered if God always spoke in a still small voice or how we could be sure we were listening to the voice of God or of the Devil. I do not think it is profitable to discuss the matter of voices or impressions and dreams, etc. This matter can be clarified by calling attention as to how Satan's accusations and their effect upon the human spirit differ so widely from the reproofs and warnings of the Holy Spirit.
Satan has always been known as the resister of God and the accuser of the brethren. Therefore, we can rest assured that any spirit that accuses is always of the evil one. The reproofs of the Spirit never come in forms of accusations.
Again, we can be assured that every spirit that torments the soul and tends to discouragement is of the Devil. The Holy Spirit never discourages, never torments, never suggests to us to give up any spark of faith or grace we may have, even to get more. Satan is always trying to get us to judge our standing in grace by our feelings, while the Holy Spirit is always calling us to have faith and face the facts.
Finally, Satan defeats many by getting them to measure their experience by the experiences of others. This again is contrary to the operation of the Holy Spirit. God never asks us to measure our grace or judge our experiences by how He has dealt or is dealing with others.
Briefly we have stated how one may determine whether Satan is accusing, or the Holy Spirit reproving. Now let us discuss some of these points a little further. Many would be saved from stumblings and defeats if they would only keep in mind that every time a spirit of discouragement begins to settle down upon the soul, that it is always the work of the Devil. No matter the circumstances or trials and temptations, we will never become discouraged only as we listen to the discouraging suggestions of Satan. Let God's people learn the tactics of the tempter at this point. Do not entertain, but resist every depressing, discouraging thought or suggestion as from the evil one. Declare your faith in God and claim your rightful possessions in His grace. Demand in the name of Jesus that you be freed from such torments and soon Satan will flee from you.
When God comes to reprove us He will show us our need and uncover our sin, but when He shows us the swamps of the wilderness in which we have been wandering, He will turn the searchlight on Caanan and reveal to us the better country which is for us if we will go up and possess it. The Holy Spirit never causes us to be discouraged and quit or keep still, because we see how much more grace others have and how much better they can pray, testify, sing and preach. He will always encourage us with a hungering to have more grace and experience so we can more efficiently and powerfully serve the Lord.
It seems so hard for the holiness peoples to really believe that the Holy Ghost never asks us to look at or judge our standing with God by our feelings. Any old time religion people who believe in the witness, freedom and the demonstration of the Spirit will naturally be tempted at this point. Please remember that it is always the Devil and never the Holy Spirit that tries to get you to measure your grace by your changing tide of emotions. The Spirit calls us to keep our eyes upon the facts not the feelings in our relationship with God. Following feeling is like riding the thermometer. It can mean nothing but an up and down Christian experience. To hear most testimonies one would think that "we are kept by the power of God through 'feeling' instead of faith". But the facts are that the word feeling is found only once in the Bible (and here it refers to a class who were past feeling) Eph. 4:19; while the word faith is found three hundred times. Nothing can defeat a soul quicker than to have his attention turned from the unchanging and unfailing facts of God and His promises, to the changing and failing things of time and sense. I wish to make it clear to all my readers, that I am not opposed, nor would I discourage, the old time manifestations and demonstrations of the Spirit either in private life or public service. No one ever enjoys the old time camp meeting shouts more than 1. However, I firmly believe that we would have more of the freedom and outward manifestations of the Spirit in our services if we would keep our attention off of our feelings and revel more in the glorious facts of our holy religion. We would at least have more stable emotions and live lives of greater spiritual power.
After all, the office of the Holy Spirit in relation to the Church is not to reprove, so much as to comfort, teach and guide. He is come to reprove the world, but to be the Comforter of His people. However, it seems that the main office of the Holy Ghost has often been turned aside by the sin of the church, which has called forth His reproof, when He should have been showing forth His power in them to conquer the world for Christ.