“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” 1 Corinthians 2:12
You’ve heard those voices in your head, haven’t you? The sinister ones who whisper awful things? Things like….
“You’re an absolute failure.”
“You’re so ugly.”
“No one likes you.”
“Nothing you do is good enough.”
Yep, we’ve all heard these persuasive ambassadors of discouragement. If you’re a writer, I’ll bet you’ve heard this one, too: “No one wants to read what you’ve written.” (Ha! That actually might be true for me!)
It’s very easy to succumb to deceitful words from the consummate liar (Satan) and his demonic minions. They dearly love to blister us with messages that tear us down, rob us of energy, and defeat us in battle.
Have you ever stopped to listen, though, to the “good voice”? From your Best Friend?
I’m referring, of course, to the Holy Spirit. When Jesus approached his hour of death, He promised to send His friends a Helper, His very own Spirit, to guide them.
At the beginning of John 15, Jesus advises His disciples that He is the vine, and they will be fruitful branches only as they abide in Him. He calls them to remain in His love, that their joy may be full. And they won’t have to do it in their own power. “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.” (v. 26)
That same Holy Spirit—an active part of the Trinity at the dawn of creation…the Power of the Pentecost…the Keeper, so to speak, of the “wind and flames” of soul revival—is always with us. If we belong to Christ, His Holy Spirit is our constant Companion and Guide.
When He speaks, there are times He uses a megaphone. And sometimes, only a tiny whisper. In either case, we better be ready to listen.
How can you know for certain that the messages you receive are from Him?
Remember that the Holy Spirit always tells the truth. He cannot lie. Therefore, what He tells us is in direct opposition to Satan. The Holy Spirit’s mission is to build us up, infuse us with His strength and power, and ensure His victory in our lives. When we listen to His voice, we are encouraged, fortified, and renewed. He tells us to persevere, to lean on Him in the battle.
How about those moments of conviction, though, when we’re getting signals from Him that we’ve messed up? That we’ve sinned and caused Him pain?
The Holy Spirit does point out our sinful nature but only for His purposes of calling us to repentance…never to belittle us or leave us wallowing in guilt. Instead, He invites us to turn our faces toward Him and away from wrongdoing, so that we will experience His loving forgiveness, purchased by Christ.
I can tell you from personal experience that, when I pay attention, it becomes easier to discern Spirit-origin thoughts from Satan-driven ones. Usually, our Comforter challenges me to be bold, invites me to be grateful, and reminds me to keep my mouth shut when appropriate!
That’s not to say I always get perfectly clear directions—sometimes the Spirit simply commands me to step out in faith and follow Him into the unknown.
I don’t always like what the Spirit tells me; you can be assured I have argued with Him many times. When things don’t turn out the way I want, it’s awfully hard to hear His voice…or to experience His deafening silence when I am angry, afraid, or in wretched despair. Like Elijah, I want to turn my back on God at those moments and flee from His presence, instead of running into His arms for comfort.
It’s quite remarkable to find out afterward that He has continued to pursue me. He is faithful to me when I am not. He woos me back into His presence with His still, small voice.
The very best way to listen to the Holy Spirit is to read His words in the Bible. As you read, pray for the Spirit to illuminate your heart and mind to know His truth.
What “voices” will you heed this week? Will you tune your heart to hear the Spirit’s whispers? Will you find yourself captivated with His thunder? Will you dismiss the lies of Satan in order to hear the Spirit’s message of truth and comfort in pain?
As He has promised in Jeremiah 33:3, you can call to Him, and He will answer you…”and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”
We are not guaranteed a rose garden on this earth. We are not always given instant answers. But we are ultimately assured of the unimaginable privilege of hearing the universe-creating Spirit speak to us with His loving voice…if we dare to listen.
Holy Spirit, fall fresh on us today with Your power, Your wisdom, Your comfort. You are the living breath of God, and we lean into You now for strength. Your words are life to us. Grant us courage to accept Your truth and the power to act on it. Inspire us to step out boldly in faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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© Copyright 2022 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.