Guidance of the Holy Spirit - Part 1
The Guidance of the Holy Spirit - Part 1
by Annette Capps
Jesus said in John 16:13, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.”
The disciples were dependent on Jesus to help them understand spiritual truths as well as everyday life. When Jesus left, they required help, just as we do. The Holy Spirit came to dwell with them and in them to give them understanding and access to all the wisdom of God.
“He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.” John 14:17
"PAYING ATTENTION TO OUR INWARD WITNESS CAN PREVENT TRAGEDY IN OUR LIVES AND LOVED ONES."
All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in the person of the Holy Spirit and He dwells within us! Paying attention to our inward witness (some call this intuition) can prevent tragedy in our lives and loved ones. The Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit and through that inner knowing we can follow His guidance.
4 Ways We Can Be Guided by the Holy Spirit
Each person is unique and the guidance we receive is unique to us. Let’s look at four of the ways that we perceive the guidance of the Holy Spirit:
- Seeing (Vision)
- Hearing (Auditory)
- Feeling (Kinesthetic)
Knowing or an inward witness is one of the most difficult to describe because knowledge is simply a concept. It is not physical, nor can you really physically describe it. When you “know” something, you just know it. Many times I have had this “knowing” about certain people. I’ve either known they were of a good spirit, or sometimes I’ve just known they were not to be trusted, something was amiss. How do you explain that? The Holy Spirit certainly knows all things, but I did not hear a voice or have a vision. I did not seek an “answer,” rather this was just an instantaneous knowledge that was transmitted and I received it.
My personal opinion is that people carry their “stuff” with them all the time. Their “stuff” could be all the decisions they have made, all the acts they have committed, their beliefs, thoughts, and motives. They wear these like clothes. Sometimes this “stuff” appears in their physical features. Have you ever looked at someone and thought, “Boy, have they had a hard life!” You could see it on their face.
The power of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word can make changes in someone from the inside out. I have met Christians who lived horrible lives in the past, but you can’t see it or know it, because they have totally let go of the past. It is no longer with them.
The real challenge with “knowing” is to remain non-judgmental even when you “know” things. Knowing will help protect you and guide you to make the right decisions, but it is not helpful to use that knowledge to judge another person’s life. Just observe and move on.
"LISTEN TO THE HOLY SPIRIT EVEN IF IT MEANS DISAPPOINTING SOMEONE."
Also be aware that what a person carries with them right now could be different a year from now depending on their spiritual growth and ability to let go of old beliefs, motives and thought processes. Part of the “stuff” we carry with us that is perceptible to everyone’s “knower” are intangible beliefs and thoughts. When a person carries a “victim-mentality,” others perceive this, especially perpetrators who victimize others. That is one of the reasons that the cycles repeat themselves.
Through knowing or sensing what is surrounding another person, we can avoid many pitfalls and not become involved with the wrong person.
Knowing About Situations
Many years ago, my ministry was growing and the employees were in need of more space for work and filling orders. There was a church in town that we were all associated with and had held meetings there, as well as being friends with the lady who was the pastor. The church needed to move out of the building, but there was a year left on the lease. I suggested that my ministry could sublease the building, relieving them, and giving us more space. Everyone was thrilled with this prospect, however, when it was time to sign the papers; I suddenly had a very unsettling feeling about the process. It felt like a large, heavy rock was in my stomach. I couldn’t get past it, so I backed out of the deal. Later I found out that there were liens and outstanding debts that I would have been obligated to pay if I had signed those papers. Thank God for the warning!
Sometimes situations will present themselves in your life that look good, sound good, and feel good. But somewhere in the process things change and you no longer have peace about it. When this happens, STOP. Either you don’t have enough information, the timing is wrong, or something has changed. It is a mistake to think that if you have a leading about a situation, you can jump right in. In every part of the process, it is imperative to listen for the Holy Spirit.
You could know that it would be good for you to refinance your house, but after completing the application, you don’t feel quite the same. Slow down and see what is going on. Is it the right timing? What if you waited 3-4 weeks and the interest rates went down? Is this the mortgage company that is right for you? You may delay for a week and find out you have been promoted on your job which entails a relocation. Often the Holy Spirit will give you the answer before you even know the question! Something is missing or something is not quite right. That doesn’t mean that your “knower” didn’t work, it just means that things will work out in a different way than you thought. A negative knowing is just as valuable as a positive knowing. If you don’t feel exactly right, don’t do it!
John 16:13 tells us that the Holy Spirit will tell us or show us things to come. I am convinced He always tries to warn us of things ahead of time if we will listen. I was teaching in a convention in California when I had a sudden urgent feeling that someone in my family was in danger. I excused myself from the dinner table and went to the hotel room and began to pray in the Spirit. It was then that I knew I was praying for my sister Beverly and her children. I asked for the Holy Spirit and the angels to intervene for her protection. When I called, I found that as my sister was traveling in Arkansas, her car narrowly avoided a fatal accident at that exact time.
One of the ways that I know the difference between ordinary fear and an impression of the Holy Spirit to pray for protection is that it is totally unexpected. If you are watching the evening news about terrorism and start having a bad feeling about going on vacation, then it’s hard to decipher whether you are worried because of the negative news report or the Holy Spirit is trying to warn you.
"BY STAYING NEUTRAL, PEACEFUL IN YOUR LIFE, YOU ARE OPEN TO THE LEADINGS OF THE SPIRIT."
Staying neutral is the best place for being able to tell the difference. Don’t saturate yourself with negativity in any form. If you are loaded down with negative thoughts and feelings all the time, how can you know when you are “checked” in your spirit, or receive a warning? By staying neutral, peaceful in your life, you are more open to the leadings of the Spirit.
When you have a leading to proceed in any matter, get as much information as you can. The information may or may not affect your final decision, but it may allow you to clear out problems before they grow to an unmanageable size. When I attempted to sublease that church building, I was faced with paying off debts I did not incur. If I had checked this out thoroughly, I would have obtained that information. Instead, I went on the positive feeling that was being generated. (I think this positive feeling was the pastor and employees’ relief and excitement that I felt.) Fortunately, even in my ignorance, the Holy Spirit got through to me. I almost overrode that because I did not want to disappoint everyone. That would have been a high price to pay to make others happy!
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