John 16:13 “When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth: for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”
One of the primary roles of the Holy Spirit is the role of a guide, but it is not always easy to discern His voice. People always ask “How do I know who is talking to me? How can I tell the difference between my thoughts and God’s?” Hopefully I can give you some spiritual markers that will always line up when the Holy Spirit is guiding us. Since God is not the author of confusion, He certainly does not want us confused about something as important as this matter of the Holy Spirit. Before I get started on these spiritual markers I want to look at John 16:13 “When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth: for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” There are four things here that we need to look at before we go on.
First, the Holy Spirit will guide us. The key word here is guide. Jesus does not promise that the Holy Spirit will control us. He does not promise that the Holy Spirit will drive us. He does not say that the Holy Spirit will force us to do anything. He does say that the Holy Spirit will guide us. There are times that I wish that the Holy Spirit would control me. When I am tempted, when I get my mind set on something so much that I am insensitive. Or when it is a beautiful day and I need to work and I really want to just drive out to the mountains. Life would be easier and I would be more enjoyable if the Holy Spirit would take control of me. But that is not the case. He is my guide, not my controller. At no point, do we lose the ability to choose to follow His leading. We are always responsible for our words and actions.
Second, the Holy Spirit is a trustworthy guide. The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of truth. He guides believers into truth and according to what is true. That makes the Holy Spirit a trustworthy guide. The Holy Spirit helps believers know the difference between what is true and what is not: what is wise and what is foolish; what is best and what is just ok. Every day is full of decisions. Most of our decisions concern issues not clearly spelled out in the Scripture; for example, where to go to school, whether or not to hire a certain person, where to go for a vacation, and on and on. As you are barraged with the details of everyday living, the Holy Spirit will guide you. He will give you that extra on the spot sense of knowing you need to make both big and little decisions. And the wonderful result is that as you develop a greater sensitivity to His guidance, you will worry less about the decisions that you make; because the Holy Spirit is indeed a trustworthy guide.
Third, the Holy Spirit is God’s mouthpiece to believers. The Holy Spirit does not speak on His own. Just as Jesus did, the Holy Spirit willingly submitted to the authority of the Father. Everything He communicates to us is directly from the Father. John 16”13 “He will not speak on His own initiative.” God chose to communicate to His children through the Holy Spirit according to Acts 11:12. He is God’s mouthpiece to believers. When God chooses to speak directly to you, it will be through the Holy Spirit. Think about this, it makes perfect sense. After all, where does the Holy reside? He lives in us, therefore He is the perfect candidate for communicating God’s will to Christians. Living inside us, He has direct access to our minds, our emotions, and our consciences.
Fourth, the Holy Spirit speaks. There is plenty of discussion today about whether or not God still speaks and I do not want to get into that. I do believe that God, through the Holy Spirit, communicates directly with believers. I do not write these revelations in the back of my Bible and call them inspired, and I do not run around telling everyone what God told me. My experience as well as many other godly men and women, is that the Holy Spirit, at the prompting of the heavenly Father, still communicates with believers today. His communication does not really need to be audible because He lives inside me and He does not need my ears. What He needs is my listening heart and my renewed mind. In Acts, there are several times when the Holy Spirit spoke to Saul and Peter (Acts 11:12; 13:2; 16:6; 20:23). They had a special gift, they were apostles, men handpicked of God to take the Gospel to the world. But the very same Holy Spirit that indwelt them indwells every believer. Just as much as they needed divine direction at critical times in their lives, we need it today. In his letters to the Christians in Rome and Galatia, Paul refers to believers as “led by the Spirit (Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:18). It would be hard to lead someone that you are not communicating with. The same is true for the Holy Spirit. If we are going to be led by the Holy Spirit, we can only assume that He is more than willing and able to communicate with us.
When you are concerned, God is concerned. Jesus echoed this in the Sermon on the Mount when He said in Matt. 6:31-32 “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat? Or What will we drink? Or what will we wear for clothing?’ . . . . for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” Is it not comforting? He knows what we need. He notices even the smallest details. The principles that we will discuss apply to every area of your life. God is concerned about your job, your house, your kids, your vacation, your choice of a church, your finances, and even your hobbies. If it matters to you, it matters to God. Because you matter to God.