Category Archives: Holy Spirit

Prophetic Intercession — Releasing Your Revelation

Hearing God speakIn our last post, we saw that God desires to share with us things yet to come. If you are an intercessor, the amount of time you spend with the Lord will most likely cause you to hear more about the future than believers who are not investing as much time in prayer. You are also more likely to hear about events which go beyond your personal life.

It has been said that, on average, intercessors hear two to three years ahead of schedule. Our advance notice can cause problems for us in the local church if we are not aware of this. Today, I’d like to help minimize those problems.

When we hear something from the Lord or experience a vision, it often feels like a “now” revelation because of its vivid intensity. The truth is, though, often it is not for the present. It is speaking of the future.

Typically, we excitedly contact our pastors with what we’ve heard or seen, especially if it’s to do with our local church. Meanwhile, pastors are often focused on the here and now: the day-to-day caring for their congregations, getting the next sermon together, short-term goals, and dealing with immediate problems. So, when we spring upon them an idea which doesn’t fit their current frame of reference, their response is, “That’s not God.” They may not tell us that, but it might be what they are thinking. The disparity between the “now” realm of our pastors and the “not yet” world of intercessors can create a tension-filled disconnect between the two groups. This is sad, because we have a lot to offer each other, if we could only learn to work together.

What can we intercessors do to help the situation? Here are some tips to make the road smoother:

Timing:

Wait on your word or vision for a few days before sharing it. Sometimes we release revelation too quickly, only to have God clarify and expand upon it, if we wait. Pray about whether this is the right time to share it. Proverbs 15:23 speaks to this: “A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!”  A word released at the right moment is so much more effective than a word shared either prematurely or tardily.

Right before or after a church service is not usually a good time. Beforehand, your pastor is focused on guiding the service and preaching. Afterwards, he’s tired and just wants to be done.

Your presentation skills matter:

How you preface your word or vision has a lot to do with whether you will be heard. “The Lord told me you need to do this,” and “God said the church’s direction needs to change” rarely go over well, even if you really did hear from God. Such approaches are not only annoying, but they sound arrogant.

A softer approach is more likely to be received: “Pastor, I think I heard something from the Lord. This might not be for right now, but I wanted to mention it, in case it will be useful to you down the road somewhere.”

When possible, share your revelation in writing. Pastors are almost guaranteed to forget what you said if you only tell them orally. They have too many other things on their minds. Keep a copy of what you share, and date it.

Ask for feedback from your pastor, but then let it rest. Give your word or vision time to play out. When it finally does, it probably won’t look exactly like you envisioned it, but that’s OK.

If you see your word being fulfilled at a later date, rather than having a smug “I saw that coming!” attitude, look for an opportunity to encourage and bring confirmation. Sometimes my pastor or someone else in the church had the same prophetic revelation as mine a year or more afterward. I approached that by saying, “Pastor, I was excited to hear what was spoken this morning. You may not remember, but last September, I shared with you that same thing! It was an encouragement to me that we’re both hearing this.”

This is one reason why it is important to write down what you hear and see, with the date, so you can retell it accurately. If you approach this with a heart attitude of wanting to serve, you will not sound like you are bragging, and your reiterated word will truly encourage your pastor that he is on the right track.

Make sure you know what sphere God is speaking about before you share:

Much of what you hear will be for you personally, especially if it is of a corrective nature. Don’t mistakenly project it onto others. While growing in hearing the Lord, we sometimes err by thinking we have a word for the church, because we haven’t yet learned to distinguish between personal words and words for others. Ask God to make clear to you which it is before sharing.

While learning this, several times I shared revelation which I thought was for our congregation, but it wasn’t taken seriously. In my discouragement over not having my words received, I became confused about whether I could even hear God accurately. I nearly gave up. But at the critical moment, the Lord brought some prophetic words my way from two well-known ministers. They matched almost exactly several things I had heard. I then realized that what I had thought I was getting for the local church had been about the American church as a whole. No wonder they hadn’t made sense to my pastors!

