4 Keys to Discerning the Guidance of the Holy Spirit

four keysA question that many ask is this: “When we are facing a decision, how do we know that we have the Holy Spirit’s guidance?” or “How can we discern between the voice of the Holy Spirit, and the many other voices shouting contradictory directions?”

There are four simple and basic keys that can help us recognize the true guidance and counsel that comes from the Holy Spirit. Using these four keys will help us to better discern the genuine from the counterfeit, discern the true from the false — so that we can come to know what is of the Holy Spirit, and what is not.

The First Key — The Source of the Holy Spirit’s Guidance is Yahuwah Elohim [the LORD God].

Our first and most important key is that we understand that the Holy Spirit is the very Spirit of, the presence of, the Living God, Yahuwah Elohim Himself, the Holy One of Israel! The Holy Spirit’s guidance begins with, originates from, and is the very nature and character of Yahuwah Elohim [the LORD God].

When the Holy Spirit speaks to us, He speaks instructions from Yahuwah, the Creator of heaven and earth, the Father of lights, the God of the Bible. Thus the nature of guidance from the Holy Spirit will reflect the character and wisdom of Yahuwah. Yahuwah’s wisdom is eternally consistent, true, reliable, and good. Yahuwah’s character is unchange-able; He is not fickle, unclear, or vague.

Yahuwah is faithful to give us guidance that is good for us, and will lead us into the right way. Any guidance, wisdom, or counsel that we receive from above – from the Holy Spirit, will be good, perfect, and full of light, and will honour Yahuwah.

It is Yahuwah Himself, by His good and Holy Spirit, who gives us His guidance:

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (James 1:17) 

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle…. (James 3:17a) 

God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. (1John 1:5b)

Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. (Psalms 143:10)

For the word of the LORD is right; and all His works are done in truth. He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD. (Psalms 33:4,5)

The above Scriptures teach us that the Holy Spirit’s guidance for us is good! – full of light, mercy, and truth!

In contrast, any ‘wisdom’ that does not originate in Yahuwah will have some form of darkness in it. Dark wisdom will be unclear, vague, or it will be worldly, connected to occult, mystical practices, or it will be deviant [contrary to clear Scripture verses]. If we are sensitive, then we will recognize a deep uneasiness within our spirit whenever we encounter a dark wisdom.

We need to cultivate a sensitivity to the type of guidance we encounter. Specifically, we are to test the spirits, whether they are of Yahuwah or not, because:

Beloved, many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Yahushua Messiah [Jesus Christ] is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist …. (1John 4:1-3)

For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. (2John 1:7)

As these verses teach us, there are MANY false prophets and MANY deceivers!

Dark, worldly wisdom is contrary to God’s Word and is deceptive. Furthermore, some teachers and spiritual counselors may acknowledge Yahuwah Elohim [the LORD God] as their source, but ultimately they deny that His Son, Yahushua Messiah [Jesus Christ], has come in the flesh. False teachings deny that Messiah died for our sins, He rose again from the dead, and He is coming again! Any teaching or counsel having this feature is a deceiving spirit, and is not of the Holy Spirit.

Any ‘wisdom’ that does not originate in Yahuwah, will not accept Yahuwah’s Words [the Bible] as its final authority. Refusing to acknowledge Yahuwah, and His Son Yahushua Messiah [Jesus Christ], as the source for guidance is a red flag warning! This warning will naturally lead us to the second key.

The Second Key — The Holy Spirit’s Guidance is Always in Agreement with the Written Scriptures, the Holy Bible.

1 Red_flagThis second key is of great importance! If we are given teaching, counsel, or ‘wisdom’ that is contrary to the written Scriptures, that is a ‘red flag’ warning for us to avoid that wisdom! Any teaching, counsel or wisdom that violates the Scriptures, or twists and corrupts the clear meaning of the Scriptures — even if the counsel reflects long-standing traditions — that counsel is to be rejected.

In the modern evangelical community, there is a wide gap between what the religious leaders teach, and what the Bible actually says. Many of Yahuwah’s people are in bondage and are unfruitful because they know not the Scriptures nor God’s power in their life (Mark 12:24-27).

This key for discerning guidance from the Holy Spirit makes it of paramount importance that we learn for ourselves what the Scriptures say, searching our hearts for any false notions or mind-sets. We need to know the Scriptures as they are, and not twist their meaning to suit our selfish, carnal nature!

Knowing the Scriptures for ourselves is vital for knowing the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and thereby walking in obedience to Yahuwah’s WORD, thus walking in His blessings!

We must keep this thought always before us whenever we are searching for Yahuwah’s guidance:

The Holy Spirit’s guidance will always be in agreement with the written Scriptures!

This is why Father urges us many times in Psalms 119 to seek for His guidance and understanding according to His Word (see Psalms 119)!

