Counterfeit Spiritual Gifts
by Gayle Rogers
In 1988 I left a life of sin and alcoholism, graciously delivered by the Lord Jesus Christ, and moved to San Diego. He had carried me through many years of emotional and physical abuse. I wanted to start over again and devote my life fully to Christ. So, I settled in on a new job, a church, and a place to live.
Shortly thereafter, I met a woman at work who said she had the gift of prophecy. She related this as we were walking out of the office to take a break.
Grabbing her forearm, I begged with delight, "Give me one!" We became friends and she moved into my studio apartment as a roommate. It was a time in my life when I was very lonely. I had no close friends and it was a blessing to have a new friend that I could share things with who was a believer.
"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world." 1 John 4:1
"Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many...For false christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible even the elect." Matthew 24:5,24
One thing that really fascinated me as a new Christian was the gifts of the Spirit. I had seen various ministers on Christian television programs speak in tongues, give words of knowledge, prophesy, even heal people of their physical problems. I wanted God to be a part of my life like He was a part of theirs. One TV minister would even talk about the gift of tongues being the subsequent evidence of the born-again experience. I knew I qualified for that because I already had Christ in my heart. So, I expectantly waited for His hand to move the same way in my life.
ONE TV MINISTER WOULD EVEN TALK ABOUT THE GIFT OF TONGUES BEING EVIDENCE OF BEING BORN AGAIN.
I was faithful to Christ, but I wanted to be closer to Him and didn't know quite how to get there. I had given up a long-term relationship when I came out of my old lifestyle and I needed to feel God's acceptance of me, now that it was just me and the Lord. I didn't know the real motives of my heart at the moment, or the brokenness that hid my inner battle with rejection and worthlessness. But I hoped if He would grant me the gift of His Holy Spirit then the emptiness of my life would be filled.
ASSEMBLY OF GOD, WORD OF FAITH AND OTHER SPIRIT-FILLED CHURCHES IN THE AREA
My friend and I would go to services, Bible studies and activities at Assembly of God, Word of Faith and other "Spirit-filled" churches in the area. We would get together in the evening to pray and wait upon the Lord. I looked forward to those moments with a secret hope that the Lord might have a special word just for me, through her, especially since something supernatural would happen each time.
A spirit would come over my friend as we prayed. It was a holy one, I thought. I watched the reaction as her breathing would change and get deeper. Her torso moved back and forth as she yielded to the spirit's will. Then, her hands would raise and the words would come. Beautiful words. Spiritual words. Words that spoke of the beauty of the courts of heaven. I was amazed! My friend would also see visions. There were tingling sensations in her hands as if she possessed the power to heal. The "Lord" we prayed to would further extend his grace by directly answering our questions. Another presence would come over us bringing a lovely, light feeling and a release of laughter from our souls. It was as if angels had come down to minister to us. This "Lord" we were experiencing gave much personal attention and I felt privileged to be a part of it.
TRANSFERENCE OF DEMONIC SPIRITS
One evening as we were praying she turned to me and said with assurance, "You want to be a prophet." I thought to myself, of course I do, anything to show that I was accepted by God! We're supposed to desire spiritual gifts, aren't we? That's what the Bible said (or so I misinterpreted). So, she laid her hand on my shoulder and prayed for me to receive the gift of prophecy. I echoed to the "Lord" my willingness to receive. That's when things really began. Transference of spirits. All those incredible things I saw in her came to me. I didn't feel a thing at first, but they were there. Except the spirits that came were not from God at all. They were from Satan, spirits sent to counterfeit the true gifts of the Spirit and deceive the Church. And, I was totally unaware of it.
It took months of discovery and practice to understand exactly what this "Lord" (who I didn't know was false) was saying through his "gifts" that began to develop in me. What a precious thing it was to hear for the first time that still small voice the Bible talks about. I rejoiced in ignorance that I could finally hear his voice like so many Christians said they could. Next, I gathered up the courage to start sharing with others, one on one, the messages the "Lord" was providing. I didn't want to disappoint the "Lord" by frustrating his mission for me and being too shy to talk about the revelations he was so profusely sharing. The voice of my "Jesus" promised a ministry, a husband, and many glories ahead. I couldn't wait to start.
SPEAKING OUT HIS WORDS IN CHURCH
Next, my "Jesus" began to encourage me to speak out his words in church. Being a very quiet person this was not an easy thing to do. But, he convinced me that my silence was preventing him from blessing his children, and after much self-examination, I could not in good conscience be the one to hinder God from sharing his love with his Church. I began to speak words of exhortation as led by this "spirit" at a few Wednesday night services. People would come up to me afterward wanting to get more of the inside story of what the "Lord" was saying.
I remember seeing a woman and her husband as I entered the church lobby one evening. She broadly smiled in recognition and said, "Are you the one who gives words of prophecy? You are, aren't you?" I was so humbled and awed that God would entrust me with such great responsibilities among His people. But, I didn't know that my days as a prophet would be cut short.
