The Spirit Says What? (ATP)
Does the Holy Spirit communicate with us differently than God? How so? Sometimes I think I hear directly from God, or feel the Holy Spirit nudging me to do something.
Sometimes people get really confused with the whole Spirit part of God. We often way over complicate this experience. People are also often deceived into thinking that their thoughts or desires, because they come from the inside and feel good, are God speaking to them. I’ve heard so many times, God said this or God said that. Often the claim is made and I know it was never God. How can I know? It is because I understand the Word. So let’s bring some balance to this.
Let’s first address the question of Who is speaking to us. The primary way I believe God will speak to us is His word. 2 Peter 1:19 in the Wuest An Expanded Translation says, “And we have the prophetic word as a surer foundation…” The prophetic word is the written word of God. An incredibly important verse for people that are being led by the Spirit is found in 1 John 4:1. It says, “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.” How do we test the spirits? Simple, the surer foundation that is the Word or our Bible.
This is what we must understand about God. He is not a god of confusion. Jesus only did and said what He received from the Father. Likewise we are told in John 16:13, “…the Spirit of truth… will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak…”. This is the Holy Spirit. He relays only that which comes from the Father. In 2 Timothy 3:16 we are told all scripture is God breathed. The conclusion we can then draw is, if it’s God it comes from one source but through various methods. The Father is always the source, the method can vary.
Now, what about understanding the method? The Word is easy, that is already written. Whether by the Words of Jesus or by the prophets we have God’s word and we can be sure of it. But then there’s this spirit thing, what do we do with that. John 16:13 tells us that the Spirit is the spirit of truth. We know God’s word is truth, so we can then understand anything the Spirit says to us WILL ALWAYS line up with the Word. Notice I did not say our interpretation of the Word, but the truth of the Word! You can manipulate the truth and make it say what you want and many people do. That does not make it truth and there is no justification in that. The Word is meant to change us, not the other way around.
Romans 8:16 says, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” and this is how the leading of God works. Sometimes, and it’s extremely rare, we can hear God’s voice. I say it’s extremely rare because God’s chosen method is “an inward witness.” People who talk about how much God speaks to them are generally in error. Often these people have extreme areas of life that are messed up. I know this, if God is speaking to you verbally so much, He’s first going to be dealing with the sin you embrace!
I try to never say, “God said” though sometimes I slip and do. I try to use words such as “I heard in my spirit,” or “I sensed” as these would be more accurate. The nudging you sense is not so much God speaking as it is Him bearing witness and that is exactly how God most often leads. We can interpret this as words but it’s really not. When this nudging is in line with the Word, not our interpretation of it, then God has spoken.
In closing I want to stress the importance of learning how God “speaks” to you. Learn how God deals with you by listening on the inside and comparing it to His word. As you do, you will become increasingly accurate and effective in following His leading. He will guide you into all truth and you will be blessed!