Hearing the Holy Spirit Clearly
Before His death, Jesus promised that His followers would receive ' another Helper to be with you forever, even the Spirit of Truth'. John 14:16 A few verses later in the same chapter He added, 'These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you 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 that I have said to you.' John 14: 25-26
It follows from these verses that hearing the Holy Spirit clearly is essential if we are to grow into the image and likeness of Christ, which is what we are called to do. This is the essence of why this ministry is called 'Mirror Image' for that is what each of us is to become - a Mirror Image of Christ to those around us.
How do we develop a sensitivity to the voice of the Holy Spirit within us? There are two things we are told in Scripture regarding our relationship with the Holy Spirit.
1) Ephesians 4:30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
We grieve the Spirit by behavior that does not allow Him to be what He could be in us.
2) I Thessalonians 5:19 Do not quench the Spirit.
We quench the Spirit when we do not allow Him to do what He could through us.
Obedience, then, is the ultimate key. The more we obey those inner promptings of His Spirit, the more we will walk, talk and live like Jesus did. In John 5:44 we learn that at His baptism, the Spirit of the Lord descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove and remained on Him. The key word here is 'remained'. At no point in the earthly life of Jesus, did the Spirit withdraw from Him as He did from King Saul when he disobeyed the Lord. (I Samuel 16:14) Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience to the Father and therefore, the Spirit 'remained' on Him.
Our goal then is to learn obedience, that we might live just as He did. Too high a goal, you protest? Not at all. For it is precisely what we are called to do - a day at a time - an experience at a time. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 8:28
Paul outlines for us exactly how we grieve the Spirit of God and when we do, He withdraws the sense of His presence from us. He will never leave us nor forsake us for it is through the Spirit that you have been 'sealed for the day of Redemption'. However, the sense of intimacy with the Lord is withdrawn when we are in disobedience. This is not with respect to salvation but to receiving our inheritance! There's a difference. Salvation comes through faith in the atoning blood of Jesus Christ on the cross. It is through no effort or work of our own that we receive the gift of eternal life.
Our inheritance, on the other hand, is the 'prize', the 'reward' stored up for us in heavenly places where our obedience is noted and recorded in the heavenly book. This is what Paul meant when he wrote: 'forgetting what lies behind and pressing forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize (or inheritance) of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:13-14
King David understood this. Extolling the instructions of the Word of God in Psalm 19, David cried out 'More are they to be desired than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honey comb. Moreover by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Psalm 19:10-11(emphasis added)
Look at Matthew 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
And Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.
Is it any wonder that in rebuking Saul, the prophet Samuel said to him, 'obedience is better than sacrifice...'? It is our obedience that yields us an inheritance in heavenly realms and our obedience is directly connected to healing the Holy Spirit clearly. When you read the Scriptures, do you hear Him speaking to you? When you listen to teaching, is your ear tuned, not to the speaker, but to what the Holy Spirit wants to say to you at that moment? When you pray and ask for guidance or direction about a matter, do you listen for the still, small voice of the Spirit within you?
Learning to hear the Holy Spirit clearly is a day by day, lifelong journey. It's never too late to start that journey.