This is a second installment in a series on the Biblical priority given to a conversational relationship with the Holy Spirit within us. The previous post was published February 6.
Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers that we have the mind of Christ – how will He make us of that mind if He does not overrule our own thinking with His words and ideas? It is no longer our lives that is to be lived in us, but the life of Christ, Paul told us in Galatians 2:20. His Spirit is joined to ours, and in similar fashion He is joining His mind to ours. Apprehending the mind of Christ will of necessity result in us “hearing” or becoming cognizant of His voice interjecting His thoughts in our consciousness. If the Spirit of Christ was not speaking, replacing our thoughts with His, then we will not have the mind of Christ.
Jesus said that He was not leaving us as orphans, but He would come to us. And He did come to us in the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. He continually seeks communion with us via the Spirit Who live in us. This is the Spirit of Truth is Jesus Himself. Thus, the Holy Spirit is called “the Spirit of Christ,” in Romans 8:9, Philippians 1:19, Hebrews 9:14, and 1 Peter 1:11. Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit’s role in us in Matthew 10:19-20 (Mark 13:11, Luke 12:12), John 14:26, 15:26, and 16:13. In these passages the work of the Holy Spirit in us is the work of Jesus Himself.
There is no basis for assuming that the Spirit of Jesus is mute as He lives His life in place of ours. The relationship Jesus promises His followers in John 17 is one of intimate union – “I am in my Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you.” What relationship of intimate union is silent and unspeaking? What intimate relationship is only a one-way communication, if we are the only ones who are to speak? And how can we expect the most intelligent, expressive, creative, caring, compassionate, intimate and loving being in the universe to not communicate with us if indeed He is joined to us?
Jesus spoke to His disciples about how the truth of Christ’s person and work would go forth in the world. “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.” The truth will go out by the testimony of the Holy Spirit of Christ Himself. How will the Spirit testify if He is not to speak? The Spirit’s testimony and that of the apostles are differentiated in this passage, yet how will the Spirit bring forth His testimony if He does not speak it through human agents? And how will that happen if He does not speak ti to us first so we may speak it to others?
Jesus went on to expand on the work of the Holy Spirit as the voice of God to us in John 16:12-15. “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” Here Jesus makes clear that the Spirit of Truth will be our guide into all the truth. How will guide us into this truth? “He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” Jesus is clear. The Holy Spirit will speak to us what Jesus gives Him to say.
Years ago, I read these passages and realized that I had no recollection of ever hearing the Spirit speak to me. In faith that these passages meant what they say they said, I began to seek to hear Him personally. I was not seeking some divine revelation that would sound prophetic, filled with “Thus saith the Lord” authority. I simply sought His daily conversation and companionship, His direction in my daily living. Realizing that for His disciples the context of hearing from Jesus would be their three-plus years of daily conversation with Him, It seemed that the voice of the Spirit would be conversational more than prophetic.
I was not disappointed. I first began to be aware of the Spirit speaking when I sat before the scriptures. Rather than scriptural application by logic and deduction, by the principles of hermeneutics and exegesis, I simply asked the Holy Spirit to guide me to the truth. If something was revealed, I would compare it to those principles of . What I found was that while nothing the Holy Spirit spoke to me was at variance to sound principles of study and interpretation, there was a richness and depth of what was revealed that I had never encountered in studying with only my own study skills. He was guiding me into truth beyond my own ability to ascertain it. I learned that there is a qualitative difference between learning facts and discerning spiritual truth. My studies of the scriptures were transformed into times of revelation and application.
I learned what the prayer of Paul for the Ephesians meant when He prayed, “For this reason I too…[pray] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.” Ephesians 1:15, 18.