If you make mistakes, don’t give up. Keep on listening to the Lord. Ask Him to help you mature in releasing your revelation. If you maintain a heart attitude of humility and desiring to serve, over time, God will honor your efforts, give you favor, and make a way for your words to be heard.

intercessor manual, intercessor handbook

 

The Intercessor Manual,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

questions about intercession

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

You Can Know the Future — The Holy Spirit and You (Part 2)

knowing the futureBut when He, the Spirit of truth, has come … He will show you things to come. John 16:13

Since the beginning of time, mankind has longed to know the future. I believe that this desire was implanted within us when God first made man in His own image. Because of the entrance of sin, many throughout history have sought to quench this God-given thirst wrongly, by tapping into occult spirituality. However, man’s wrong usage does not detract from the Lord’s nature as a foretelling God. He still invites His people to seek Him in this area today.

In the Bible, the Lord spoke to both Israel and the Church of their past, their present, and their future. He also speaks to us about our personal lives in all three of these time zones as we commune with Him in prayer. Christians usually do all right with Him speaking about the past and the present. But, because miracles and present-day spiritual gifts were discouraged by many churches for a long time, some people still get nervous with the idea of the Lord speaking about our future, other than what is specifically recorded in Scripture.

We don’t need to be afraid of seeking God for information about our future. Jesus already told us that part of the Holy Spirit’s purpose for being shed abroad in our hearts is, “He will show you things to come.”

Now, we do need to be careful not to get out of balance with this. God set a precedent of telling us about the future in the Bible. He delights to speak of what is to come. But He also withholds information. Having a constant need to know is unhealthy, so we shouldn’t overdo it. There is a time to know, and a time to walk by faith, not knowing. God uses both to help us grow in relationship with Him.

Sometimes the thirst people have for future revelation leads to being indiscriminate about where they are receiving information from, even listening to evil spirits, thinking it must be God. It has also led to inordinately exalting those who happen to get some predictions right. We have put our prophets in a very unsafe position of feeling pressured to perform, always having to speak about what lies ahead. As a result, unreliable, immature, and wounded prophets have sometimes gained large followings of people who hang on their every word.

Why does God tell us things about the future?

  • He likes to share His secrets with His trustworthy friends. Amos 3:7 says, “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing without revealing His secret to His servants the prophets.” (Because New Testament believers now have the Holy Spirit dwelling within, we can all, in a measure, partake of this promise.)
  • He wants us to begin taking preparatory steps to come into His plans for us.
  • He is giving us vision toward which we can stretch our faith — because God’s plans are too big for us to accomplish in our own strength.
  • He uses revelation of the future to build hope and a sense of purpose in us.
  • He wants us to pray into what is yet ahead. As we bathe the future in intercession, we partner with Him for it to become reality in our natural world.
  • He sometimes forewarns us of trouble ahead, but with that will also give His assurance that He will be with us in it and that He will take care of us.

Why does God withhold knowing the future from us?

  • He has our good at heart at all times.
  • Knowing ahead of time about deep struggles and sadness which will befall us would cause us to be fearful and despairing. Knowing these things before their time would steal our joy in the present. God gives supernatural grace in the moment for difficulties we must go through.
  • Our immaturity — if we knew many of the wonderful plans He has for us, we might try to rush into them in our own strength instead of waiting for Him to put them together. He knows what we are mature enough to handle at any given point in time, and in His wisdom conceals from us whatever would be too much for our egos to handle.
  • He wants us to seek Him more than we seek revelation.
  • He wants us to inquire of Him for guidance, which He then doles out as it is needed. Our faith is built as we take one step at a time, holding His hand in trust, letting Him lead us.
  • He likes to surprise us with good gifts. He is the God of suddenlies.

As you ask the Lord to show you things to come, keep in mind what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:12: “For now we see dimly through a glass, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then shall I know even as I am also known.”

