DISCERNING THE VOICE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Sub-topic: The word and the witness.
Man is a spirit that has a soul and lives in a body, this we ascertain by the scripture where Apostle Paul speaking to the church Thessalonica says “May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23b NIV). Man as a spirit means he’ll be able to transact the realm of the spirit. This ability has been used by many for both negative and positive impacts.
After the fall of man, he remained a spiritual entity (dead or alive) and still operated in the spiritual realm. Some still had moments of communication with God as we found in the Old Testament. Different forms of spiritual communication were seen; the prophets spoke the mind of God to the people and the priests also used the Urim and Thummin. On the other spectrum, mediums were also consulted, dead spirits were invoked and the list goes on.
The ministry of Jesus Christ, followed by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, however, brought a new dispensation where every believer now has access to God and is entitled to the voice of God. Jesus speaking in St. John’s Gospel chapter 10 and verse 27 said “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me”. Unfortunately, this is not the reality for all believers. We struggle with discerning God’s voice, I am not separate from this dilemma myself but I hope this piece helps the reader in enjoying this gift that is freely given to the believer.
Why discern the voice of God?
John 4:24 says,
“God is spirit and everyone worshipping must worship in spirit”
We find all over the scripture different voices; people spoke, a snake that spoke, Satan spoke, angels of all kinds spoke, God spoke, humans spoke, Jesus spoke, and even a donkey spoke. All manner of voices exist and they are all speaking, most of which speak falsehood and deceit. Hence, spirits and voices must be judged and examined so that we are not drawn away into deceit and darkness.
The Holy Spirit is the one and true access of the believer into the world of the spirit, when the believer goes through another means, he is drawn away in deceit. Satan, understanding this would appear as an angel of light, and as such, he has deceived many. The inability to discern accurately is a shade of spiritual immaturity, Apostle Paul speaking about spiritual maturity said “solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14 NKJV)
How to discern the voice of God?
- By the word of God.
‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.’ Psalms 119:105 NKJV
Yeah you probably expected this, the scripture we say is the boundary of God’s commitment to man, we find in the scripture all things; promises, prophecies, and divine principles.
God is not limited but we can find hear him and observe His patterns from the pages of Scripture. Whatever God speaks wouldn’t contradict His word and therefore we can subject the heard voice to the scrutiny of scripture. If the voice or the word we have heard doesn’t agree with biblical principles, it should be discarded so that we can stay in truth. God always offers guidance through the word.
The word is called God’s modus operandi. In the scripture, we find that the Word and the Spirit of God are one and they always agree (1 John 5:7). The word works!
2. By the Inward Witness.
‘For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.’ Romans 8:14 NKJV
Whilst writing this the Holy Spirit whispered to me ‘Adùnbárìn’ which is a Yoruba word that means ‘sweet to walk with.’ It’s so sweet to walk with the Holy Spirit!
Our generation searches for the spectacular in everything either by the appearance of angels or the appearance of Jesus. All these are great but I believe genuinely that the Spirit of God working within us and leading us is as spectacular as hearing the audible voice of God or having an encounter with Jesus.
If by the Spirit, we also have access to the father, then by the Spirit, we have access to the voice of the Father (Ephesians 2:18 NKJV) The Spirit of God is also our seal of redemption by which Christ will present us holy and without blame to God at the end.
The Spirit also bears witness to our spirit, meaning the Spirit will give witness to our spirit on matters and directions including our status as God’s children (Romans 8:16 NKJV).
Jesus said that the Spirit will stay with us forever John 14:16, teaching and directing us in all matters so that we don’t fall into deceit and falsehood.
In conclusion, the voice of God is our right as God’s children. God is more desirous to lead us than we are ready to be led. We have the right to enjoy God’s leading but we do not have the right to dictate the way we will be led by God.
Written by David Olaluwoye