A 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 begin to discern 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 Hebrew name for the LORD God].
When the Holy Spirit speaks to us, He speaks instructions from Yahuwah, the Creator of heaven and earth, 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 true, reliable, and good. Yahuwah’s character is unchange-able. He is steady; He is not fickle, unclear, or vague! He is always focused on guiding us according to what is GOOD for us.
Yahuwah is faithful to give us guidance that will lead us into the way that is right and true. Any guidance, wisdom, or counsel that we receive from above – from the Holy Spirit, will be pure, 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 comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness (no fickleness), 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 Your will; for You are my God: Your spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. (Psalms 143:10)
For the word of Yahuwah [the LORD] is right; and all His works are done in truth. He loves righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of Yahuwah [the LORD]. (Psalms 33:4-5)
The above Scriptures teach us that the source of the Holy Spirit’s guidance is good, truthful, and “from above” — because it is from Yahuwah Elohim!
In contrast, any ‘wisdom’ that does not originate in Yahuwah will have some form of darkness in it.
Dark wisdom is soulish, unclear, and obscure.
Dark wisdom is worldly, connected to pressuring tactics of witchcraft [Satanic occult] and mystical practices.
And . . . dark wisdom will always be deviant [contrary to clear Scripture verses].
When we learn what God has said in His written Word, and if we will be sensitive and of a truly humble heart, then we will recognize a deep uneasiness within our spirit whenever we encounter 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 you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Yahushua Messiah [Jesus Christ] is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesses 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 Yahushua Messiah [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! So we must be on our guard because Satan is constantly working to deceive!
Dark, worldly wisdom is a ‘spiritual mixture‘ and is contrary to God’s Word and is deceptive.
Furthermore, some teachers and spiritual counselors may acknowledge the LORD God as their source, but ultimately they deny His written WORD, and that His Son, Yahushua the Messiah [Jesus Christ], has come in the flesh.
False teachings will deny that Messiah died for our sins, that He rose from the dead, and He is coming again! If a teaching or counsel has this feature, it is a deceiving spirit, and is not of the Holy Spirit.
Dark, worldly wisdom does not originate in Yahuwah, and therefore it will not accept Yahuwah’s Words [the Bible] as its final authority. If a ‘wisdom’ or a ‘counsel’ refuses to acknowledge Yahuwah’s written WORDs, and His Son Yahushua Messiah [Jesus Christ], as its source of authority and guidance, then that 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.
This second Key is of great importance!
If we are given teaching, counsel, or ‘wisdom’ that is different to the written Scriptures, or 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, by “adding to” or by “taking away from” the written Scriptures, or by twisting and corrupting 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! In some cases, what some religious leaders teach actually violates the full counsel of Scripture.
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!
We need to search our heart for any false notions, false mind-sets, or false practices that are contrary to Scripture. We need to know the Scriptures as they are, and not twist their meaning to suit our carnal nature!
Knowing the Scriptures for ourselves is vital for knowing the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and thereby walking in obedience to Yahuwah’s written WORD, thus walking in His blessings!!
It is important to set aside time daily, for reading and studying the Scriptures, and for secret prayer time, asking Father to help us be more sensitive to His guidance.
We must keep this thought always before us whenever we are searching for Yahuwah’s guidance:
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 You, O Yahuwah [LORD]: give me understanding according to Your 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 written WORD, then we are likely to miss His guidance and be deceived. Thus we will balk at moving forward according to His Scriptural directions.
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, known as 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 discernment, when we learn and study for ourselves what Father says in His Word. Thus we will recognize and avoid any deviant and defective teachings that claim to have “extra” insight.
Always remember what Yahuwah Elohim taught us:
“Hearken [hear and obey], O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, … 2) You shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish anything from it, that you may keep the commandments of Yahuwah Elohim [the LORD your God].” (Deuteronomy 4:1-2)
(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)
► The 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 you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descends 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, soulish, and ultimately, demonic.
Earthly, soulish wisdom is clouded in selfish pride, strife, deception, and confusion, producing fruit that is harmful and corrupt!
Often the ‘wisdom’ that is earthly has as its source the occult practices, and is demonic in nature.
Understanding the difference between the two — the wisdom ‘from above’ and the wisdom NOT from above — helps us to judge any teaching, counsel, or wisdom, and thus to discern what is from Yahuwah, and what is not from Yahuwah.
The wisdom and counsel from the Holy Spirit is …
- easy to be entreated
- full of mercy
- full of good fruits
- without partiality
- without hypocrisy or insincerity
From the above list, we can see that 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 God’s written 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 a humble gentleness about it, leading us to carefully and seriously consider Yahuwah’s Word, stirring within us a willingness to walk according to Yahuwah’s pathway (see Proverbs 2).
