I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
– John 16:12-15
This fourteen-day fast began with a devotion from John 15 centering on the joy that comes when we are obedient to God. It’s when we are obedient that we experience God’s love and are truly His friends and we fully abide in Him. When we reflect on obedience, we naturally think of the many commandments in the Bible, especially the New Testament which has over 1,000 commands. Yet, there’s another source of expectations that the Christian is to be aware of, and that’s direct communication from the Holy Spirit.
In John 10 Jesus makes clear that all true Christians are able to hear His voice, and therefore are able to follow Him because they recognize His voice. The ability to listen to His voice is unfortunately undervalued today, and therefore many Christians do not hear God well and therefore cannot obey Him faithfully. As can be seen in John 16:14 it’s the role of the Holy Spirit to take what is from Jesus and declare it to Christians. As a matter of fact, this is a way in which the Holy Spirit brings glory to Jesus - by taking His communication and delivering it to the souls of Christians. Further, in Acts 2:17, 18 it’s promised that once the Gospel is received, people can expect even more revelation from the Holy Spirit than was present during the Old Covenant. The Bible reveals that the Spirit speaks to us in many ways such as dreams, visions, angelic visitations, sentences in our minds, circumstantial events, etc. It’s the Christian’s privilege to learn from the Bible how the Holy Spirit speaks so that we can be attuned to Him. We can’t stay in step with the Spirit if we’re not listening to Him.
There’s much to learn about listening to the Holy Spirit, but first and foremost it should be emphasized that anything heard from the Spirit must be weighed against the Scriptures. If it contradicts the Scriptures, it should be discarded because it’s not from God. In all cases, perceived revelations from the Spirit should be weighed and tested as the Scriptures teach before it is accepted by the hearer.
From the very beginning of the church we see the Holy Spirit speaking to saints such as in Acts 8:29 when He told Phillip to run up to the Ethiopian’s chariot where Phillip engaged with Him over the Gospel, baptizing Him after He believed. The Spirit said, “Go over and join this chariot,” and therefore Phillip obeyed and went, leading the Ethiopian to faith in Christ. Do you have stories like this in your life when the Holy Spirit spoke to you and it became clear that indeed He was directing you for an important spiritual purpose? Learning to hear His voice well in order to be responsive to Him is essential for Christians to fulfill His purposes. It leads to faithful obedience, and the joy which all Christians desire.
Dear Lord, we praise and glorify Your name! Help us to hear Your voice, and to wisely discern what is from You so that we may faithfully obey You. In Jesus' name, amen.
Founder and CEO, Christian Union
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