By Don Gentry
Do you want to learn how to hear God speak to you? Then you must understand the role of the Holy Spirit. You want to know why you don’t know the Holy Spirit very well, then keep reading. I will warn you that this is longer than most of my posts. This is just a brief snippet of understanding the Holy Spirit; there is nothing fast about understanding His role in our lives. We even live a culture that has influenced us to almost eradicate our understanding of how to communicate with God. I encourage you to read on.
We are told that we have five senses- sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing. I would like you to add a sixth sense. Your spiritual sense. It wasn’t until the late 1800’s that the philosophy of pragmatism hit the scene and attempted to help people resolve some conflict or discrepancies between science, reason, and religion/spiritual thought. You can trace this early philosophical struggle back to the age of enlightenment as well. Before I bore you with the history of Philosophy and how it affects your daily life without you even knowing it, let me just say that these movements have all but erased our ability to engage in a truly meaningful spiritual relationship with our creator.
God has given us the Holy Spirit that we humans might engage in a relationship with Him. The church has taught that we invite Jesus into our hearts, but in reality we put our faith in the work of the fully human fully God incarnation through Jesus Christ. At the point of salvation, we actually invite the Holy Spirit to come live inside of us.
Look at what Jesus says.
John 14:23-26 (NIV2011)
23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
Jesus uses the word “we”, (Dad and I) are sending you our spirit. The advocate, the Holy Spirit is now with us.
Paul gives us a great look at this when he gives the Ephesians instruction on the role of the Holy Spirit as well. We are sealed and given the Holy Spirit at the point of belief in the work of Christ our savior. At that point we have personal access to our relationship with the Holy Spirit.
13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14 (NIV2011)
The Holy Spirit is the one that resides in our hearts, not Jesus.
21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (NIV2011)
Because of all of this, it is the Holy Spirit’s role in the Godhead to keep us in right relationship. That is why the scriptures say:
30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30 (NLT)
It is because of these truths and the fact that at the point of creation (yes, we have to believe that God created man) God “breathed” life into man so that we can walk in relationship with the Holy Spirit. God only gave breath to man, not animals or any other living organism. That word “breathed” signified the giving of his Spirit. He has intended on living in us since the beginning. At the point of birth man(kind) then begins their journey of either searching for God or rejecting him. If we choose His path of redemption, He then gives us the power and the access to live in right relationship with himself as if we were walking with God in the garden of Eden. The Holy Spirit is given to us that we might live in relationship with God.
My dear friends, if you have stuck with me thus far, and if you do not know how to communicate with the Holy Spirit, you do not know how to communicate with God.
I could go on and on about what the Holy Spirit has come to do in your life but I fear you haven’t even read this far! I long for the day when God’s children actually yearn to walk closely with their creator!
Let me close with one last warning because we are talking about learning to hear God speak. Jesus goes on to say that the Holy Spirit is the advocate of truth.
26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. John 15:26 (NIV2011)
If the spirit is the truth, then we must know that there is also a spirit of deception. There is another power at work in this world other than God, and it is the power of evil and deception. He doesn’t come clothed in red or with a pitchfork in hand. Satan was around at the beginning of creation too. He knows how desperately he screwed up and he wants to take as many people with him as possible. The scriptures warn us that we must learn to test the spirits that exist in this world.
1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. 4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. 1 John 4:1-6 (NIV2011)
The Holy Spirit is more powerful than the spirits that wander in the world, but we must learn to walk in relationship with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit begins to teach us his voice by speaking to us through the Scriptures. He is the one who wrote the scriptures through men. THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL NEVER GO AGAINST THE WORD OF GOD, THE BIBLE. HE WROTE IT! You will never be able to differentiate the Holy Spirit’s voice in this world if you don’t read the Bible. He does use other sources at times, but He will never neglect what He wrote to us in the first place.
Think about it. Satan tempted Jesus not by misquoting scripture, but by misapplying it. What if Jesus wouldn’t have been able to correct Satan with a proper understanding of the Scriptures?
I am a firm believer that if you don’t know how to hear God, then you are infantile in your belief in Christ that you still argue with God about what sin is, let alone knowing how to discern God’s word.
Living in relationship with God is learning to communicate with the Holy Spirit. When you do that, you will stop asking the question, “how do I learn how to hear God.” If you read this far you are on your way to actually caring enough to hear God speak to you!
It is the absence of our dependence upon the Holy Spirit that causes us to live impotent Christ like lives. Learn to seek Him daily!