But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:26
This is what Jesus told His disciples on the last day of His sojourn on earth as a free man. He promised that He would not leave them comfortless, and that the power of the Holy Spirit would be in them and teach them and instruct them in the way they should go.
So, how do we recognize the Holy Spirit as He speaks to us from within? How do we differentiate between the truth of The Spirit and our own personal ideas?
When The Holy Spirit speaks to me, there is an overwhelming peace that exudes total confidence. If there is even an inkling of doubt, I will reconsider my stance until I get more confirmation. Now this may appear contrary to God’s Word because in the case of Eve, Satan sewed a seed of doubt in her mind about disobeying God. But she knew what was right and what was wrong, God had instructed our first parents not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve knew God to be a loving God and did not think God would harm her in any way, so Satan was able to plant that seed of doubt that brought death into the world.
People often look at God this way today as well, but God not only is our Holy Creator, He is also our Father, and will do all He can to keep us from harming ourselves. There are reasons for everything God does in our lives, whether we understand it or not. We need to practice faith instead of trying to figure out every nuance of God’s methods. He knows what is good for us, and will do nothing that doesn’t benefit us. (Romans 8:28)
The Holy Spirit will never speak against the Word of God. If what we are about to share does not ring true according to the Word, then that’s an indication we are working on our own thoughts rather than those of God, so we must learn to test the spirits.
Does what we are about to say plant seeds of doubt, or will it bring new growth to the Christian? Is it the Holy Spirit speaking through us, or our own thoughts ruled by our own hearts?
It’s tricky trying to determine if what you feel is from your own thoughts, or from what you have learned through the Holy Power of God. I measure what I am about to say by my level of confidence. If there is any doubt, even doubt placed there by the enemy, then I will wait for confirmation from another source, someone who didn’t know what I was writing or wanting to say at the time. This is my way of testing the spirits because our minds can easily be deceived into saying something that is not true and ultimately discrediting ourselves. I do not like to embarrass the Holy Spirit or God by saying something I claim comes from God when it’s actually a fabrication from my own mind. If you are not 100% sure that what you want to say comes from God, then it would be better to be silent rather than cause a stumbling block for a fellow believer (Romans 14:20-21), especially one that is not as spiritually mature as you may be.
In John 15:26-27 Jesus declared to His disciples that:
“When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning”.
So the disciples were able to recognize when the Holy Spirit came upon them and they were able to remember because it was things Christ taught them personally. Our lives as Christian witnesses can be used in the same way. What we have been taught through church, Bible study, and Christian fellowship will be brought to mind when the time comes to speak with the guidance of the Holy Ghost.
John 16:13-15 says, “When he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”
The Holy Spirit has many functions:
He will distribute spiritual gifts. (1 Corinthians 12:7–11)
He is the comforter, promised by Christ. (John 14:16)
He is our teacher. (John 14:26)
The Holy Spirit intercedes for us and helps us in our weakness. (Romans 8:26)
He will also bring specific Scriptures to mind at times when we need them most. (John 14:26)
One of the most important ways to recognize the Holy Spirit is to be familiar with God’s Word. The Bible is the ultimate source of how we should live, and as believers we are to search the Scriptures, meditate on them, and commit them to memory.
How do you determine if it is the Holy Spirit, or your own thoughts that guide your witness?