Let my cry come near before thee, O Yahuwah [LORD]: give me understanding according to thy word. (Psalms 119:169)

The Holy Spirit wants to guide us in Yahuwah’s ways, but if we do not know the Scriptures, if we do not love Father’s Word, then we are likely to miss His guidance, or to balk at moving forward under His direction.

Learning The Word of God

An important part of learning the Scriptures is to study a Bible version that has not been corrupted. Today there are many Bible translations from which to choose. For many reasons, the King James Version, along with a Bible concordance, is the best combination for studying and learning the Word of God. Though the language used is somewhat unfamiliar to many today, the King James Version is still the most accurate.

For general reading, some of the modern Bible versions may offer further insight into a particular verse, when used with a concordance. But when the King James Version is used as the primary study Bible, the student will gain much spiritual insight from the many identical phrases seen throughout, giving us a good understanding of the Scriptures.

One interesting fact is that the King James Version is the only Bible in existence today authorized by a king. And because we are told in Daniel 2:21, that Yahuwah Himself sets up kings and removes kings, then we can know that Yahuwah, the King of Kings, authorized the King James Bible, the ‘Authorized’ Version!

So the written Scriptures, along with the Holy Spirit of Yahuwah, together give us the guidance we need. By studying the Scriptures for ourselves, we will stay firmly grounded, and we can better discern the Holy Spirit’s guidance, as He leads us on the right path. Little by little, we will grow in our maturity and faith, when we learn and study for ourselves what Father says in His Word.

(A very good resource for studying the Bible, on your computer, is to download the King James Version Bible for free at E-Sword.net)

Third Key — The Holy Spirit’s Guidance is the Wisdom From Above.

The third key is to understand that the Holy Spirit’s guidance will have the characteristics of the wisdom that is from above:

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. (James 3:17)

But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. (James 3:14-16)

The above Scriptures teach us the contrasts between earthly, soulish wisdom, and the wisdom from the Holy Spirit. The wisdom that is not from the Holy Spirit is earthly, based on the senses, and is clouded in selfish pride, deception, and confusion, producing fruit that is corrupt! Often the ‘wisdom’ that is earthly has its source in occult practices, and is demonic in nature.

These two descriptions — wisdom from above and wisdom NOT from above — help us to judge any teaching, counsel, or wisdom — to discern what is from Yahuwah, and what is not from Yahuwah.

The wisdom and counsel from the Holy Spirit is …


  • pure
  • peaceable
  • gentle
  • easy to be entreated
  • full of mercy
  • full of good fruits
  • without partiality
  • without hypocrisy or insincerity

From the above list, we can see the features of the Wisdom that is From Above . . .

  • will have a purity and a peacefulness about it, leading us into good works [works that are in harmony with His Word] — the works that Father has ordained for us to walk in, “For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah Yahushua [Christ Jesus] unto good works” (Ephesians 2:10).
  • will have a hope-full-ness and gentleness about it, leading us to carefully consider Yahuwah’s Word, and thus enabling us to willingly walk in Yahuwah’s pathway (see Proverbs 2).
  • will give us insight from Yahuwah’s Word that will enable us to discern His goodness for everyone involved in our particular situation (Psalms 145:8,9).
  • will give us conviction and strength to maintain our resolve to follow Yahuwah’s Word, helping us to be an overcomer regardless of the obstacles (see Hebrews 12 and Revelation 2, 3).

There is great reward in knowing and following the wisdom that comes from abovewisdom from the Holy Spirit. We will discover that the Holy Spirit’s guidance and counsel is wonderful and excellent (Isaiah 28:29)! When we follow the wisdom from the Holy Spirit, we will begin to experience a greater ability to produce the ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:22,23).

Those who are genuine ‘Thirsty Souls’ will earnestly desire to know Yahuwah’s wisdom, knowing that it will be according to His Word, and will glorify Messiah. Thirsty Souls know that Father’s wisdom will guard them from the hard-hearted, over-bearing, and usually striving, wisdom that is earthly, soulish (based on our senses), and eventually demonic.

Fourth Key — The Holy Spirit’s Guidance Appears as Foolishness to the Natural Understanding.

The fourth key is to understand that the Holy Spirit’s guidance will, at times, appear as foolishness to the natural understanding:

Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?…. Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men…. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise…. (1Corinthians 1:20-27a).

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8,9)

As the above verses teach us, Yahuwah’s Words and Ways are far above the wisdom offered by this world!! We must keep this in mind as we navigate through life, seeking to follow Father’s written Word and His pathway for us. The wisdom of this world is as foolishness to God!

shooting starYahuwah desires to bring us out of many foolish thoughts, many man-made religious traditions, and many mystical, magical occult practices. These things cause us to be disobedient to His written Word!

