Discerning Between Our Own and God’s DesireBy: Guest
This is a guest post from Grace for Grace.
I used to read the blog Musings on Mormonism (it hasn’t had a new post in over a year.) It is a blog from a former LDS member who is juggling family and spirituality and posts blogs that for the most part appear to be sincere.
One day I read the post entitled Can our Hearts be Trusted. She said that praying and trusting our feelings is not what God asks us to do when seeking guidance or wisdom. She said that the Bible clearly states that our heart is a deceptive thing. She noted that we are also told in the Book of Proverbs that we are to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not unto our *own* understanding. Our “own” understanding or feelings can be deceptive. Feelings and emotions can take over and cloud us from receiving God’s word and will. She then goes on to state the only thing we can trust is God’s word and nothing else.
This statement was very amazing to me for a number of reasons. First, how are we to know God’s word if we can’t recognize and discern his voice? Next, in my opinion it is borderline blasphemy to say that God can’t answer prayers and speak to our hearts through not only feelings, but in our minds and through scriptures as well. Finally, I feel that it is a tool from Satan to deceive us into thinking that we do not need to pay attention to the feelings and promptings God gives us. It states in scripture that God speaks to us in our minds and in our hearts through feelings, visions, scriptures, and other means such as prophecy.
The question then is how do we learn to discern between what our desires are and what God’s desires are? Furthermore, if one claims to be a prophet and speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost as the prophets of the New Testament did, how are we to know if what they are saying is truth? Many people may answer this by saying to look it up in the Bible and that will confirm the truth. However, how is one to know what truth is when reading in the Bible or any other scripture for that matter? Clearly the answer is through the Holy Ghost. But once again, the question arises how do we know if what we are feeling is from God or just our own desires? Worse yet, how do we know what we feel isn’t Satan trying to deceive us?
These thoughts caused me to reflect on a post I wrote a few years ago called “Receiving and Recognizing Answers to Prayers.” In this post and especially in the comments by other readers, there are common threads on how we can live our lives in tune so we can receive and recognize answers to our prayers.
In one of the threads, it discusses how God will send us the Holy Ghost through feelings accompanied with a positive conviction. Personally, I feel that all inspiration we receive should be backed up, as our “musings” friend alludes to with the scriptures.
From my own personal experience, I know this is a truth: God speaks to us through His Holy Spirit and we feel this many times as a burning in the bosom, or exceeding joy that is more than just our own made-up desires that confirms all truth. We do need to learn and practice to discern from our own feelings and God speaking to us though.
Personally, I feel that our friend over at Musings has it half right. We do need to test our answers to the Word of God and not solely rely on a desire…especially if we’re not sure if it’s from God or not. We shouldn’t rely solely on just our feelings and also it is important to have had a witness of what scripture is truth and this will come through an answer from the Holy Spirit as well.
I know we can learn to recognize and discern between Heavenly Father’s promptings and our own desires.
What are your thoughts on this subject?