The Voice of the Holy Spirit (Week 3)
As we complete the third week of Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer, we looked a little more closely at the things that often characterized the Holy Spirit’s leadings and how He works to cause us to recognize His promptings.
The primary way God has spoken to His people has been through the person of the Holy Spirit, who confirms God’s written Word and applies it to our life. The Holy Spirit and the Bible go hand in hand. Richard Blackaby says, “When God speaks, He does not give revelation about Himself that contradicts what He has already revealed in Scripture. Rather, God speaks to give application of His Word to specific circumstances in your life. When God speaks to you . . . He is applying to your life what He already says in His Word.” God alone chooses how to speak to us. Isaiah 43:18-19 (MSG) says “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert; be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is!” John 16:13 says, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not be presenting his own ideas; he will be telling you what he has heard.” The Bible is the standard against which to measure anything you hear from God by other means. Anything the Holy Spirit reveals to you will always match up with the written Word. Why? Because the Holy Spirit was the One who gave us the Scriptures in the first place (2 Timothy 3:16), and He will never contradict Himself.
The Holy Spirit is a guide who can see what we cannot. He seeks to guide us through this life in order to get us to the Father’s desired destination for us. He sees the whole picture and knows what is going on in our life; big or small. If we don’t have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, we will not be connected with the Source of information that can steer us accurately. To hear God’s voice and be guided into His will for you, you must have the Holy Spirit. If you experience conviction in your life, celebrate! That means the Holy Spirit is there. He’s working, guiding, and changing you! Even if His direction may sometimes be momentarily uncomfortable, He can see the entire picture of your life and will save you true disaster in the long run. He is steering you into God’s will.
Have you ever wondered how you can be certain that your desires aren’t leading you in the wrong direction? It’s really very simple. Get into the Word and expect the Holy Spirit to speak to you through it. Through Scripture, you can verify if your intentions are in line with His. While you’re reading the Word, the Spirit will be reading you! I have learned that if I take time to seriously read, contemplate, and meditate on Scriptures, the Holy Spirit will supernaturally illumine them to cause me to know what God wants me to do. If I’m in a situation that’s particularly taxing and I’m not sure what to do, I begin my Bible reading with a prayer that clearly explains my need and asks the Holy Spirit to give me clear direction as a result of the time I spend in God’s Word. He doesn’t always respond as quickly as I would like, but He always honors such requests from his children, in His own timing. When He does reveal His will, we want to be sure we are listening and focusing on hearing His voice. Turn up the volume in your spiritual ears to catch the moment when a passage captures your attention, in an almost shocking way, and immediately draws your thoughts to how it applies to a specific situation in your life. When this happens, the Holy Spirit has orchestrated it. God has spoken.
If you are having trouble discerning God’s voice, could one of the problems be that you know what you should do but still wrestle with being obedient? If so, know that you are not alone. All believers have this same struggle. Even the great and faithful saints of the Bible found difficulty in always doing what they knew was the right thing. Paul talks about his struggles in Romans 7:15-19, look it up.
The Holy Spirit is using the Word to gradually purify our soul (mind, will, and emotions) to make us want to do what pleases God and brings Him glory. Often the Spirit prompts you to do something you don’t want to do, and it just doesn’t sound like a reasonable idea or something you feel like doing, but if you stay in the Word, the Holy Spirit will bring us around to God’s way of thinking. The Holy Spirit is constantly at work sanctifying you and changing your personality to suit His design for you. The more you surrender to Him and are conformed to the image of Christ, the less of a gap there will be between what He wants and what you want.
If you are serious about learning to discern God’s voice, you must get serious about studying His Word. It has become almost cliché in Christian circles to encourage one another to have a “quiet time,” but this is far more serious than you might think. The more we immerse ourselves in the Word, the more closely our thoughts, emotions, and decisions will align with what the Holy Spirit is saying to us. Every day, from every conceivable source, we’re saturated with messages that contradict God’s truths. If we don’t consciously attempt to combat those messages by saturating our minds with Scripture, our souls will be conformed to the world’s standards instead of God’s. The more Scripture you have hidden in your heart, the more opportunity the Holy Spirit will have to bring it instantly to your mind to verify how you should proceed.
