authority, desires, discerning the spirits, dying to self, exhortation, experience, following Jesus, God's guidance, heart, joy, obedience, passions, peace, Satan, T.A. Sparks, The Anointing, the old self
Let’s say, we find ourselves in a situation of which we are not sure how we got there and how we might come out of it (alive), either. I am not necessarily speaking of big things here. Just take an everyday situation. For instance, you meet someone who asks you to do something for them and you spontaneously offer your help. How can we discern here whether our reaction was led by the Holy Spirit or not? Are we always to help everyone or are we to say no to them, too? And if so, when? If we meet ten persons who need our help and we only have time for two or three, we will know that we ought to listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, right?
From reading the Bible, we know that God has His own timing for everything. Actually, how often tried Jesus’ disciples, Peter in particular, or his family members to destroy God’s perfect plan by forcing their self-willed schemes on Him? Even if they knew through prophetic anticipation that Jesus might do something, like his mother when she told Him at the wedding at Cana in Galilee that the wine had run out, our Lord was quite clear about Whom He always obeyed. Therefore, Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come. His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (Jn 2:4-5 ESV) Look! Here we can find a spiritual principle confirmed! Has anyone noticed that Mary affirmed with her words what God told Jesus’ chosen disciples on the Mount of Tabor as a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Mt 17:5 ESV)? I need to admit that I just saw THIS for the very first time. 😉 [Emphasis in Scriptures added]
Dear brothers and sisters, it seems to me that God is only pleased with us if we have listened to Jesus and His Spirit’s guidance. This is not so much about reading the Bible daily or a good Christian book that deepens our understanding, neither is it about listening to a sermon in which a preacher tells you something you did not know before (although these things in themselves are not wrong), it is simply about being obedient to His Spirit’s nudges and urges from the inside. Let’s read what T. Austin Sparks had to say about it. He wrote,
That is the thing that no one can teach us by words, by giving us a lesson. But it is a thing we can know. You know it by reactions, violent reactions often. You have taken a course, and you get a bad reaction. You strive in a certain direction to realize a certain thing, and if only you would stop for a moment and look at it, you know that you are trying to bring that about. You know quite well that this thing is not spontaneous, that this lacks the spontaneity which is a mark of the Lord. You know the Lord is not coming through there. You know quite well that you have no sense of spontaneity and peace. It has to be forced, to be driven, to be made to happen. More or less, I think, every one of you who is a true child of God knows what I am talking about. But remember, this is the Spirit’s instrument in the School for teaching Christ—life. The mark of a Spirit governed, Spirit-anointed, man or woman is that they move in life, and that they minister life, and that what comes from them means life, and they know by that very law of life where the Lord is, what the Lord is in, what the Lord is after, what the Lord wants. That is how they know. No voice is heard, no objective vision is seen, but deep in the spirit life arbitrates, the Spirit of life.
Just today I found myself in such a situation I described above. When I sense that several people indicate more or less overtly what I should do at a certain time according to their likes and I feel NO peaceful and joyful OKAY from God in my heart, I know what happens if I do not listen to Him. Peacelessness will follow, no doubt about this! Satan’s lies are so tricky as he tries to convince us that without our help, the whole world might break down (even if it is merely our own little world). Indeed, sometimes I think Satan is a ‘Christian’. Really! He is the one who keeps us busy when we try to ‘save’ those around us (or on the internet) and to appease all people’s needs, esp. the hunger and thirst of their souls only God can satisfy. Please note, our purpose in life is NOT to give others what they think they need, our only duty is to listen to God from Whom all good things will come to us… as we wait on Him and His provision in each and every case.
Below we can read a biblical example of how Jesus’ guidance through our Heavenly Father deviated from our human reasoning, ideas, logic, and principles.
Now the Jews’ Feast of Booths was at hand. So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.”For not even his brothers believed in him. Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil.You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.”After saying this, he remained in Galilee. But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private. (Jn 7:2-10 ESV)
His brothers asked Jesus to go to this feast. He answered them that they should go, however, he would not. As he stayed in Galilee alone, God must have told Him that NOW he should leave and go, though. Does that make sense to anyone? Most probably only to those who are used to God unpredictable guidance and surprises, I guess… Another thought just came to my mind. Do we know where Jesus’ irresistible authority came from? He who had given up all His divine rights and power in order to become a weak human being displayed God’s power and authority BECAUSE of His perfect obedience. We read,
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. (Jn 5:19 ESV)
In fact, it is the same for us. We cannot claim to have any kind of authority because we believe in Jesus since, as we might know, Satan and his demons believe this as well. As God’s children, we have only been given the same authority Jesus had if we continually listen to what Christ’s Spirit in us tells us to do or what to omit. All Christians who wield authority over other Christians, whether in churches or on the internet (yes, these online ‘authorities’ exist!), who have not given up their Old Adam nature’s passions and desires, but act in their uncrucified old nature are servants of Satan. Dear reader, do you think I am carrying things too far?