In addition, remember that the Body of Christ sees and knows together. Anytime you hear of a prophet who knows it all, beware. God gives pieces of the puzzle to several, so that together we obtain one big picture. He wants us to depend upon Him and each other.

Next time, we’ll talk about how intercessors can handle wisely what we hear about the future.

nature of God

 

Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

The Spirit-Filled Guide to Personal Prophecy

 

The Spirit-Filled Guide to Personal Prophecy, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

Getting to the Truth — The Holy Spirit and You (Part 1)

But when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth  — John 16:13

I love John, Chapters 14 and 16, where Jesus tells us about the Holy Spirit, Who has now come to live in the heart of every believer. In Old Testament times, the prophets experienced the indwelling of the Spirit (1 Peter 1:11), but the rest of God’s people did not. They depended on the prophets to give them the Word of the Lord. How different it is today, when every believer can hear God personally and sense His Presence within. What a blessing!

The Spirit is our ever-present friend, comforter, guide, and teacher. He continually points us to Jesus. We can come to know Him even more deeply through the Baptism in the Spirit, which is not an end in itself, but an entrance into a satisfying adventure of intimate fellowship and partnership with Him.

I so appreciate knowing Him as the Spirit of Truth. I frequently pray that He will expose portions of my thinking which are not in alignment with truth. I pray this often for my loved ones as well — especially if I see areas of their thinking, speaking, or actions which don’t line up with God’s heart.

It could be a self image issue which needs to change — because, unfortunately, we tend to believe negative things about ourselves due to past hurts, unkind words which have been spoken to us, or lies that spirits of darkness have injected into our minds. It could be a perception of God’s nature which needs to change (again because people say wrong things which take root, or because the devil whispers slanderous thoughts to us about the Lord). Often, deception enters in through all the stuff we encounter in everyday life in a sinful, God-opposed world.

Sometimes the Spirit needs to correct doctrinal error in us — teachings which are generally believed and taken for granted within our particular church circles. We have a habit of passing around various ideas which become accepted over time because we hear them so often. If a prominent pastor or teacher says something, pretty soon other pastors and teachers are also saying the same thing. After we hear the same idea from several different sources, we start believing it as gospel truth. Sometimes it isn’t, and it takes the Holy Spirit ministering His truth to us to reveal that and reorder our thinking.

Generally, He guides us away from error and into truth by making a particular Bible verse stand out to us. Suddenly, the light bulb goes on that the Bible doesn’t really say what we were told for so many years that it said!

He may also use a solid Bible teacher to point out truths we had never seen in the Word before — but it is up to us to be like the Bereans in Acts 17:11. They received the apostles’ teaching eagerly, but also searched the Scriptures to make sure what they were being told was really so!

The Spirit also guides us into truth by prompting us in our spirit that some idea we’ve been harboring isn’t quite right. He may cause us to feel uneasy about something we hear said. We must listen to these subtle warnings and not dismiss them just because our rational minds can’t identify any problem. The Spirit knows what we cannot discern through our natural senses.

The Holy Spirit’s work of bringing us into truth is a lifelong process. We rise to ever-greater truth as we fellowship with Him in prayer and the Scriptures, until that day when we are with the Lord and all darkness is purged from us. The Spirit is continually cleaning up error in us and enlightening us to real truth. Deception comes off in layers. Sometimes we inadvertently allow new layers of it to become attached to us, so He patiently removes those as well.

I believe one of the best ways we can accelerate the work of truth in our lives is by actively inviting the Spirit of Truth to guide us into all truth. James 4:2 tells us, “You have not, because you ask not” — so let’s ask! Then we stay open-hearted to Him and let Him do what we’ve invited Him to do.

Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). All thanks and praise to Him for sending the precious Holy Spirit to us, so that we can experience the reality of this promise!

