Lesson 2 of 5
God has gone to great lengths to restore apostolic stewardship to the church to teach believers how to gain the victory over many false belief systems engineered by Satan to keep your faith sterile and to keep you confused with the many voices heard in today’s church.
The Deceiver made sure that false grace has a powerful voice that is hear and is listened to and is repeated and spread, like leprosy. Understandably, this is why man’s definition of grace is still being preached today.
The Deceiver’s definition of grace does not teach believers responsibility to the covenant, and it does not teach a person how to hear the voice of God, nor does the traditional definition of grace protect believers against the deceptive voice of Wilson, which is the echo of the voice of the imagination.
You would have had to see the movie “Cast Away” starring Tom Hanks to appreciate this analogy. Wilson is the name Chuck Noland (the character played by Hanks) gives to a Wilson Sporting Goods volleyball he retrieves from the wreckage of his plane after it crashed, stranding him on a deserted island.
Noland paints a face on the ball, giving it a name “Wilson” and a personality, and a voice. As the two of them chat or fight or talk about the meaning of life and the predicament they are in, they quickly become inseparable friends. Wilson advises Noland in his darkest hours. Wilson has a way with words. He seems to have insight and uncanny foresight that Noland learns to lean upon. Every time Noland makes a mistake Wilson’s voice is heard to give sharp and pointed reminders that seemingly hold nuggets of wisdom.
Of course, the back and forth bantering and deep conversations, and lessons learned are conceived in Noland’s mind. Wilson is a figment of Noland’s imagination, isn’t he?
I want you to think about how the voice of Wilson was born out a desperate situation, providing Noland something he deeply needed. He was no longer alone, he had a friend he could count on. But, regardless of how therapeutic Wilson was for Noland, the voice was not real and became a problem for Noland later. He could not bring himself to separate from Wilson when the time came for his rescue. He fought in his mind whether to swim after Wilson (who had gotten lose in the currents of the ocean) or stay with the raft he had constructed to get off the island.
Many believers today have developed their own voice of “Wilson” and confuse that with the true voice of God’s grace. Having been such a long time isolated from God’s company and needing to hear His voice, it is quite common for a Christian to have conversations with their emotions, believing they are having conversations with God; seeing evidence of that voice in how doors are opened for their signature skills to play out their imagination; seeing evidence in that voice in the sympathy it plays upon our hearts when the voice says that Satan comes to steal our dreams, our faith and our lives!
The need for God’s companionship, care, and wisdom is so strong that the Deceiver has accommodated mankind with a placebo voice I have coined as “the echo” of the imagination. This addiction to Wilson is so strong that when God begins to break this tie and begins to show a believer the seducing spirits behind the voice, that it carries death and not life, the temptation is very strong for a believer to cling to Wilson and reject God’s grace.
Importantly, the true voice of God can and should be discerned from the many other voices bouncing around claiming to be the voice of God.
Proof Christians Do Not Know the Voice of God
Proof positive that Christians do not know the voice of God is seen everywhere. Most have heard of the “Keys” to hearing God's voice; whether it is a 4 key teaching or a 12 key teaching, Christians are eager to learn how to hear the voice of God.
When a person does not know the voice of God they strain to hear it and mistake the voice of Wilson (the echo of the imagination) for the voice of the Lord. There are several signs that a person is straining to hear the voice of the Lord and have opened themselves up to the voice of Wilson. We are going to look at the two major signs: (1) The voice of God connected to one’s life, and (2) The voice of God connected to Jesus’ walk.
1. The voice of God connected to one’s life.
An example of this: It is commonly taught that God’s voice is that inner tug that is always drawing you into service for Him. It is said that God will give you a message, He will speak to your heart, and then when you meet Him at the place that He has called you to (whether it be at your place of employment, in your home, working with children, or working with music), it is there that you will experience what is called “an intense anointing to serve Him”.
The problem with this is that God’s calling to service is not a secret, nor is it a mystery that needs God’s voice to lead you to a place where He has selected you to serve. The place of our service to God has already been pre-selected by God. It is called “The Altar” of Christ, and the service is called “The Priesthood”. A person needs the doctrine of Christ to know how the altar of Christ is to be constructed and used for faith’s service to God. The voice of God’s grace is heard to confirm Jesus Christ at the altar.
Another problem we need to take a quick look at in this scenario of the voice of God is that the voice of God you are being “helped” to hear is directing you to serve God through your signature skills, talents, and talks about how you fit in this world. Your life is being described by your signature, which is---YOU!
