And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. John 14:16-17
I have heard Christians long for the days when people heard God’s audible voice. Somehow hearing an actual voice seems more spiritual or more valid. Prophets and leaders in the Old Testament often heard audible voices. Oh for the good old days…
The difficulty in hearing from God is how we know what is actually from God and what is really part of us. The theologian Lily Tomlin summed this up well, "Why is it that when we talk to God we’re said to be praying, but when God talks to us we’re schizophrenic?"
God doesn’t want us to be confused or to lack direction, so He gave us something that the prophets of old never had. God gave us His Spirit to live in us. Jesus told His disciples that when He left, the Counselor or the Comforter would take His place. The Spirit of truth wasn’t foreign to them. The Spirit was living with them. But, when Jesus ascended the Spirit’s role changed. The Spirit would no longer be just accompanying them. The Spirit would be indwelling every believer.
The presence of God’s Spirit changes how we go about life. The Spirit elevates our conscience. Things that we used to do freely bring about an internal struggle that wasn’t there before. Don’t beat yourself up over the struggling. God’s Spirit is working in you. When the struggle ceases, then worry.
The Spirit gives us insights that we couldn’t have any other way. Maybe we suddenly know something that we wouldn’t have known otherwise. Or let’s say that we’re asking God to bring someone to serve alongside us. Suddenly, a person that we never really thought about, pops up on our radar. We keep running into them. That’s something to pay attention to.
My more cerebral readers at this point are getting nervous that I am advocating some sort of hocus pocus. Here’s the test. Whatever you sense God speaking to you will be verified in other ways: God’s Word, prayer, circumstances, and other believers. Whatever doesn’t measure up, especially to God’s Word, should be ignored or written off as indigestion. Whatever passes the test of Scripture will also pass the test of time. Each confirmation will build our confidence in discerning God’s voice.
The presence of God’s Spirit in the life of a believer is a remarkable thing. The prophets of old never received such a gift. How would your life change if you truly grasped the power and presence of God in you?