- will give us insight from Yahuwah’s Word, giving us a discernment of His goodness and mercy for everyone involved in our particular situation (Psalms 145:8-9).
- will give us conviction, strength, and self-control to maintain our resolve to follow Yahuwah’s written Word, helping us to be sober-minded, patient, and willing to overcome, regardless of the obstacles (see Hebrews 12 and Revelation 2, 3).
There is great reward in knowing and following the wisdom that comes from above — the wisdom from the Holy Spirit. We will discover that the nature of 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 written WORD, and it will glorify Messiah!
Thirsty Souls know that Father’s wisdom will guard them from the hard-hearted, over-bearing, impulsive, or worldly wisdom that is earthly, soulish (based on our senses), and eventually demonic.
► The 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?….
Messiah 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….
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, saith Yahuwah [the LORD].
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts (higher) than your thoughts.
As the above verses teach us, Yahuwah’s Words and Ways are far above the wisdom offered by this world!! The wisdom of this world is as foolishness to God!
We must keep this in mind as we navigate through life, seeking to follow Father’s written Word and His pathway.
Yahuwah desires to bring us out of many foolish thoughts, many man-made religious traditions, and many mystical, magical, Satanic occult practices. These things cause us to be deceived and disobedient to God’s 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 written 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 urges us to follow a well-worn pathway, soothing to our soulish desires, and going along ‘with the flow’.
- With study of Yahuwah’s written WORD,
- with sincere, humble prayer,
- 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 46:10a).
But we need to have a firm commitment to keeping Yah’s truth, knowing that HIS written Word is THE truth, regardless of how we feel or the oppostion we encounter!
Avoiding Strong Delusion
Worldly wisdom is completely contrary to Father’s Word, and there are many pressures to follow worldly wisdom! This is why keeping God’s written WORD must be First Place in our life!
Loving and obeying God’s Word is vital to avoiding many strong delusions (See 2Thessalonians 2:7-12)! Also, 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;
- Forgiving quickly and repenting quickly;
- Knowing the written Word and being a DO-er of the Word;
- Staying close to Yah through our regular, secret prayer times —
- these things help us avoid the snares and 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 maintaining our relationship with Him!
And if we have to walk through “the valley of the shadow of death”, then with Father’s grace and mercy, we must determine to trust completely in Yahuwah’s Word, and determine to “walk by faith, not by sight!”
Our progress in growth and maturity will often happen “in the valley“!! So we must trust 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. We must earnestly desire the instruction and counsel of the Scriptures, be committed to following Yah’s guidance, and depart from false notions!
Sometimes all we need to do is take a ‘baby step’ in following God’s written 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 want to avoid any dark pathway that departs or strays from the true and right Ways of Yahuwah’s written Word.
The commitment to learn 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 written 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).
Discerning the guidance from the Holy Spirit becomes easier as we begin to be obedient to the written Scriptures. It is the Holy Spirit who urges us, whispers to us, to obey the Scriptures!
As we begin to heed the counsel of the Holy Spirit, which is always in agreement with the written Scriptures, then we will discover that Yahuwah’s pathway is not vague or hazy. Yah’s pathway is very clear and definite, shining brighter and brighter as we draw near to the time of our Saviour’s return (Proverbs 4:18).
The Holy Spirit’s guidance is like the ‘lighthouse in the storm’ during times of difficulty. But the confident knowing of the Holy Spirit’s wisdom, guidance and counsel comes only as the result of earnest, patient prayer, keeping current in our relationship with Father, the study of His written Word, and truly loving and obeying Yahuwah’s written WORD!
By His grace, we must learn as much as we can of Yahuwah’s Word, and then un-learn many 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).
Let us remember these four keys to knowing the Holy Spirit’s guidance:
- the Holy Spirit’s guidance is FROM Yahuwah Elohim;
- the Holy Spirit’s guidance will be in agreement with Yah’s written WORD;
- the Holy Spirit’s guidance will have the characteristics of wisdom “from above”;
- the Holy Spirit’s guidance will, at times, appear as foolishness to the natural mind.
These keys will be helpful and comforting in our quest for God’s guidance.
These 4 simple and basic keys will be an aid to recognizing and discerning the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
We continue our study in the next article, looking at two more keys — more personal, intimate keys.
- The Key to the Holy Spirit’s Guidance
- Learning to Hear Father’s Voice: Removing the Obstacles
- Lead Me In Your Truth: Part 1 – The Basics
- Lead Me In Your Truth: Part 2 – The Ancient Paths
- Sorrows and the Holy Spirit
- The Word – or The Spirit
- The Key To Gaining Understanding
- The Holy Spirit Will Guide You Into All Truth
- The Pathway of Purity
- Queen Esther’s Example: Putting On Our Royal Apparel