As we saw in our first study on Discerning the Guidance of the Holy Spirit, many times we ask ourselves: “How can I know the Holy Spirit’s guidance?”
Since the guidance from the Holy Spirit can be very intimate, it is important to learn to discern the difference between the voice of the Holy Spirit and the many other voices crowding in on our thoughts.
We have already looked at 4 Keys to Discerning the Guidance of the Holy Spirit, in a previous article.
Today we will look at Two More Keys to discerning the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
In the previous article, we explained 4 Keys for discerning the Holy Spirit’s guidance:
- The Holy Spirit’s guidance is FROM Yahuwah Elohim [the Hebrew name for the LORD God of the Bible];
- The Holy Spirit’s guidance will always be in agreement with the written WORD of God;
- The Holy Spirit’s guidance will have the characteristics of the wisdom “from above”;
- The Holy Spirit’s guidance will, at times, appear as foolishness to the natural mind.
If you have not read the first 4 Keys article, I urge you to read that study, because it covers foundational information.
And now, in this article, we are continuing with Key #5 and Key #6 for discerning the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
Before we proceed, let us recall from our first study, that our first and most important KEY for discerning the guidance of the Holy Spirit is this:
- The Holy Spirit’s guidance is from the Creator of heaven and earth, the Father of lights, the God of the Bible, Yahuwah Elohim.
Thus the guidance from the Holy Spirit will have two main characteristics:
Now, let us continue with our study: Discerning the Guidance of the Holy Spirit.
We will look at Keys #5 and #6. These two Keys are on a much more personal and intimate level than the previous 4 Keys.
▶ The Fifth KEY: Cultivate a Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s Whispers
This KEY is, in some ways, almost too obvious to even mention, but it must be said.
Many times, we are not sensitive enough to notice what the Holy Spirit is saying to us. Often, we are not aware of the very small, quiet impressions from the Holy Spirit that we have within our own thoughts.
In order to begin to discern the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we need to learn to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s “still, small voice” (1Kings 19:12-13).
So our Fifth Key is to cultivate and nurture our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s whispers.
Cultivation is a process. It takes time, and it proceeds one-step-at-a-time.
Growing more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance requires that we honestly adjust our priorities to be in harmony with Father’s priorities for us.
Such an adjustment begins with the Scriptures, especially the verse spoken by our Saviour, Yahushua Messiah [the Hebrew name for Jesus Christ]:
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)
This verse gives us our entire life’s priority: to daily seek FIRST Yahuwah’s kingdom AND His righteousness, in all we do.
In order to seek first Yah’s kingdom, we begin by downsizing our activities, so that we are not clogged with too much busy-ness.
Effort and Determination
We need to make an effort at slowing down, so that we can concentrate and ‘think on’ what is important in fulfilling Father’s plans for us (Philippians 4:8). We must determine to turn off the music, the videos, the TV, and the social media, so that we can focus on fulfilling God’s Word.
There are many voices and worldly influences that are constantly at work to distract us and compete for our time and attention. It takes effort and determination to make Father’s priorities our own priorities.
Secondly, it is important to set aside some time daily, for 1) reading and studying the Scriptures, and for 2) secret prayer, asking Father to help us be more sensitive and willing to follow His ways. These two things are essential for cultivating our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and for avoiding all kinds of misery (See Hosea 4:1-6).
In order to grow in our sensitivity to the internal whispers of the Holy Spirit, we must also be diligent to notice the little thoughts and impressions we receive daily, and seriously consider them, even keeping a journal on these things.
We do not need to go searching for ‘problems’. But if we have a specific impression that is urging us to be in agreement with Yah’s Word, then we should be alert (sensitive) to this impression, and quickly begin to pray for insight and discernment, and for making adjustments.
The Holy Spirit’s conviction will be clear and specific, encouraging us with definite direction. Once we follow thru on a conviction from the Holy Spirit, we will then sense a freedom, and the peace that comes only from God.
The devil’s condemnation will be cloudy, indefinite, and discouraging. Condemnation keeps us wallowing in indecision and doubt. We need to learn the difference so we can maintain our walk of faith, not allowing the enemy to defeat us with doubt.
Let the Peace of God Rule
As we cultivate a growing sensitivity to small thoughts and impressions, we learn to notice any uneasiness we might have. When we sense an uneasiness or lack of peace about a particular, specific matter, then we should not delay in examining ourselves, to make sure we are not violating God’s Word. This is part of maintaining our relationship with the Father.
