There are two primary voices vying for a leader’s attention. Knowing how to distinguish and deal with them is a critical leadership skill.
As I sat down to pray about this week’s blog, I knew I was in trouble. I positioned myself near our puppy’s pen so she could see me. Maybe that will keep her from barking, I thought. Not to be. Ear-piercing, brain-jangling barks filled the room. I tried ignoring her. More barking. I tried reprimanding her. Louder barking. I tried giving her a small plate of chicken pieces. Short-lived reprieve, then… “Woof-woof! WOOF-WOOF!” Arghh!
It reminded me of how incessant and soul-penetrating the enemy’s voice can be if we let it. So how do we differentiate it from God’s? The best way to know the enemy’s voice is to know God’s voice really, really well.
Characteristics of God’s Voice
- Truth-filled. Everything God says lines up with His Word. Words and thoughts from God are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praise-worthy. They anchor our souls.
- Peaceful. Through Jesus, we’re reconciled to God. Words from God’s Spirit affirm your rock-solid position in God, bringing confidence and peace.
- Strengthening. Jesus is a High Priest who understands our weaknesses, but He doesn’t leave us there. Through His words, we are built up in truth and strengthened.
Characteristics of Satan’s Voice
- Laced with lies. Whether boldfaced or subtle, Satan’s messages are founded in non-truth. They’ll often pull your attention onto circumstances, yourself, or others in a distorted way. Anyplace but on God—that’s Satan’s goal.
- Stressful. If Satan can get you agitated, irritated, anxious, depressed, or angry… he’s duped you out of your peaceful position in Christ.
- Weakening. Satan wants to lure you away from the shelter of God’s truth, and get you entangled in negative self-talk. He wants you to wallow in weakness, and then condemns you for feeling weak.
How to Deal with the Message
- Accept or reject it. Examine the content of the message. Is it something God would say? If not, don’t receive it. When a false message or thought comes my way, I picture it like water on a duck’s back, rolling right off.
- Correct it. Pay attention to your thoughts. If they don’t line up with God’s, correct them. During a busy stretch of days, I thought to myself, “This is too much.” I realized where that thought came from and replaced it with, “God, You are too much.” As I reveled in His goodness and greatness, the feeling of overload left.
- Stand in truth. I picture myself like a tree. My roots are reaching deeper into the soil of God’s love. My trunk is growing stronger in the truth of who God is and who He says I am. And my branches are stretched out in praise, laden with the fruit He’s producing.
Leaders are bombarded by messages and voices all day long. Whether it’s your own thoughts, someone else’s input, or messages from your Heavenly Father or the Father of Lies, there are just two types of content: truth and non-truth. Wise leaders intentionally choose the voice of Truth and lose the voice of lies.