Ways the Holy Spirit Leads

How does the Spirit lead? God speaks in multiple ways. I will mention some basic examples.

Through the Word

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the specific word of God (Rom. 10:17). Not just reading, but hearing. This implies when the Spirit illuminates the truth connected to scriptural words, He is in that sense speaking. Often, when we are in need, and when we are just in our regular devotional time in the Word, words will in a sense leap off the page into our hearts. The Spirit witnesses to our spirits that a particular promise is the answer to our need. When the Spirit thus reveals a truth, we can obtain it through faith (Heb. 11:33). This is God working in us to lead us to a faith response and enablement to obey (Phil. 2:13).

Deep Knowing through the Witness of the Spirit

The Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God (Rom. 8:16). Notice that the Spirit speaks—bears witness. Also, notice where the Spirit speaks—our spirits. This refers to our innermost being, that “new man” part of us that is God’s nature implanted into us (Eph. 4:24; 1 John 3:9). This witness refers not to outside audible voices or even our outer man, but our innermost being where the Holy Spirit indwells us. Learn to discern your core.

In the example of Romans 8:16, the witness of the Spirit regards a particular knowledge: that we are the children of God. Not that we feel like, for feelings reside in the soul level and can come and go, but that we are the children of God. When the Spirit thus speaks to our spirits, our core, it involves knowing, not feeling. It involves a knowledge of a given matter, not a mere impression. This precedent informs us that the Holy Spirit at times bears witness, He speaks, and when He speaks, He speaks to our spirits. He essentially says at times, “This is the way, walk in it” (Is. 30:21). Not a feeling, but a knowing. Down deep, you know.

The Holy Spirit forbad Paul from going to Asia and Bithynia to get his team to Macedonia (Acts 16:6-7). We have no reason to believe this guidance was any different from how the Spirit guides today. Although there are times when we may get this wrong, since it is subjective, it is nonetheless a biblical truth.
Sometimes through reading a given author or in conversation with someone, words are communicated that for you consist of a word from the Lord. You sense the witness of the Holy Spirit. The one writing or speaking may have no idea that they were a channel of God speaking to you, but you know. In this case, the Spirit bears witness to you through someone’s writing or conversation.

The Peace of God

Let the peace of God rule in your hearts (Col. 3:16). The word rule means umpire, determine, arbitrate. Of course, this leadership is always within the confines of the book the Holy Spirit wrote—the Bible.
The peace of God is akin to deep knowing, but does not involve a sense of words. Just sweet peace. Not a passing peace, but a stable peace.

John Van Gelderen

John Van Gelderen

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