The Spirit and the Will of God

One of the most exciting ministries of the Holy Spirit is His leading of the believer, providing guidance. This guidance comes from that inner voice of the Spirit, which moves towards the will of God. The Spirit guided or directed men in the early church to take the Gospel to others.

The Spirit told Philip, “Go and join that chariot” (Acts 8:29).

As they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work that I have called them to”(Acts 13:2).

They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia and were prevented by the Holy Spirit from speaking the message in the province of Asia (Acts 16:6).

All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons (Romans 8:14).

But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law (Galatians 5:18).

The contexts of these last two passages deal with the will of God in regards to righteous living and overcoming the lust of the flesh. How does the Spirit lead in other matters? How does He speak to the heart and mind?

The primary way the Spirit leads is through enlightenment—helping the believer to understand and perceive God’s will in the Scriptures.

When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come (John 16:13).

Since the Spirit is truth, He possesses, reveals, confers, leads into, defends and testifies to truth, and is opposed to the “spirit of error” (1 John 4:6). He can be trusted wholeheartedly. He is “the Spirit of wisdom and understanding” (Isaiah 11:2). He reveals truth in a way that it becomes applicable to the believer’s life.

However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”—but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:9-16 NIV).

The Spirit enlightens the heart, helping the believer to perceive Yahweh’s instruction and respond to it. He never contradicts truth and divine wisdom, which is revealed in the Scriptures, wherein is found the instruction of the LORD, which makes the inexperienced wise (Psalm 19:7-11). The Spirit brings to light what is common sense and prudent, especially in the book of Proverbs, which
urges us to seek wisdom and shun folly. James tells us to ask God for wisdom from above.

Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. An indecisive man is unstable in all his ways (James 1:5-8).

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy (James 3:17).

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit {Or a spirit} of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better (Ephesians 1:1).

Additionally, the Holy Spirit is a person and He speaks to the believer personally. Such guidance is called “the voice of the Spirit” since it is the Holy Spirit speaking to us. It is called the “inner voice” because it comes from within our heart and not from outside the body. It is described as “the still small voice” in contrast to physically audible sounds such as the wind, earthquake and fire perceived by Elijah (1 Kings 19:12). The Spirit’s leading is sometimes called “inner pressure” or “inward urging” because it is so insistent that it cannot be ignored. The strength of such an impression is emphasized by calling it the “inward burden” or “inward compelling of the Holy Spirit (Gary Friesen, Decision Making & the Will of God, 52-53).

Another way the Spirit leads is through the wise counsel of other believers. Some believers have the spiritual gift of discernment; they should be consulted.

Plans fail when there is no counsel, but with many advisers they succeed (Proverbs 15:22).

Biblically sound counselors are important since there is always the danger of immaturity or subjectivity in making decisions.

Another way the Spirit leads is through peace. We experience inner peace when we are fully obedient and at the heart of God’s will. The opposite is true when we are moving in the wrong direction; we experience restlessness and inward anxiety.

And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace (Colossians 3:15 NIV).

The verb “rule” (brabeuw brabeuo) means “to act as an arbitrator, or umpire.” When we face a decision, we should allow the peace of God to call the decision as an umpire. For peace to be trustworthy, it must be the peace of Christ, which comes from walking in the Spirit.

Throughout the Church Age, believers have experienced the Spirit’s guidance through the above methods; for instance, in God’s calling to be a pastor, missionary, etc.

Since the completion of the Word of God and the giving of the Holy Spirit are sufficient to guide the believer into the will of God, one should not expect visions, dreams, or appearances of God. Yahweh mediates wisdom through His Spirit, His Word, and wise counselors. If one lacks wisdom, he should ask God for it.

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