The pastor of my church called at work and asked if I would come to his office and discuss the prophecies I had been giving. I was scared to death. When the meeting came the pastor respectfully acknowledged my sincerity and desire to serve the Lord. However, he did not have a witness in his spirit that what I was saying was entirely from the Lord. But, in the future, if I felt that the Lord was giving me a word for the church, to pass a note up during the service, and he would make an opening for me to speak if there was a confirmation in his spirit to do so. He also asked me to honor a silence of six months so I could spend time in prayer and reflection to know exactly how the Lord was leading me.
FIFTH OR SIXTH PERSON HE HAD RECENTLY ASKED TO SUSPEND THEIR PUBLIC PROPHESYING
The pastor ended the meeting without an offer of specific help or interest to further examine the matter. He did mention that he had talked with the other pastors of the church about the possibility of having a class on prophecy for people who felt they were led by the Lord in this gift, but nothing ever came of it. He eased my discomfort by saying I wasn't the only one he had spoken to in the church, but rather the fifth or sixth person that he had recently asked to suspend their public prophesying for a season of prayer and reflection. Our meeting took less than 30 minutes. Besides the embarrassment of the meeting I was very confused. I knew another pastor in a nearby home church who felt my prophetic gift was true and supported me in it. I remembered the times I heard the congregation gasp in awe as I spoke the words given to me. Who should I believe? My hidden desire to possess the power of spiritual gifts overruled this latest objection and no further doubt remained about what my "Lord" had called me to do.
I STARTED TO HEAR VOICES...A MOCKING VOICE ...A SEXUALLY PERVERTED VOICE
Things started to change after that. I started to hear voices, thoughts in my mind, other than my "Jesus". There was a mocking voice, a sexually perverted voice, another one threatened me and imitated voices of people I knew. I didn't know what was happening. I thought I was being attacked by Satan and his army because the "Lord" had so gifted me for a special mission. I couldn't control their thoughts going through my mind and they were beginning to take over. I was so frightened. Week after week the battle for my mind continued. I struggled to find the voice of my "Lord" to follow once more, but there were too many voices in my head.
In desperation I drove out to a deserted area on the edge of a canyon. Maybe if I walked in the quiet of nature I could find him again and get help. I cried out, "Jesus, help me! Help me! Help me! What is going on? I need help, Jesus!" And for the very first time, the real Lord, the real Jesus spoke to me and said,"I only offer you Truth."
Not comprehending His meaning I repeated the words. "You only offer me truth? Truth? What is the truth, Jesus? What is the truth?" Then the answer came. A wordless understanding gripped my inner being and I finally knew what the truth was. The spirit I had been listening to for the past nine months was not Jesus, was not my Lord at all, but, in fact, a demon. I was in shock. The thought was too horrifying to face. I didn't want to consider that there were unseen adversaries, possessing intelligence and purpose, who actually could enter my personal thoughts and pretend to be the Holy Spirit or Jesus. Reading about it in the Bible and experiencing it were two different things.
Praise God, Jesus quickly overturned Satan's deception with the simplicity of Truth. He mercifully answered my cry and I am so humbled and grateful that He did. To be saved from a future of mental illness, to be abundantly forgiven for consorting with demons and representing their deceptive words and actions as the oracles of the Most High God, to be given another chance after I failed so miserably as a Christian, and to be accepted once more as His child is more grace than I could imagine. But He did it for me.
The battle since then has been a difficult one. The Lord has been patient as I work through the process of discovering the sins, the buried emotions, the concealed motives of my heart and the misuses of Scripture where the enemy has held ground in my life. Christ has led me through repentance for the sins of witchcraft, and the fleshly desire that welcomed in the false spiritual gifts. He has shown me the dark areas of my heart and the idols I have worshipped instead of Him. There is more work to do to become pure before the Lord, but I know He is faithful to His promise and will help me along the way. I am still learning and my gratitude for His enduring salvation is more than I can express.
MANY UNGUARDED BELIEVERS ARE MANIPULATED AND DEMONIZED THIS WAY
I testify from personal experience that demons can enter a Christian's thoughts with loving Christian words and offer spiritual-sounding exhortations. Demons know Scripture and how to use it for their purposes. Many unguarded believers are manipulated and demonized this way. They are gently guided to lead others astray with awesome spiritual feelings and manifestations, believing that Scripture is being fulfilled before their eyes. My heart cries to the Shepherds that you might earnestly protect your flocks from these dangers and seek the counsel of those who can help. I have seen the genuine gifts in operation, but I have seen and heard a great deal more that are questionable. The balance to maintain as a faithful steward is found in the call to be sober and vigilant. His gifts of the Spirit are real and will humbly yield to the light of thorough examination.
Seek Him in prayer. He is waiting to help.
In Christ, Gayle Rogers
"But He knows the way that I take; When He has
I shall come forth as gold." Job 23:10
© 1995-2013 Tricia Tillin of Banner Ministries. All rights reserved. Cross+Word Website: http://www.banner.org.uk/ This document is the property of its author and is not to be displayed on other websites, redistributed, sold, reprinted, or reproduced in printed in any other format without permission. Websites may link to this article, if they provide proper title and author information. One copy may be downloaded, stored and/or printed for personal research. All spelling and phraseology is UK English.