Learning sensitivity means being sensitive to the peace of God, given to us by the Holy Spirit as we do the will of the Father:
And above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which you also are called in one body, and be thankful. (Colossians 3:14-15)
The peace of God is to be like an umpire in our decisions, guiding us and warning us.
A lack of God’s peace is a sure indication that we need to stop everything and begin to pray — pray with thanksgiving, asking God to give us a willingness to do whatever it is that will restore the rule of God’s peace within our heart (Philippians 4:6-7).
Whenever we are learning to be more sensitive to thoughts and impressions, always keep in mind what we discussed as our Second KEY:
- the Holy Spirit’s guidance will always be in agreement with the written Scriptures!
Cultivating sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s guidance will naturally lead us to the Sixth Key.
▶ The Sixth KEY: Learn to Be Honest with Ourselves
One of the most important ways we cultivate our sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit is to learn to be honest with ourselves, as Yahuwah requires of us:
Yahuwah [LORD], who shall abide in Your tabernacle? who shall dwell in Your holy hill? He that walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart (Psalms 15:1-2).
Behold, You [Yahuwah] desire truth in the inward parts (Psalms 51:6a).
These and many other Scripture passages teach us that Father is very interested in our commitment to maintain our inner honesty.
I use the phrase ‘learn to be honest with ourselves’ because dis-honesty within ourselves is very common.
Often, without realizing it, we are not inwardly honest with ourselves about our behaviour.
Even though we may want to do what is good and truthful, we struggle to do the right thing. When we want to do what is right, “evil lies close at hand” (Romans 7:18-21). Which is why every one of us have given in to sinful actions, whether small ones or big ones.
Yet, all of us have a tendency to cover up our humiliation, our confusion, and the truth of our faults and sins. Sadly, we are masters at denying and covering up our faults, blunders, and sins.
Many times we do not want to know the truth about ourselves. It is too painful.
But if we do not recognize the truth about ourselves, and within our own thoughts, then we can become deluded and deceived, by closing our eyes to seeking truth in many other areas.
It takes courage to be honest with ourselves within our own thought patterns.
So our Sixth Key is to ‘learn to be honest with ourselves’ within the inner depths of our thought processes. We must learn and practice speaking the truth about ourselves that is according to the written Scriptures.
Let’s look a little closer at this problem of dishonesty within ourselves.
The Problem of Dishonesty
Being dishonest with ourselves comes from being afraid to admit our sinful behaviour, which we are all guilty of.
When we are afraid to be responsible for our own sins, and ‘own’ them, then we deny the truth of our actions and words. We begin to devise ways to deny what happened. We seek to create a falsehood [a lie] in order to avoid exposure.
Often the truth is too ugly, so we deny it, pretending it is not there.
We may think we are being honest with ourselves. We may think our heart is pure and clean from such loathsome things as dishonesty or hatred, selfishness or deception. But if our deep, inner thoughts, if our words and actions are not in harmony with the Scriptures, then something is amiss, something is not right; and something needs to change.
The Proverb tells us:
He who trusts in his own heart is a fool. (Proverbs 28:26)
Our own heart cannot be trusted to lead us into what is true and right. It is foolish to think that what our heart is telling us is always right. In reality, many times it happens that what we think in our heart goes against the very truth of Yahuwah’s Word.
The prophet Jeremiah reminds us:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
The Scriptures teach that our heart is not reliable. This is why we need something outside ourselves — God’s Word! We must love Yahuwah’s written Word and lean on it alone, for guidance in all we do!
Yahuwah’s Word — not our heart, not our feelings, not our closest friends, not our favorite public figure — but Yah’s WORD [the Bible] is to be our only authoritative source for truth, direction, and counsel.
The real test of our love for Yahuwah is whether we will side with His Word, His truth and goodness, even if it means siding with what is uncomfortable, or if it goes against what our heart may be saying.
When we are searching our heart and examining our ways, we need to ask ourselves:
“Will I trust Father’s promises and His Word? Will I be brave and trust His goodness to those who trust in Him and seek Him? Will I trust that He will hear my cry and rescue me?” (See Lamentations 3:25; Psalms 34:6)
Speaking the Truth in Our Heart
Yahuwah is intensely interested in the motives of our heart. He urges us many times to maintain honesty within our inner-most thoughts:
For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Behold, You [Yahuwah] desire truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part You shall make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. (Psalms 51:3,6-7)
He that covers [conceals] his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy. (Proverbs 28:13)
But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Yahushua Messiah [Jesus Christ] His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1John 1:7-9)
As we study these Scriptures, we can see that God wants us to be honest to the point of acknowledging our faults and sins. This is how we learn to discern the motives of our heart.
