Do you regularly experience the promptings of the Spirit? The Amplified Bible expands the translation of Paul’s statement in Romans Chapter 7 as follows:
Romans 7:6 (AMP)
6 But now we are discharged from the Law and have terminated all intercourse with it, having died to what once restrained and held us captive. So now we serve not under [obedience to] the old code of written regulations, but [under obedience to the promptings] of the Spirit in newness [of life]. (emphasis added)
Paul presents the truth that we all have previously served the master of sin. But when we by faith changed our allegiance to our new King Jesus we are no longer under the dominion of the old prince of sin. We have become a citizen of a new Kingdom.
Romans 6:14 (NASB95)
14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
When we were under the rule and dominion of sin, the ruler of this world prompted us regularly to obey his desire for sin. Now that we reside in a new Kingdom we can receive communication from the Spirit who takes the things of King Jesus and discloses them to us by means of His promptings.
13 "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the 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.
14 "He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.
Jesus tells us that the Spirit will guide us into all truth and He will speak and disclose to us the things to come and the things of King Jesus. How does the Spirit speak? How does the Spirit disclose? Without doubt the Spirit has various means of communication. We should agree that there is never any lack of capability on the part of the Spirit to communicate.
However there is the valid question on our part as to if we have ears to hear and eyes to see. The Word of God communicates in numerous ways that all of us do not hear to the same degree. What then can assist us in hearing the prompting of His Spirit?
Hearing related to humility: Pride hardens our hearts and closes our ears. Humility draws us near to God Who looks in grace to the humble.
James 4:5-6 (NASB95)
5 Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: "He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us"?
6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, "GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE."
James is speaking in the verses above about our choice. And he is making the point with considerable strength that we should choose to submit to God in humility which will result in God providing to us grace. Otherwise God will oppose us. Also we are instructed that God is jealous that we choose to follow the promptings of the Spirit that He has placed within us. James sees clearly that the proud un-submitted man will not hear the voice of the Spirit.
Hearing related to the object of our love:
James 4:4 (NASB95)
4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
The Holy Spirit will not speak in His still small and continuous voice to those who have made themselves a friend of this world. Can you think of a time recorded in His revelation that God spoke to a man who was in love with this world except in harsh terms to bring him to repentance?
Often the problem most of us face is consistency. Perhaps we are not a friend of this world at all times, but from time to time we do slide into the love of this world. Our ears are obstinately connected to our eyes; the closer we look to this world the greater our hardness of hearing becomes.
Hearing related to intimacy with God:
When we are deeply in love with a person we hang on their every word. This could be described as the intimacy factor in listening. Nothing brings us more power and focus for acute listening than intense intimate love. Whom we have eyes for we will sten intently.
James 4:8a (NASB95)
8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
While God strongly desired to have a very intimate relationship with you, He has expectations of your responding as we see in the verse in James above. What James does not cover in this passage is that God always starts the process. God does not expect us to initiate love but He does expect us to respond to His love for us.
1 John 4:19 (AMP)
19 We love Him, because He first loved us.
Preparation for hearing:
The Holy Spirit speaks in many ways. One of the primary means of His communication is by using God’s Word. One critical way to prepare to hear from the Spirit is to spend ample time in God’s word. Sometimes the Spirit will use the Word that we are taking in immediately to speak to us and sometimes He will use it later as He brings His Word to our remembrance. Spending time in God’s word is also a means of drawing near to God, particularly if this is a central part of our purpose.
Spending time worshipping God and seeking His face and His presence is similar to charging up our hearing aid batteries. As we spend time seeking and drawing near to God we experience a residual inclination flowing from our hearts that strengthens our desire to seek and obey God for a time. But this process must be repeated daily or more often in order to be fully prepared to hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Without regular recharging our hearing capacity fades and we have more and more difficulty hearing and obeying the Spirit’s promptings.
Galatians 5:16 (AMP)
16 But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).
Psalms 27:8 (AMP)
8 You have said, Seek My face [inquire for and require My presence as your vital need]. My heart says to You, Your face (Your presence), Lord, will I seek, inquire for, and require [of necessity and on the authority of Your Word].
The Holy Spirit was given as a gift from the Father to indwell every believer at the moment of salvation. The Spirit was given for the purpose of every believer having the capacity to continuously bring glory to God and to bear much fruit. While we have been freed from the dominion of sin, we still have strong tendencies to sin. When we choose to submit to the Spirit and listen intently for His promptings, He will insure that we do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. If we choose to sin we will reap the wage of death. Not eternal death but death of the joy and peace and sense of fellowship with God. Death always follows sin.
Therefore if we desire a life filled with light and love and joy we need to consciously submit ourselves moment by moment to the control of the Holy Spirit. As believers our joy and our fruitfulness and our eternal rewards are essentially based upon the extent of time we spend submitted and obedient to the promptings of the Spirit. However if our desire is to be effectively continuously prompted by the Spirit we must prepare. To prepare we must prioritize time. No deep and lasting relationship is developed and maintained without the price of intentionally focused dedicated time.
The key question : are you prioritizing your time such to maximize your hearing the promptings of the Holy Spirit of God?
God gave us; He sacrificed His very own blood that we might have as a present possession the incredible benefit, the opportunity to choose abundant life of walking in the Spirit and pushing aside the death of following our inclination to sin. However if we are to consistently defeat the combined and consistent choking influence of the world and the flesh and the devil, we must plan and prepare to hear and obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
We are praying and asking God to send a mighty work of His spirit for the revival of His Bride. Should we not make every effort in the meantime to listen to and obey the leadings of His Spirit?
Please take five minutes right now and summit yourself to the Spirit asking Him to communicate to you His desires for your improved preparation for hearing and obeying His promptings. If you will do this, on the basis of the revealed nature of the Spirit, you can be absolutely assured of His insightful life giving, revival preparing direction.