Do you have thoughts or a testimony on how the Spirit is guiding you into all truth? Perhaps you would like to share by leaving a comment.

understanding Holy Spirit

 

For more on the work of the Holy Spirit, see Lee Ann’s book, Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God.

 

Tips for Hearing God More Clearly

hearing God

Do you want to hear God more and with greater clarity? We should all seek to grow in hearing God more frequently and more accurately than we currently do.

Maybe you don’t think you hear God much at all — yet. It could be you are hearing Him, but not recognizing how much He is already speaking to you!

Here are a few tips for better hearing:

Value the small things God says to you.

Limiting our expectation for hearing God’s voice to only monumental revelation can really hinder our ability to hear Him. We want to know about the future, we desire a word of guidance, or we look for an entire blueprint for the next five years of our lives. But those aren’t the only ways God speaks — in fact, they will be in the minority.

Most of our everyday conversations with loved ones are not made up of pivotal, life-changing discussions. We talk about the day-to-day events, and we enjoy doing it. God doesn’t only speak about the big stuff, either.

Gentle thoughts such as “Don’t be afraid; I’m here,” or “I love you, and I will always stand with you,” or “Just trust Me and I’ll take care of you,” are God talking to you. These are the kinds of things He says most of the time. He is delighted when you treasure the little things He speaks.  Respond to them gratefully, record them in your prayer journal, and allow them to bring you into affectionate conversation with the Lord.

God’s voice is not like the opinions and speculations of man.

What He says has a different tone from what we hear and see in our natural world, because He knows way more than the “experts” in the media. God never has to speculate on how things will turn out. He’s always out in front of current situations.

God never projects anxiety over the future. It is finished, and Jesus already has secured the victory, remember? He’s not nervous and worried, wondering whether His people will pray enough or do all the right things to make life on earth go well. Because He isn’t wringing His hands, He doesn’t speak anxiety into us, either.

Sometimes Christian leaders temporarily get off in the flesh and say things like, “People of God, it’s all going down if we don’t pray harder / preach louder / get more involved. God won’t win this one if we don’t get out there and DO!” That’s a spirit of fear speaking, not the Spirit of God.

God’s voice will inspire awe of Him, but not fear about our circumstances. He will show us what steps to take. He will prompt us to pray earnestly, but from a position of being confident that He will answer, not from a place of panic. “For you shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rearward” (Isaiah 52:12).

God’s voice does not feel like a club beating us over the head.

The Spirit will convict us of areas where we are not aligned with Him — sinful thinking, speaking, and habits. But condemnation, shame, and accusations are the devil’s tools, not God’s. The Lord’s reproof carries with it a sense of His sorrow over our wrongdoing, but also His assurance that He still loves us. There is hope attached to His correction.

Shut down the background noise.

We need periods of undistracted quiet if we hope to hear the “still small voice” of the Holy Spirit. That might mean shutting off even the Christian music at times. Some people are uncomfortable if they don’t have background sound. Really, it’s all about habits. Just as you formed the habit somewhere along the line of always having sound going on around you, you will have to accustom yourself to the “sound” of quiet. Try it for a short period of time, and then increase the silent time gradually.

In addition to turning off physical background noise, we must learn to shut out the clamor of too many voices pouring into our heads through news and social media. We are bombarded with opinions coming at us from all directions. Deliberately cut out, or at least limit, what you read or listen to in the way of people’s ideas. When our ears and eyes are constantly absorbing what others think, our brains become overloaded. Our thoughts swirl out of control. When the mind is overstimulated, it is difficult to hear the Lord deep down in our spirit. Learn to reduce the barrage of your natural senses, so that your spiritual senses can gain the upper hand.

When we shut down distractions, we make way for the Lord to speak to us about His eternal perspectives.

Ask the Lord questions.

Ask them one at a time. Then wait for His answer. This is one of the best ways to begin hearing Him more clearly. Our Father loves conversation time with His children. We do well to give Him the opportunity.