I’m continually in awe that this very old book can give me such clear instructions for the present. If you truly want to know how to discern God’s voice, you must verify whatever you think you hear from God in light of His written Word. The Bible isn’t just an old book that has a lot of theology for us to digest, it’s the living Word of God. When you read it, you should feel the warmth of God’s breath on it as the Holy Spirit applies it to your particular situation, regardless of how specific and personal it is.
When God speaks to you within and confirms it without, be on the lookout for His direction. If you notice a consistent message confirmed through the leading of the Holy Spirit, Scripture, circumstances, and other people, pay close attention. God is repeating Himself to make sure you get the message. Aren’t you thankful that God never gives up on you, even if it takes you a while to recognize that He is the One speaking? I’m so glad that God knows that we’re just dust. He knows that as long as we’re clothed in the flesh, we aren’t always going to get it right; and when we do, it will have taken us many tries. But God uses each mistake to teach us a little more about how to recognize when He is speaking.
God is the God of right now. He doesn’t want us to regret yesterday or worry about tomorrow. He wants us to focus on what He is saying to us and putting in front of us right now. The Enemy’s voice will focus on the past and the future, but the voice of our God will focus on today. God’s voice tells us what we can do now. Satan’s voice tells us what we could do “if only.” You aren’t where you are today by chance. Sometimes God’s voice is clearest when we are in circumstances we don’t prefer. There’s something in your current situation that God is going to use to draw you closer to Him so He can tell you something about Himself and His plan for your life. No matter what tight spot you may find yourself in, ask God to open your ears to what He is saying in your circumstances.
My prayer for you is that you will open your heart completely to what the Spirit wants to teach you and the way He wants to teach it to you. Ask the Lord to remove any barriers or preconceived ideas about how God communicates, so that you can really start to discern His voice.
Priscilla Shirer Quotes-
– The Holy Spirit works in our hearts, in the hearts of others, and in the events of our lives to point us in His direction. He uses all these things to cause us to hear and heed His voice.
– When the Holy Spirit leads, He does so personally and individually.
– As God leads us un our journey toward Him, we each follow different avenues. The Holy Spirit draws us individual maps to follow.
– When the Holy Spirit speaks, His words come with such sudden, passionate authority that they will produce a holy amazement in you. The authority of His message will strike your inner man with such a blow that it will shake loose your old agenda and replace it with His new one.
My Favorite Things-
– Never think that the circumstances of your life have nothing to do with God’s will! They have everything to do with it. When you’re seeking God’s guidance, you should always reflect on the events the Lord is allowing to occur in your life.
– “I know that the Lord is speaking to me when He impresses something on my spirit internally and confirms it through a person or circumstance externally.” Tony Evans
– “When what I hear is confirmed by godly people in my life, I know the Lord is speaking to me. I also know He is speaking when what I hear and am led to do cannot be done without His assistance, protection, and guidance. He only speaks what brings glory to Himself!” Bishop Kenneth Ulmer
– “When I hear the same thing from two or three different people in a very short period of time, I know the Lord is speaking to me. It’s as clear as a Fed-Ex letter.” Steve Farrar
This Week’s Scripture Verses-
– Job 37:5
– John 16:13
– Romans 8:9
– Psalm 119:11
– James 1:25
– Psalm 62:11
– Proverbs 3:5-6
For Next Week–
Read Week Four, pages 66-82 in the workbook
Listen to Session Four Video (optional)
Group Discussion – Answer one question or as many as you like
1. How has God used multiple means to confirm what He was saying to you? (page 48)
2. What grief’s might the Holy Spirit spare us by warning against seeking attentions? (page 58)
3. Describe a time when God’s voice was evidenced by the impact it had on you. (page 63)
Have a great week!