God’s purpose for your signature (YOU) is being confused with God’s purpose for faith (JESUS). False grace puts a voice to the struggle of life when it is defined by your signature skills, looking for God’s purpose in self (aspiration), while true grace confirms Jesus Christ and your increase in Him as you labor with His knowledge and spiritual tools.
2. The voice of God connected to Jesus’ walk.
An example of this: It is commonly taught that God’s voice is that prompting that tells you to “walk in Jesus’ steps”. It is said that God will give you a message, that He will prompt you so you may know the path He wants you to walk on, to know how to walk as Jesus, and that as you listen to the Spirit, He will lead you.
The problem with this scenario of the voice of God is that believers expect the voice of God to create the path of faith for them, and it does not. God planned that Jesus’ apostles would instruct the church in doctrine, and by that instruction of doctrine (the record of Christ) all believers would know this one walk of faith. It is the same path for everyone and the same walk for each believer.
Another problem with this scenario of the voice of God is that believers use their imagination (the echo) to walk in Jesus’ steps. When they are in a situation they imagine what Jesus would do, think, or say, and they try to imitate that. This attempt to imitate Jesus shows a lack of understanding the record God gave for us to follow—the blueprint of truth by which faith is built with the 12 elements of the gospel. God called us to walk by the record of Christ, not by our imagination.
The Deceiver Helps You Change the Way you Think
If the foundation of truth is not set in your heart, the Holy Spirit doesn’t have the material He needs to change you into the image of Christ, to renew your mind through regeneration. The Holy Spirit needs truth to operate.
This is where the Deceiver steps in. He most gladly helps you find ways to change the way you think about yourself and change the ways you think about God. He tells you that this change in your thinking will empower you with great faith and hope for your future. But, the Enemy is simply giving power to your imagination, which power is called aspiration, which in fact replaces grace.
The design your heavenly Father placed within His truth is that grace + faith = righteousness. Aspiration + faith = hypocrisy. There is no way to make holy that which is unclean (the aspiration). God’s call is to come out from among them and touch not the unclean thing.
Aspiration is Not the Voice of Grace
Aspiration is not the voice of grace, it is the Jezebel Yoke. Aspiration is the drive the soul has to achieve its own design to gain peace and security. The following is quoted from our lesson “The Flesh: The Jezebel Yoke”. . . http://www.s8wministries.org/lesson.php?id=119&lesson=aspiration---the-jezebel-yoke
Your signature has a voice. It speaks to you about your potential.
Your God-Code has a voice. It speaks to you about the need for you to fill your soul.
Your moral code has a voice. It speaks to you about your need for right moral choices.
These things are about you and the design of your soul. It is not about Jesus Christ and the design of your faith. Satan’s job is to turn your faith around so that your faith is about you. That makes it easy for him to use the voice of your own aspiration and give it authority. We understand now where all the “authority-driven” teachings come from. And we now know what it means to overcome the devil. It means that we replace the voice of aspiration with the voice of grace.
We now also understand “voice”. I say “voice” because the thoughts of the aspiration are made known and given authority. Sometimes Satan uses the voice of aspiration as God’s voice. For example:
GOD’S VOICE –
• God wants you to be blessed.
• God wants you to be free.
• God wants you to fulfill your destiny
Sometimes Satan uses the voice of the aspiration as his voice. . .
SATAN’S VOICE –
• You will never be free.
• You will never gain the victory.
• You will never know your purpose.
Satan uses these 2 voices to play out the aspiration. One is the antagonist (Satan) and one is the protagonist (God). Faith is put into this pit of the flesh to battle it out. But God is not there. The aspiration is just fighting itself.
How do I know that? The battle is about you! Satan made it that way. He makes you feel like you are fighting him, but you are really fighting yourself –and losing. [end of quote]
As you grow in your understanding of the knowledge of the covenant (record of Christ) and serve God with the new tools of Jesus Christ you will continue to learn more about the vital differences between the imagination and faith. Most importantly, the imagination does not put substance in the in the soul, but faith does put substance in the soul by the record of Christ (His truth).
The imagination reaches into the mind to envision what a person desires. Like imagining you are eating a big steak dinner. But after the imagination fads, your stomach is still empty and you are still hungry. This lets you know that the imagination is weak and not empowered by God for faith.
In the same way, believers are taught to imagine what it means to walk as Jesus walked.
Just as the imagination works with images to create a picture in the mind void of substance (your hunger remains after imagining eating a steak), believers work with images of Jesus to create a picture in the mind void of substance (their soul remains empty and hungry for grace and truth and the fruit of Christ).