We actually prevent the Holy Spirit from bringing us further into Father’s Ways, when we do not know the Scriptures, and we do not know our need to be obedient to the Scriptures. As a result, we are unable to discern between the Holy Spirit’s guidance and prideful, deceptive human reasonings, or defiled spiritual ‘mixtures,’ or man-made traditions.

Whenever we are faced with a decision, whether to follow God’s Words or whether to follow some pressuring counsel — counsel that is either from our own fleshy desires, or from family and friends, or from the so-called ‘wisdom’ of a deceptive spiritual mixture — that is when we see the great value of loving God’s Word, and having studied God’s Word for ourselves!!

At times, the wisdom and counsel of this world will seem like the right thing to do, the easy thing to do, even the exciting thing to do! The wisdom of this world will feel like it is the way of God. Most likely, the wisdom of this world will direct us to follow a well-worn pathway, along with many others.

With study of Yahuwah’s WORD, with sincere, humble prayer, and seeking to quiet ourselves, being still so we can know what the Holy Spirit is saying, then we are in the right position for discerning Father’s guidance (Psalms 46:10).

Worldly wisdom is completely contrary to Father’s Word! So we need to keep God’s Word as first place in our life! Loving and obeying God’s Word is vital to avoiding many strong delusions (2Thessalonians 2:7-12)! And having a willing, obedient, and humble heart is just as important!

Refusing to do what seems right, or what feels right, is difficult for our natural, carnal nature. But a clean heart, a right spirit, and a LOVE for Yahuwah’s truth, will triumph over worldy, fleshly wisdom. Keeping a clean heart and a right spirit means forgiving quickly and repenting quickly; knowing the Word of Yahuwah for ourselves — these things helps us to avoid the snares and the traps of the wicked one.

The wisdom from the Holy Spirit will lead us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake, IF we are genuinely seeking Him! And even if we have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death, with Father’s grace and mercy, we must trust completely in Yahuwah’s Word — trusting that He is with us in the valley, guiding us through, with His rod and His staff to comfort us (Psalms 23).

Understanding According To His Word

Guidance from the Holy Spirit comes to us to reveal the light of Father’s pathway so that we can freely walk in His ways — His statutes, judgments, and commandments. But we must desire Father’s instruction and counsel, be willing to follow His guidance, and be willing to shed false notions! Sometimes all we need to do is take a ‘baby step’ in following His WORD, and then He will supply further grace and understanding.

When we walk in His lighted pathway, we will gain understanding according to His Word. And, we will desire to avoid any dark pathway that departs or strays from the true and right Ways of Yahuwah’s written Word.

Learning Father’s Words for ourselves is the key to making the many decisions in life. When we learn Yahuwah’s Word for ourselves, then we will see that His Word truly is as a lamp unto our feet [our day-by-day steps] and a light unto our path [the Way that leads to our destination] (Psalms 119:105).

Yahuwah’s Word teaches us how infinitely good and loving Yahuwah is! His Word teaches us that we can trust Him, and that He will, by His Holy Spirit, cause us to know the way wherein we should walk (Psalms 143:8; Ezekiel 36:24-27).


TheBellRockLighthouseWhen we begin to heed the counsel of the Holy Spirit, then we will discover that Yahuwah’s pathway is not vague or hazy, but very clear and definite, and it shines brighter and brighter as we draw near to the time of our Saviour’s return (Prov 4:18).

The Holy Spirit’s guidance is like the ‘lighthouse in the storm’ during times of uncertainty. But the confident knowing of the Holy Spirit’s wisdom, guidance and counsel comes only as the result of earnest prayer and study of Yahuwah’s Word, and truly loving Yahuwah’s WORD!

By His grace, we must learn as much as we can of Yahuwah’s Word, and then un-learn some things! More and more, we will find that the wisdom, guidance, and counsel from the Holy Spirit is altogether true, righteous, and perfect (Psalms 19:7-11).

Remembering these four keys to knowing the Holy Spirit’s guidance will become a great help and comfort. For those who use them, these simple and basic keys will be an aid to recognizing and discerning the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Related Articles:


Cold Waters to a Thirsty Soul

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Posted in Guidance, Holy Spirit
5 comments on “4 Keys to Discerning the Guidance of the Holy Spirit
  1. Jill says:

    Thank you for this….it is a good reminder. Well done. You are certainly a blessing to others. JK Ottawa Ontario Canada


    • goodnewsfromadistandland says:

      Thank you Jill, for your encouraging comment! It is so good to hear from you!
      Blessings and Shalom to you.


  2. Scott Filkins says:

    Thank you for these simple and good principles from Scripture.


    • goodnewsfromadistandland says:

      Thank you for your comment and encouragement!
      Shalom and Blessings to you :)


  3. evanlaar2016.wordpress.com says:

    Added link to this post, to my article ‘Guidance of the Holy Spirit’


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