In our last post Jesus made an interesting statement when he was questioned by a crowd of people as to how they could do the works of God. (John 6:28-29 This was in response to him doing a great miracle. Jesus replied that the “work of God” was to believe in the person whom God had sent to them. Obviously that means to believe in Jesus. My conviction is that to believe in Jesus is more than just a believing unto salvation or what Christians would say to be “born again”. To obtain all that Jesus acquired for us through his death on the cross can only come through what you believe. To explain this, we did a Greek word study of the word “faith”. Faith and belief are connected. You can believe and trust correctly or incorrectly based on what you base your beliefs upon. To believe in something seems very simple until you understand the biblical definition of faith. We found there is a greater depth to the word faith.
We discovered that faith is the substance of things we “hope” for. Faith supports the things we “hope” for. The Greek definition of hope is a confident expectation of good based on a promise from God. We took note that this kind of hope was very different from the phrase we might hear or say frequently, “I hope so”. We found that the idiomatic phrase used so often in our culture really expresses a lack of confidence and a low expectation of anything good happening. This is an important distinction. With biblical hope, God is looking for our confident expectation of good.
We looked at Psalm 91 where David speaks confidently in God’s ability to deliver him out of trouble. We are impressed with his confidence. However, there are many Christians that struggle with “believing” in God’s desire or ability to deliver them out of trouble. I should clarify, I believe that most us believe that God wants to deliver us, we are just unsure when he does not want to deliver us. Therefore we are resigned to a “whatever happens, will happen” mentality and if things go poorly, it was God’s will and if they go well, it was God’s will as well. It is my contention that the scriptures do not reflect this. When I hear the popular phrase “everything happens for a reason”, I believe it wholeheartedly. Where many might believe the reason for everything that happens to us is God’s doing, I do believe that there are some situations where God specifically tells us the reason.
At the end of the previous post, I left you all with several scriptures to ponder. In those scriptures there was a common theme. On two occasions, Paul and his associates were trying to go to a certain geographical location but there was resistance. Paul specifically tells us the source of the resistance. In one case “They were forbidden by the Holy Spirit” and “the Spirit did not permit them’. In another case, “Satan hindered us.” The circumstances looked identical BUT the reason for the two separate incidents were vastly different. I’m sure Paul prayed beforehand to determine whether or not he should go to one place or another. Instead of Paul stating “everything happens for a reason”, he actually knew the reason. This is very important. Why? There might be a reason why someone would need to know the source.
Let’s consider this scripture James 4:7 “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee.” “Put on whole armor of God, so that you may be to stand against the wiles of the devil.
The implication of these scriptures is that we can know the source of our troubles. That is very important. Many times we have an all or nothing mentality regarding the source of challenges. Either we blame everything on the devil or we believe every challenge is from God. James and Paul use two terms that say that we play a part in whether or not our challenges remain. James says we need to “resist” the devil and Paul says that we need to “put on the armor of God” to stand against the wiles of the devil. What happens if we don’t resist or put on this armor? Even more, what if we think the resistance we are experiencing is from God when really it is the devil? In all of these cases we are the problem because we did not discern the situation correctly. Do you see the problem? We won’t resist and we won’t put on armor against God. The question we should have is: How can we tell the difference? The answer is found in some verses in the Gospel of John. 14:16-17;26; 15:26 & 16:13-14
16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. ;
26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. ; 26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
Do you notice a theme? It is the Holy Spirit. In all of these passages, Jesus is telling us the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Holy Spirit will teach us all things, testify of Jesus, he will remind us of Jesus teachings, He will testify of Jesus, He will guide us into ALL truth AND he will show us things to come!!!
Isn’t it amazing what the Holy Spirit will do for us. That is what Paul experienced. Paul knew when the Holy Spirit was guiding them in a different direction as to where they should minister. Paul, was also aware when Satan was hindering them from going somewhere. Therefore, when he knew the Holy Spirit was constraining, he stopped using energy in that direction and then sought the Lord for a new direction. He could have easily been frustrated had he not known the source of the resistance.
Can you see the confidence we will have when we can recognize the Holy Spirit’s voice. In John 10:27 Jesus says that He is the good shepherd and his sheep hear his voice and know his voice. One might still wonder how they can really know the voice of the Holy Spirit.
9 But as it is written:“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,Nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 1 Corinthians 2:9-11
Our spirits are communing with the Holy Spirit all the time. The key is do we believe that? Also, do we take time to be aware of the Holy Spirit talking to us? If we don’t believe this does or can happen, we won’t expect it to happen. This is the power of believing.
Paul and James are saying that we can know God’s voice. We can be aware of the source of our challenges. Praise God! Now we can know when we need to use our faith to resist the devil and hold onto to God’s promises and when we need to continue waiting to hear God’s direction. On a personal note, I really struggle with “wondering” what is going on in certain challenging circumstances. I don’t have peace and it can cause me anxiety. Now, I intentionally take time to slow down and I ask the Holy Spirit to help me hear his voice and I trust that He will guide me into all truth. You can too!
In my next blog, I will share scriptures where the Holy Spirit helped Paul to avoid tragedy twice! Wouldn’t be great if we could know the Holy Spirit’s voice and avoid tragedy!? Stay tuned.