Today, in the third blog in a series on ‘listening to the Holy Spirit’, I’m going to look at how Holy Spirit speaks to us through Scripture and impressions.
Through Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:16 says:
Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful (in) one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. (Msg)
All Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit, so it’s no surprise that He regularly uses it to speak to us. Regular reading of the Bible is always of great benefit to our spiritual lives, and we can apply what we are reading to our own situation, but there are times when Holy Spirit speaks to us directly through a scripture.
Often as I read God’s word, a particular verse jumps out at me. Normally, it’s in direct relation to the context of the verse, being generally applied to my situation. At other times, He will take a scripture out of its original context to speak to me about something in my life. So I am reading a passage which has one meaning, and then a verse stands out to me in isolation, often as an answer to something I have been praying about. We should never build a theological belief from a scripture taken out of context, but it doesn’t mean that God cant use a verse in isolation with which to speak to us.
A powerful example of God speaking to me from scripture happened in the early days of Beachy Head Chaplaincy Team. A number of people asked me whether I had a scripture to confirm my vision for the work. It seemed an odd question, as any scripture that talked about loving one another seemed to cover it, but to humour them I asked God if He would give me a word of confirmation. He immediately led me to Isaiah 9:2, ‘The people walking in darkness have seen a great light, on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.’
Through Impressions: Holy Spirit often speaks to us through an impression we receive in the context of a person, a circumstance, a plan or decision, a place, or even an entire geographical area.
- I may meet a person and immediately have a thought or a feeling about them. For example, sensing peace when I meet a person of peace, or suddenly being aware of feelings of lust around someone who is struggling in that area. It’s vitally important in the area of impressions, that we have dealt with the plank in our own eye so we can clearly discern the speck in our brother’s eye. If we don’t, we can easily misunderstand or stumble because of what we are sensing.
- In a negative circumstance we may encounter, for example, a feeling of peace which causes us to not be knocked off track, because we know God is saying: ‘Do not be afraid.’ In another circumstance, we may find an impression which shows us what God wants to do.
- In making a plan or decision I may sense something in my spirit about the choice I have made. An example would be a sense of hope on a decision Holy Spirit is leading me into, or a lack of peace on a plan, which for some reason, God is warning me about.
- We may also have an impression over a particular place. Examples would be a house full of peace, or a sense of the brooding of the Holy Spirit over a place of historic revival, or even a clear impression over a geographical area, from a town to a country, and even an entire continent.
It is important, especially with impressions, to remember that when God speaks, he doesn’t do so to condemn, but because He wants to bring that thing under His Kingdom influence and see Heaven‘s resources released. If you sense something negative, don’t simply speak it out over a person, circumstance, or place. Ask the Holy Spirit what effect Kingdom influence would have over them and then declare that. For example, for a person that I realise is under the influence of lust, I may speak out and release deeper levels of purity over them. If I am are in a position to speak to them, it may go like this: “I sense that God is bringing you in to a deeper place of purity as you encounter His love for you. Your heart is going to pursue after Him.” In most cases, they don’t necessarily need their sin pointed out to them, they may already be feeling trapped in a cycle of failure and condemnation. What they really need is hope! Hope that the future will be different and that what the Bible says about our identity in Christ is true for them.
Remember, in all things we are to bring life not condemnation.
Next week we will look at how the Holy Spirit speaks through dreams, circumstances, and creation.
Until then, I pray that your eyes and ears will continue to be opened to the amazing ways God is communicating with you every day.
We would love to hear more about how you are learning to hear from Holy Spirit. Please leave a comment below.
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