Whose Idea Is It?
Have you ever thought, “How do I know that idea was from God? It could have been my flesh. Maybe I just thought it up. Maybe it was the devil!” Well, there is an easy test to determine whether or not what you are sensing is from the Lord or from your carnal nature. Ask yourself how much self-gratification is involved. If the desire or the idea is intended to benefit principally you, then it is not from the Lord. If, on the other hand, it has a wider impact that reaches out to touch others and change them, taking the gospel to the world, then it is the Lord. It’s that simple.
I am not suggesting that God will never lead you in a direction that benefits you personally. For example, God wants you to be well and has provided His promise of healing in His Word. That is something that benefits you personally, but why do you want to be healed? The Bible says, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts” (James 4:3). Once you have asked in faith, you still might not receive what you have asked for if your motive is purely self-concern.
If the only reason you want to be healed is to be a comfortable couch potato with no pain, or so you can go out and do a little partying, then you are asking with the wrong motive. God wants you to be healed so you can testify to others of His goodness and His love, influencing them for the cause of Christ.
Why are you asking the Lord to prosper you? Is it so you can retire early and buy what you want? Or is it so you can truly have a greater impact for the Lord, supporting missionaries or feeding the poor? What are your underlying motives? If you really want to know whether the things that come to you in your quiet time are truly of the Holy Ghost or not, ask yourself, “Who does it primarily benefit? Does it bring glory to me or to God? How will it affect souls?” Be honest with yourself, because God knows your heart. If the honest answer is, “Lord, this is something I see bringing increase to your Kingdom,” then it’s of Him.