We’ve been talking about following the plan of God for our lives. This week, I want to share with you the primary way God communicates His plan to us, as His children, because I have discovered that many Christians still struggle to know how God leads them. They’ve not learned to locate or follow the inner witness.
Many haven’t had any clear teaching along this line--possibly because even many ministers don’t know much about it. As a result, many are following what they think is the leading of the Spirit, but it’s actually just their rational minds or possibly their own affections or passions. Some think that if they get emotional when they think about doing something, that’s the leading of the Holy Spirit, but the Bible doesn’t say we’re led by our emotions.
Also, feelings (including falling in love) are not how God guides us. Opportunities, open doors or circumstances aligning themselves are not the leadings of the Spirit. Nor is the advice of others, what’s convenient and so forth. As a result of not being scripturally taught about these things, people are sometimes missing God’s plan for their lives by many miles, as we say.
Led Internally—Not externally
God doesn’t lead His children externally in the New Testament. The Bible says, “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord” (Proverbs 20:27). Although that’s written in the Old Testament, it’s actually a prophecy for us in the New Testament, which I could prove if I had time.
The spirit of man being the candle of the Lord means God will enlighten or guide us through our spirits, not our physical being, our intellect or our emotions. In the New Testament, Paul calls the spirit of man the INWARD man. Putting these two truths together shows us that God guides us inwardly—not through the outward man. So often Christians seek guidance every other way than the way God said it would come.
In so many words, John 16:13 said when the Holy Spirit is come, He will be a guide. He will not only guide us into all truth, but He will guide us in all the affairs of life—including into God's plan. Every Christian has the Guide on the inside, including you! You ought to get acquainted with Him! You don’t need to ask someone else or look externally to know the will of God.
If the Holy Spirit is to guide us, these outward things are not to guide us. If He’s going to guide us, He’ll do so from where He is—within our spirit, which is our INNER man. We call that guidance the INNER witness.
For as many AS ARE LED by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
This verse tells us that God promises to lead all His children by His Spirit, which means the leading of the Spirit belongs to all of God’s children as their birthright. As a child of God, you can expect to be led by the Spirit of God. Look to Him for guidance in life, not to those other things.
Verse 14 alone leaves us sorta hanging as to HOW the Holy Spirit will guide us. Verse 16 tells us the HOW.
The Spirit itself (other translations say Himself) BEARETH WITNESS WITH OUR SPIRIT, that we are the children of God:
The Bible tells us we are a three-part being (I Thessalonians 5:23). We are a spirit, we have a soul (which is made up of the mind, will and emotions), and we live in a body. The spirit man is the real you—the part that lives on after physical death.
God, who is a Spirit (John 4:24) contacts your spirit man. That is the part of your being He leads and guides you through. His Spirit bears witness with your SPIRIT--not your mind. Since God is a Spirit, He broadcasts His signal to you in the spirit realm, not the natural realm or the mental realm.
Every believer is the temple of the Holy Spirit. But, what is the Holy Spirit in there to do? Amongst other things, He’s in there to guide you through bearing witness with your spirit. I’m here to tell you, He's on the job inside you right now!
Learn to listen to the INWARD witness and follow that—not the voice of your outward man or natural circumstances. As you do, the Holy Spirit will guide you right into the plan of God for your life.
Supernatural but Not Spectacular
Some believers claim they don’t know God’s plan for their lives, but if they would dip down into their spirits, they actually do know! It’s just their head doesn’t know because they’ve tucked their spirit away, so to speak.
Let me illustrate. There are flows of water under the ground that are deeper than the surface of the earth for example. If you want to benefit from them, you'll have to go deeper! The same is true with the inner witness. What we're talking about in this lesson—this inner witness that is to guide us—is deeper than anything that you will get out of your mind.
The function of the inner witness is to lead you. You don't need to pray that the Holy Spirit will guide you. He's in there bearing witness with your spirit—the Bible said so!
All the while you're praying, the Spirit is trying to pass the information you seek up to your mind. If you don't know to look within your spirit, or if you’re not taught to follow that inward witness, you'll miss God’s plan because you’ll tend to look more to the intellectual mind, the circumstantial world or the natural realm for guidance.
Or, possibly you’ll look for something more spectacular to guide you. Although the Bible shows us that God sometimes moves in a more spectacular way to reveal His plan to those He uses, none of us have a promise that He’ll do so. We must learn to trust the inner witness because in most cases, that’s all we’re going to get. We must resist the temptation to wait for something more spectacular before we move with God.
The inner witness is supernatural, but it’s not very spectacular. For this reason, some overlook the supernatural, which is in them all along, because they’re looking for something more spectacular.
The Classic Battle between the Head and Heart
I’m so glad my wife and I learned early in life to follow this inner witness rather than our minds. It has served us well in life.
For example, my wife learned how to win this classic battle between the heart and head early. After high school, she began making plans to go to a certain university to further her education. In the meantime, she was invited to visit the campus of Rhema Bible Training Center. When she was there, she got an unmistakable leading in her spirit—that inner knowing or inner peace to go to Rhema.
What was she to do? She had something in her mind other than what was coming up in her spirit and had to decide if she was going to continue following the plans she was making in her mind or follow her heart. By this time in her life, she wanted the will of God, but she had not yet learned how to follow the Spirit into it, so she was struggling. We can all identify with her situation, can’t we?
As she struggled in the valley of decision, her heart told her to fill out the Rhema application. But as she did, her head (the plans she had made in her mind) took over, and she wadded up the application and threw it in the waste basket. Later, when her mind got quiet, her heart once again passed the information it was getting from the Holy Spirit on to her mind—go to Rhema! That battle between her head and heart went on for a while until finally, she just got up, pulled the application out of the trash can, unwadded it and sent it in...all wrinkled up!
Thank God she did because she got into the will of God for her life, and God has blessed her immensely. What was that struggle all about that she was going through? It was the classic battle between the heart and the intellectual mind.
I wonder how many wrinkled up applications schools of the Spirit get from students who are still learning to follow their heart rather than their head. I know they would get a lot more if more people would learn to follow the inner witness!
We’ve all been in situations like my wife found herself in, haven’t we? In order to enter into God’s plan for our lives rather than our own, we must all learn for ourselves the habit of following our heart rather than our mind.
I want to encourage you to let your spirit dominate you as he receives the direction your life needs from God in the form of the inner witness. Don’t be discouraged if your flesh or rational mind keep trying to dominate what you know God is witnessing to your heart about. We don’t learn spiritual things overnight any more than we do natural things.
IF YOU’LL PRESS INTO DEVELOPING THIS SKILL OF LETTING YOUR SPIRIT TAKE THE LEAD IN THE DECISIONS OF LIFE, I KNOW YOU’LL LEARN TO FOLLOW GOD INTO HIS WONDERFUL PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE, AND YOU’LL EXPERIENCE ALL THE BLESSINGS THAT FOLLOWING THAT PLAN HOLDS.
Written By: Jay Eberly // November 23, 2021
© 2021 Jay Eberly Ministries. All rights reserved.
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