Realizing the obvious damage the imagination does to faith, how is this practice continually justified? Justification takes place as the imagination seeks for a higher power and authority and thus joins itself to scripture, thereby giving itself permission to act.
This alarming practice of personalizing the scriptures to oneself has grown quite popular in the absence of grace. God calls the joining of our imagination to scripture, private interpretation of scripture and does not empower our faith when we do this (2 Peter 1:20-21).
There are a few more things we can learn about the differences between the imagination and the true record of Christ that will be helpful to you now as you learn about the grace of God:
1. Your imagination will not let you rest. Because it does not give substance to the soul, your desire will continue to burn with longing for God, while the reality of it will escape you. In contrast, grace will always bring you into rest for it carries the reality of Christ.
2. Jesus wants you to identify with Him , that your faith would be an expression of Him. He does not want you to identify with scripture to express your imagination.
3. Satan works with your vulnerability to point out to you your need, which he desires you to identify with in order for your imagination to work with scripture to address this need. In contrast, God molds your confidence in grace by engaging you on the level of the virtue of Christ rather than your need. Jesus says, “Identify with Me.”
Identifying with Jesus is a daily process that begins with understanding the record of Christ (blueprint for your faith). Understanding the difference between the record of Christ and the private interpretation of scripture is one of the necessary building blocks of learning how to walk with God.
Know this: God does not stand behind your imagination or your aspiration, but He does stand behind the record of Christ.
Learning the difference between the imagination and the record of Christ is important because God has set a law for salvation, a condition, and that is, that our perception has to be changed by his grace (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Satan wants to lead you astray by your imagination to tether you to him, and God wants to keep you joined to Him by His truth to overcome the imagination. Once that discernment is gained we can detect the Deceiver’s lie in the imagination and choose to stand in God’s truth. Salvation is impossible to live is we do not set our expectation upon this taking place.
As we analyze the voice of Wilson believers accept as God's voice, we discover additional drawbacks to the echo of the imagination. The imaginary voice of Wilson becomes the basis for a believer’s fellowship with God, and their relationship with God rests upon this false voice. For while the confirmation of God is sought, the voice of Wilson works for and receives and reciprocates the confirmation of the flesh and faith is made a prisoner to the natural man.
This is why we see the current Christian culture ever speaking about the need for a “closer” relationship with God and speaking in riddles the flesh loves to identify with as if confirming something vaguely spiritual. The church has been immersed in this swamp of “thoughtful dialogue” hoping to uncover the true voice of God.
False grace is the quips we hear on Face Book and other social media where people are trying to “be real” and “express themselves” and “be authentic” and “transparent” to try to make a statement about their faith coming from the heart.
Remember that the carnal mind can easily sift through a heap of garbage looking for the trinkets that can be delighted in. Each thought is sifted through to see what you can hold onto and what needs to be cast away.
For example, Rick Warren wrote, “Hypocrisy is judging another’s motives while blindly deceiving yourself about your own self-serving motives for judging them.”
On the surface this is going to sound to the natural man as if he has found a great nugget of wisdom, but in truth, this is an example of the carnal mind searching for equity in self, which is a very big problem. This searching of the heart is not the same as qualifying Christ. The heart is deceitful above all things, but Jesus isn’t.
Ministers today try to get down on the level of the “common man” by speaking in the ordinary language common people find familiar. If someone talks to you about your dreams and your signature skills, you’re all ears. You can understand what it feels like to have dreams and to search for God’s purpose for your life.
If someone talks to you in moral and ethical ways, it’s going to draw from you a sympathy either on one side or the other of the issue. You do speak the language of the flesh. You have spoken it all your life and yes, you are very familiar with that language. In fact, the Enemy takes unfair advantage of your familiarity with the language of the flesh to push all kinds of buttons.
But this cheapens the grace of God. God speaks a language of His own to His children of faith. A language that reflects the one culture of Jesus Christ that He wants you to learn. When He says “grace”, “faith”, or “righteousness”, He wants you to share the same understanding of these elements that He does.
Getting back to the Warren quote. God had not asked us to stand as a judge of our own hearts, but to qualify Jesus Christ as the judge of the conscience. Something wonderful happens when all the Elements of the Gospel are the foundation of your faith and is the altar of your soul, and testimony upon your lips. You stop warring against yourself and your neighbor and begin to exalt Jesus Christ.
This is what the priesthood is all about. Each spiritual sacrifice of prophecy testifies of Jesus Christ. When the priesthood is missing, believers try to fill up the hole with quips and sayings and quotes that speak about their struggles. Now you know why the Deceiver is pushing a false belief system about the priesthood as well! The priesthood of the flesh is a terrible bondage!
