Watch: Vicky’s Testimony

Vicky shares how she became very committed to attending a particular prayer meeting because she felt that was where she could feel closest to God, not realising that she was misled by a false spirit into believing that she could not hear from God otherwise. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit led her to the truth. Praise God!

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Video transcript

We’re living in an era of fake news, carefully curated narratives, and virtual realities.

This is why a personal relationship with God and biblical literacy are so important to cultivate today.

Hi, my name’s Vicky and I’m an American-born Chinese who, through absolutely no plan or intention, has been living abroad for more than a decade.

My parents were immigrants. So, growing up, we experienced struggle, some food insecurity, lots of anxiety and very often, the feeling of not belonging or feeling welcomed.

But thankfully, I found God in college.

After some years of being exposed to the Bible, attending church, and exploring God’s Word, I received the Holy Spirit. It was one of those tingly experiences where I felt a warmth start from the tips of my toes go all the way up to the top of my head, and the realization that, “Yes, Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died for me. For me!

Since then, my faith journey has been one that’s like a combination of your daily commute interspersed with some road trips across bumpy roads and lots of varied scenery. Over the years, my view of God has evolved from being that of an amazing but distant Father-Creator, to One who is all powerful and knowing.

And I would say I’m still in the process of discovering just how much of a true refuge God Himself is – what it means to live life as a child of God, guided by His Spirit.

And just as God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit have existed as a community since the very beginning, we’re not meant to go it alone.

I’ve been blessed by many like-minded believers in my life and we regularly meet to study the Bible, seek the Holy Spirit in prayer, and help each other to practically apply biblical principles in life, as well as correct one another.

And that’s why I’m here today. For those of you in the faith, you know Ephesians 6:12 “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” And in Matthew 24, Jesus warns about the future and talks about wars, famines, earthquakes, people betraying and hating one another etc. He first tells the disciples to “not let anyone mislead you” though.

This is why a personal relationship with God and biblical literacy are so important to cultivate today. We’re living in an era of fake news, carefully curated narratives, and virtual realities.

I’m sure you’ve experienced how easy it is to get confused over what’s alternative facts and what’s real.

A lot of times, there is a grain of truth that gets wrapped up nicely and because of our own experiences, tendencies, personal desires – what have you – the slippery slope is not far off.

So recently, I was praying with friends over my “struggle” with hearing God. For many months, I’d been praying for the ability to “hear” God better. I was envious of others who seemed to get downloads from Him all the time, either through direct dreams or actual thoughts deposited in their brains. Sometimes, I would get an image in my head or perhaps see a word; but no active dreaming.

I would pray and be met with silence or get distracted.

Then one day, a friend invited me to a gathering where a group of believers regularly met to praise God. And it was wonderful! Live music, just worshipping and singing to God. And this was accompanied by scripture, sharing of some personal encounters, prophecy, and prayer. I found myself much more focused and able to pray during these times of worship. And really looking forward to not only the music and time set aside for personal prayer, but also to the sharing at the end.

Pretty soon, I found myself regularly attending and scheduling my activities around these gatherings because I felt that was the most “effective” place where I could meet with God. This went on for more than a year and I even invited other friends to join or visit.

Eventually, folks at this gathering went their separate ways.

Looking back, I realise that I need to be very careful about what I expose myself to.

When I was praying with friends, first, God showed me that I had inadvertently idolised my dad. I grew up being “Daddy’s girl” and he was my key source of comfort. So, when he got sick and passed away, it was devastating and even though it’s been years – I’m still dealing with the wounds.

God showed me that instead of having Him as my first love, I had put the memory of my dad up on a pedestal and that is what was blocking me from hearing God. So, I repented for idolising my dad, holding onto earthly comforts and coping mechanisms, and asked God to take the primary position in my heart. After that, my mind became clearer.

And then the Holy Spirit brought us to the realisation that I had submitted myself to a spirit of false comfort at these gatherings.

There were things that should have rang alarm bells – the focus on one person leading, the over reliance on music, but mainly, the belief that I can only experience God at that particular gathering. While I have no doubt that God uses all situations for His purpose and benefit, I had to cut spiritual ties with this group. Once I did that, I felt a tension in my jaw relax.

This is an example of how subtle and nuanced the slippery slope can be. Even with well-intentioned and loving people, there are many influences and pathways the enemy can use to get you off-track from God. Sometimes, it is years in the making and can mean the difference between behaving “goodly” vs. “godly”.

In John 10, Jesus talks about the “Good Shepherd and His Sheep” – He knows His own sheep and they know His voice.

Being able to hear God’s voice means knowing His character. And that comes from consistently choosing Him first.

It is this personal relationship that will empower you to live the life God intends for you.

The big “Aha!” for me was realising that there is no need to strive to be close to God. I just needed to confess and ask for His revelation and presence.

The Holy Spirit is a gift you receive once you believe; no need to work for Him. For me, the combination of past trauma and self-accusations had caused me to forget about my direct access to God. And so, I went looking elsewhere and could have ended up in a bad place.

Thankfully, God revealed this before I had gone too far off-course.

To finish with a sailing analogy, the North Star has been used as a reference point for centuries to keep ships moving in the right direction. Instead of drifting in an ocean of wishful thinking and human wisdom, have you made God your North Star?

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