One thing we are learning through ministering to others is the need to listen accurately.
It is possible to get so excited when we finally begin to hear in the spirit that we will listen to anything, and accept it as from God. There is such a contrast between our old conservative, ‘Bible only’ Christianity and being a ‘living supernaturally’ follower of Jesus, that we forget that not all spirits are Holy Spirt, and not every thought that pops into our head is necessarily from a spirit at all. We can still hear our own head, just as we did before.
It is interesting when ministering to dissociated people, knowing when they are hearing their own thoughts, a dissociated part, a demon, or Jesus. These seem to come in pretty even proportion most of the time, and we need to discern which is which. There is sometimes a lot at stake if we are wrong.
The standard tests can be applied: is it consistent with the Bible, is it consistent with God’s character, is it something Jesus would do, is it conformed in other ways, etc. However, in the context of ministry it is usually easiest to discern demonic utterances by the fact that while they try to pretend to be Jesus there is always something that gives them away if you are alert.
For example, we’ve had a false Jesus show up, who looked and sounded like the real Jesus, but his eyes were cold, or he was carrying a knife, or when looked at hard he seemed fuzzy, and so on. They try hard, but they are just not good at it.
When they speak an alert listener can find the subtle flaw in their logic. While they have to tell the truth when commanded, so often it is done in a cryptic way. If you give up too soon, which is what they hope for, you will miss some really useful information. Percever, and make them explain every point and the truth is arrived at.
The ones I suspect the most are the stereotype ones that look like a Sunday School picture, with long hair and wearing a clean white robe and sandals. This is so unlikely – Jesus always appears appropriate to the person and the situation. To an Austrlain Aborigine, for example, he would also probably appear black and have fuzzy hair. And why not? The resurrected Jesus is not a Jew from Palestine. He has a new body which can take any form he needs it to.
I’ve found it particulary useful, when a demon is being more uncooperative than usual, to tell them to ask Jesus what he wants them to say. They come back telling the truth through gritted teeth as if every world causes them pain, but tell the truth they do.
When dialoguing with dissociated parts you need to use a lot more grace. Parts never try to deceive, but they don’t always have full knowledge about a situation or a very well developed worldview. After all, some of them are only equivalent to babies or young children. They haven’t had time to learn much. Again, checking with Jesus helps a lot, plus using the person’s own background knowledge.
The Holy Spirit, or Jesus always speak so graciously and respectfully, even when they are being tough on a person. You never feel condemned, even when convicted or challenged. With a demon you hear about how bad you are and that there is no way out. With Jesus hope is always offered, but the choice is still yours.
Jesus does want to teach us how to hear, and he intends us to hear easily, accurately, and quickly. And when we hear and act, things always happen!