“How do I know if this is God or Satan?” I should laugh at such a question because of how ludicrous it is to, in any way, conceive that we could confuse these two vastly different beings. But I cannot laugh because I too have often asked this question when I have been spinning out of control.
When we are facing stressful situations our emotions are heightened and raw. Exposed emotions are often trampled and crushed. Damaged emotions are horrible motivators. Taut rubber-banded emotions misguide us. Stressed emotions are all of these and more. Jesus was a man of many emotions. His emotions never caused Him to lose control or to sin. Therefore proper emotions at proper times are a tool God can use to His glory.
I spent this week re-reading the Gospels. The books contain thrilling miracles, chilling drama, and passionate teaching. I was searching for one thing: emotions. As I read I listed every record of an expressed emotion. I found far more than I anticipated.
One of the greatest treasures of the Bible is how human and personal it is. I found myself in every story, every character, and on nearly every page; I found emotions I knew well.
The Pharisees exhibited indignation, anger, hatred, humiliation, pride, fear, astonishment, and a wicked delight for murder. The disciples had such an array of emotions I wonder how they held themselves together. On any given day they experienced: fear, amazement, confusion, anger, exhilaration, worry, upset, sadness, joy, worship, exhaustion, bitterness, fright, downcast spirits, alarm, fright, surprise, terror, and dissatisfaction. Take for instance John 20:19-20, in a matter of minutes they went from a paralyzing fear to the heights of joy at seeing the resurrected Jesus.
Talk about an emotional roller coaster ride.
But what truly blessed my soul, were all the emotions Jesus exhibited.
John 2:17 Jesus was zealous or jealous for His Father’s house.
John 4:6 Jesus was tired from the journey.
Mark 3:5 He was angry and deeply distressed at their hardened hearts.
Luke 22:15 He eagerly desired to share with them.
Luke 8:23 He was peacefully asleep in the storm.
Luke 7:13 His heart went out to showing deep emotions for the mourning mother.
Luke 22:44 He was in agony and His soul overwhelmed with sorrow.
John 12:27 His heart was troubled or exhibited an acute emotional distress.
John 13:21 He was greatly troubled in spirit.
John 11:2,5,36. He loved His friends.
John 11:34 He was greatly moved in spirit and troubled.
John 11:38 He was deeply moved.
John 11:35 He wept at the sorrow of others.
Matthew 8:10 He was filled with wonder or astonishment at the faith of centurion.
Mark 6:6 He was amazed at their lack of faith.
Mark 6:34 He had compassion on the multitudes.
Luke 19:41 Wept (very external expression of grief) over Jerusalem.
Luke 10:21 He was full of joy through the Holy Spirit and worshiped. This is my favorite picture of Him. He was leaping with joy as He worshiped His Abba.
Now we must take note of what emotions were not recorded. I noticed in situations where I would have had the greatest emotional response, Jesus showed none. For instance:
- When He was laughed at for saying the girl was not dead.
- When He was betrayed by Judas.
- When He was rebuked by Peter.
- When no one understood His teachings.
- When He was left alone by the fleeing disciples.
- When the multitudes deserted Him.
- When mobs wanted to kill Him.
- When He was arrested, beaten, scourged, and crucified.
- When He told the healed people not to tell who He was and they did anyway.
- When He was accused of being Beelzebub.
- When He was the victim of gossip and wicked thoughts.
- When the healed people did not even say thanks.
- When His own family and cousin questioned who He was.
I started to think of how I would have reacted and listed some very negative emotions. I bet you would have a similar list of frustrations, bitterness, self-pity, despair, doubts, and fear. All of these would be harmful to my spirit and soul.
So then I decided it was time to seek the root of these negative emotions. I found them in Satan. Try this experiment. List the names of Satan given in scripture. Beside each name list how you feel when treated in such a way.
Here is what I discovered. When the accuser accuses me, I feel guilt, shame and humiliation. When he lies to me, I feel betrayed and hurt. I feel used and tricked when he deceives me. I am fearful when hunted by the roaring lion. When this lion roars I am left confused. I feel burned by the dragon and violated by the evil one.
See what I mean. When Satan is in the picture, our emotions are destructive. These are NOT from God. God will never make us feel such emotions. When God moves, He brings repentance, redemption, and restoration.
How do you know if it is Satan or God, use Mike’s discerning self-evaluation:
“If I feel I want to hide in shame or fear then it is Satan. If I feel I want to stand in the Light and let everyone see me, then it is God.”
God came to heal and give abundant life. Satan came to kill and steal. They are as different as darkness and Light. I pray you will never again question but are able to live your life fully exposed in the Light.