Last Sunday, we were having breakfast with the family staying with us--the family of four which just became a family of five. The mother, whom I've called M., the one with a strong gift of seeing in the Spirit, glanced over at me and looked startled.
"What?" I asked.
"I'm seeing bats' wings behind you." Then, somewhat relieved, "Oh, that's what people are seeing when they look at you." Her husband prayed quickly and concurred. "It's perception," he said.
"Horns," she was saying, pausing to see before each sharing. "Snakes' tongues coming out of your mouths."
A month or more ago a friend who doesn't agree with us had come over to appeal to us to stop our posts about the church. I told her I constantly ask the Lord Jesus Christ whether we are the ones who are deceived and deceiving others and that He was giving us strong assurance of His leading. I mentioned that those praying for the church were all getting words and pictures from the Lord consistent with what we were getting, confirming that something beneath the surface at church isn't right. Like seeing the church offices filled with snakes.
"Ours isn't consistent," she said, "but we're getting the same thing--only the snakes are coming out of your mouths."
I hadn't known what to make of that at the time. Now M. was seeing the same thing. "Monkeys on your backs. Jerry has a tail," she was telling us. "And there's a pentagram on his lapel."
That was distinctly disconcerting! Again I asked, this time out loud, "Are we wrong? What does God want us to do about this?" We waited and listened for Him. Then, without speaking, the four of us stood and gathered with our arms around each other while M.'s husband prayed that the Lord would remove these false perceptions and replace them with truth.
So now I realize there are not only blinders over some people's eyes but deceptive facades covering what they look at. Just as M. and I saw a sweet little girl in a white nightdress who was really the devil himself, others are seeing snakes coming out of our mouths. The enemy makes evil seem innocent and good seem evil.
The Bible tells us how to know truth from error. We are to "test the spirits." How? Ask the Lord, "Is this from you?" and let Him tell you. (I ask God every day to "speak truth to the lies I believe.") But be careful to specify which lord, which God, which Jesus you are addressing. Ask for truth from "the one true God" or "the Most High God," "the Lord Jesus who came in the flesh" or "Jesus of Nazareth." Because in this battle we're finding there is not only a deceptive facade covering what some people are seeing, hearing, and sensing (like the little girl in white), but there can be deception regarding the one who answers your prayers when you ask for truth regarding what you are sensing. Prayers can be diverted to false gods or a false Jesus eager to give their own answer to your prayers for "truth." You have to be careful to test even the spirit you ask for truth about what you are sensing. Define which god or Jesus you want to hear from because any number of them respond to "Jesus" and "lord" and they can't all be trusted.
In fact, only One can.
"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998