Our inner honesty begins with speaking the truth in our heart, and then doing what is righteous and good according to the written Scriptures. We must have a commitment to Love the Truth, and follow what is truth, even when it hurts or is humiliating! This is how we avoid deception (2Thessalonians 2:10-12).
When we are honest with ourselves, honest before Yahuwah, and thus honest before others, then we will know with certainty Yahuwah’s wisdom, goodness, strength, and restoration.
- Our inner honesty will help us to not deny our failures, and help us recognize our willfulness.
- Our inner honesty will help us be more sensitive to the slightest impressions from the Holy Spirit.
- Our inner honesty will help us be more fruitful in bringing forth the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23 ). And isn’t this fruitfulness what we truly want?
A Booster Rocket-Start
Learning to discern the guidance of the Holy Spirit is a lifelong process.
But we can get a booster Rocket-Start on gaining more discernment to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
How can this happen?
There are three ways to get a booster Rocket-Start to discerning the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- The first, and most essential way, as we discussed in the first article, is to study, learn, and obey God’s Word [the Bible].
- The second way is to receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, which is explained here.
- The third way is to Love the Truth of Scripture and maintain honesty with ourselves and with Yahuwah, as we have discussed here in this article.
As we saw in our first article “4 Keys to Discerning the Guidance of the Holy Spirit”, the Holy Spirit’s guidance comes to us in order to reveal the light of Father’s pathway, and so that we will have His strength to choose to walk in His ways — His statutes, judgments, and commandments.
But we must desire with all our heart the Scriptures’ instruction and counsel. This means being teachable, and willing to follow the authority and guidance of God’s Word. If we are teachable, we will also be willing to unlearn man-made [false] religious doctrines, and walk away from practising them!
Sometimes all we need to do is take a ‘baby step’ in obeying Father’s WORD. He will then supply us with even more grace and understanding.
Let us recall, as we said in our first article, that the Holy Spirit’s guidance is like the ‘lighthouse in the storm’ during times of uncertainty.
When we begin to heed the counsel of the Holy Spirit, which is always in agreement with the written Scriptures, then we discover that Yahuwah’s pathway is not vague or hazy. His pathway is very clear and definite, and it shines brighter and brighter as we draw near to the time of our Saviour’s return (Proverbs 4:18).
More and more, we will find that regardless of the trials and difficulties, the wisdom and counsel that comes from the Holy Spirit is altogether true, righteous, and perfect (Psalms 19:7-11).
But the confident knowing of the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and guidance comes only as the result of earnest, patient prayer, and the study of Yahuwah’s written Word, and truly loving to be a “DO-er” of Yahuwah’s WORD!
It can be difficult at times, to recognize the difference between our selfish ambitions and the leading of the Holy Spirit. It takes practice to discern the Holy Spirit’s guidance and begin to manifest the Fruits of the Spirit.
Though we all fail at times, our failures should not keep us from returning to Father, seeking again His forgiveness and strength to be honest and faithful to Him, especially in ‘the little things‘. Once we repent, Yah is well able to bring us through to a renewed sense of His care and love for us.
Let us recap the first 4 Keys in discerning the Holy Spirit’s guidance, that we discussed in the first article:
1) the Holy Spirit’s guidance is FROM Yahuwah Elohim [the LORD God of the Bible];
2) the Holy Spirit’s guidance will always be in agreement with the written WORD of God;
3) the Holy Spirit’s guidance will have the characteristics of wisdom “from above”;
4) the Holy Spirit’s guidance will, at times, appear as foolishness to the natural mind.
And then, the last 2 Keys that we looked at here in this article:
5) Cultivate a Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s Whispers
6) Learn to Be Honest with Ourselves
These six simple and basic Keys will be helpful and comforting to us, in our quest for recognizing and discerning the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- Acquiring a Teachable Heart
- The Holy Spirit Will Guide You Into All Truth
- A Way That Seems Right: Avoiding the Strong Delusion
- Learning to Hear Father’s Voice: Removing the Obstacles
- How Does the Bride Prepare?
- 4 Tips For Keeping a Clear Conscience