In truth, hypocrisy is the absence of grace where the carnal man judges by the sound of his own voice, using his logic to judge what he hears. God had not intended that we judge apart from the foundation of truth, which now is the record for our discernment.
Another example can be found in this statement by Joyce Meyer: “I may not be where I need to be but I thank God I am not where I used to be!” This is another example of how the church has had to labor under the voice of “self” (the priesthood of the flesh), which is the voice of the echo of the imagination (Wilson). On the surface, the quip sounds right because we do desire to progress with the will of God. But did you miss that the will of God was being placed in YOU rather than in Jesus? This means you’re progressing with the struggle rather than with the virtue of grace.
You can see it right there in the void statement, “I’m not where I need to be”, when in fact those who are in Christ are complete in Him. In this statement we see the familiar conversation of the carnal man, getting real about the struggle. But God did not call us to this struggle. This is asking faith to labor without the virtue of grace. Faith must carry the virtue of grace and the virtue of grace carries life.
The conscience is still defiled and no progression is possible. Under this lie, the Enemy has faith taking shelter under the covering of the flesh. You’ll find out in future lessons how the mind works with your history and your history reflects the state of your conscience.
On the other hand, when we see ourselves in Christ, using His tools, the voice changes: “I accept that my faith is exactly where it should be. Thank God Jesus is the perfect measure!”
You’ll really appreciate your liberty in Christ when these common quips and sayings no longer pull on the imagination. The Deceiver will lose his power over you!
Can You Have a Relationship With God Separate From the Covenant?
We can understand that in the absence of apostles, the church did not have the knowledge to walk as Jesus walked. They did not know how to worship God at His altar, or how spiritual transformation takes place in the inner man. In that void of knowledge it was thought that God would speak to each individual believer to establish a relationship separate from the terms of the covenant.
Here is where the voice of Wilson became personalized to you. Rather than God developing a relationship with you on the grounds of Jesus Christ and the terms of the covenant, you were taught how to develop a relationship with God on the grounds of yourself; what you feel, how you think, your ministry goals, what you’re asking Him to change/fix.
Whenever man is in unfamiliar territory he draws up certain guidelines that he can fall back on and look at and in time for validation, “See, I followed this thing I laid out, and this and that happened. So, we are on the right path.”
This is like taking a walk along the ocean cliffs. A path is clearly laid out for you and steps are carved into the stone. But instead of taking the path, and placing your foot on the steps that are etched into the rock, you want to scale the rock, looking for your own path. Jesus is the trail blazer. He already carved the steps for you to follow in His footsteps. You do not need to scale the rock looking for another path.
The Test of Language
There are additional pieces of evidence that tell us that believers brought up in the current Christian culture do not know the voice of God. We hear it in their language. The intent of language is to communicate. The language of the current Christian culture communicates their inability to hear the voice of God. A few examples will help make this clear to you. These are a few phrases that may be familiar to you that are either preached from the pulpit or written in Christian magazines or found on Face Book:
1. Discover ways to prepare your heart for listening.
2. Learn to quiet the mind chatter and get in touch with the voice of the Holy Spirit.
3. The prayerful, worshipful atmosphere is spiritual and very conducive to hearing the voice of God by His Spirit.
When Christians are forced to develop a “listening” for the “voice of God” outside of covenant, they are forced into a check and balance system they need as a safety net (because they cannot measure grace/God’s voice to the record of Christ or to their spiritual growth). It is often said that if you feel that God is speaking a message to you, but you are not really sure if it is from God, it is good to ask yourself about the message:
1. Does it line up with the written scriptures?
2. Does it lead to a dying of yourself and a greater manifestation of Christ in you?
3. Does it lead you into putting the benefit of others before your own?
4. Does it lead you into a closer relationship with God?
5. Does it cause greater humility in you?
6. Does it make you more dependent upon God?
This is not a safety net. It is the blind groping for the wall in the dark. God does not want you to blindly follow Him. As you learn all about the Second Covenant and how God operates through the Elements of the Gospel and how grace accompanies all the spiritual tools, you will also begin to learn to recognize the grace of God and experience how the grace of God impacts the soul. You will be able to distinguish between the echo of the imagination and the voice of the Lord and no longer need useless check and balance systems.
You can know the voice of God grace. Jesus promised, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” He also said that He, as the Good Shepherd, “goeth before them (His sheep), and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” John 10:4,14.
God validates His own voice, called the witness (Holy Spirit). The witness is not the check and balance system of man, it is the outflow of the grace, which is the voice of God, which is recognizable.