GOD HAS A purpose and a destiny for all of His children. He has prepared great things for us. But too many Christians fall short of God’s plan. This happens when His children do not know how to clearly recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit.
First Corinthians 2:9–10 (NIV 1984) says, “ ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’—but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.”
We can see from this passage that the Holy Spirit wants to show us God’s plans and purposes for our lives. It’s up to us, however, to be sensitive to His voice and follow His leadings. We do this by spending time reading God’s Word and communing with Him through prayer.
During our times of communion with the Lord, we will rarely hear an audible voice when the Holy Spirit “speaks” to us. What we will sense is a strong leading to do something. Or we might feel strongly about going in a certain direction.
The Holy Spirit wants to show us God’s plans and purposes for our lives.
When I was young in the Lord and learning to recognize the Holy Spirit’s voice, I often wondered, “Is that the Holy Spirit speaking to me, or is that just me thinking about these things?”
My heart’s desire above anything else was to not do anything motivated by my flesh. In other words, I didn’t want to do things that Lynette wanted to do if they weren’t things that God wanted me to do.
I wanted to be a vessel for the Lord and do whatever God had for me to do. I wanted to make sure that I was acting on His will and not mine. And to obey God’s will, I knew I had to hear His voice clearly.
It’s also God’s desire for us to be able to recognize His voice so He can lead and direct us in every area of our lives. John 16:13 says, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”
In addition to God showing us His plans and purposes for our lives, He also wants to protect us. He wants to warn us of harmful events, as well as people we should be wary of.
Consider the following examples of how these warnings might occur: While driving home from work one day, you begin to feel you should take a different route than you normally take. And in doing so, you are spared from being in a traffic accident. Or when planning a vacation, you might really want to go to a certain place. But as you plan the trip, you get the feeling you should not go there at this time. Or you may be considering going into business with someone, but on the inside—in your spirit—you’re getting a “check.” Although it may appear in the natural that partnering with that particular person would be a good thing, you’re sensing the Lord telling you to watch out—perhaps because that person’s motives are not pure.
In situations like this last one, when another person is involved, you want to know that what you are sensing is the Lord and not your own imagination. You don’t want to falsely accuse someone—especially when you don’t have any proof of what you’re sensing but only have a “gut feeling.”
At times in my life, I’ve gone back and forth in my mind wondering if what I was sensing about another person was me or God. The Bible says we have not because we ask not (James 4:2). So one day I asked the Lord to give me some guidelines. You see, God doesn’t want us to wonder. He wants us to know with certainty when the Holy Spirit is speaking to us.
Here are the guidelines the Lord gave me. He instructed me to ask myself the following three questions.
- DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING AGAINST THAT PERSON IN THE NATURAL? Sometimes your personality clashes with another person’s. When that happens, it doesn’t mean God is warning you about him or her. You just don’t like that person.
- ARE YOU JEALOUS OF THAT PERSON? Maybe the person is very successful and what you are really feeling is jealousy of his or her position and success.
- HAVE YOU ALREADY BEEN THINKING ABOUT THAT PERSON? When thoughts about someone come from out of the blue, it’s usually an indication that the Holy Spirit is bringing this person to your mind.
It’s not our place to judge anyone. And we never want to hold a grudge against someone or be angry with them. It is our responsibility to judge our hearts and motives (1 Cor. 11:31; John 7:24; Luke 6:37). But if you are undecided about teaming up with someone in a joint venture, ask yourself these questions. You will be better able to discern what to do. If you can answer “no” to all three of these questions, then you’re probably not conjuring up what you are sensing in your spirit. Rather, the Holy Spirit is trying to warn you.
The devil wants to get us off track from God’s plans and purposes for our lives. But God did not leave us alone or defenseless while we are here on the earth. The Holy Spirit, who was sent to live inside born-again believers, is greater than the devil and all of his forces who seek to devour us (1 John 4:4).
God reassures us that we are more than conquerors in every situation of life (Rom. 8:37). As we spend time communing with the Lord, He will clearly show us things to come and what direction to take. And as we follow His leadings, we willwalk on the path that leads us to our God-given destiny.
When following the leadings of the Holy Spirit, one of the best indicators of whether you are on the right track is your level of peace. Romans 14:19 instructs us to “follow after the things which make for peace.”
Allow peace to be your guide and boldly step out in what God is telling you to do or say. When you obey, the right door will open and the right words will fill your mouth.
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