I hope some of these tips will be useful to you in your quest to hear the Lord more clearly. Would you like to share tips you have found helpful in hearing Him? By commenting, you may provide just what someone else needs!

how to hear God's voice

 

Hotline to Heaven: Hearing the Voice of God
A short, no-nonsense tutorial by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

Discerning the Principles of God

Christian ethicsKnowing which principles in God’s Word to apply to given situations can be tricky. If we do not get our application from the Holy Spirit, we can end up speaking or acting in the flesh.

We see conflict over how to walk out the Word all the time. While some things are very clear-cut in Scripture, others are not. Hence, people frequently misuse the Bible to support their opinion or what they want to do. Believers really seem to struggle with this. It comes out loud and clear in real-life conversations. People are willing to fight to the death over their opinion, using Scripture to back it up – often erroneously.

An example recently in the news was the issue of separating children from their parents at the border. Somehow, that became a fight between those who wanted to apply the Romans 13 “obey the law” principle and those who were more concerned about the “compassion and caring for the helpless” principle.

How do we figure out which principle to apply and when? Like with so many other things, it is about discernment — in this case, discovering God’s heart case by case. That may sound like situation ethics, but it is not.

Situation ethics, as defined at Wikipedia, “takes into account the particular context of an act when evaluating it ethically, rather than judging it according to absolute moral standards.” Sympathy toward so-called mercy killing is one example of where situation ethics will take us. God’s moral standards, however, do remain eternally absolute, so we can’t bend those for our convenience or personal desires, no matter how convincing our logic may be.

Many decisions and viewpoints do not involve violating an absolute moral standard. For those, there can be multiple principles in Scripture to be considered. We need to find out, for each set of circumstances, which principle is the correct one to apply.

The apostle Paul’s comment in 2 Corinthians 3:4-6 gives us a clue as to how this works: “And this is the trust we have through Christ toward God: we are not sufficient in ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God, Who also has made us able ministers of the new testament — not of the letter [of the law], but of the Spirit: for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

We are not competent through our intellect alone to discern how to apply the written Word of God. When we try to do that, we will often miss the mark. Instead, we must ask the Holy Spirit to illumine His Word and lead us to correct solutions. This is certainly part of what “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) is about.

Jesus frequently shocked the religious leaders of His day by doing and saying things which they viewed as flagrant violation of God’s commands. He took them to task about their rigid understanding of the law and showed them what God’s intent was in it. In the process, He challenged them to look into their heart attitudes. The religious leaders, not understanding that they were contending with God Himself (Who certainly would have known what His own Word said), thought Jesus was a dangerous heretic.

So, how do we correctly discern and apply God’s principles? It requires asking Him for His input, which can take time to receive. We need to be careful not to express opinions too quickly, but to seek His counsel first. We can consider what other believers are saying, and ask God to give us His input on whether their take is correct. I often ask, “Lord, what about this? Will You give me something from Your Word which speaks to it?” Then I wait for a thought from the Scriptures to come to mind.

I also measure whatever principle I am weighing against 1 Corinthians 13 — the love test. If we are applying the Bible correctly, it will not violate other parts of itself, such as this chapter.

The Lord is most willing to help us discern His principles correctly. He has promised, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask it of God, Who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). Our part is to wait upon Him patiently, expecting that He will truly help us. The more we are willing to do this, the more we will become skilled at correctly discerning and applying His Word.

 

The Names of God, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

Discerning Between Soul and Spirit (Part 5) — Prayer

For the word of God is living, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, … and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened to the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.
— Hebrews 4:12, 13

In our last post, we identified telltale signs that our prayers are soul-fueled, rather than stemming from communication with the Holy Spirit. In this post, we’ll talk about how Spirit-led prayer feels and sounds.

1.) Spirit-led prayer agrees with the nature of God in its tone — righteousness, peace, joy, mercy, compassion, love, goodness. These qualities are quite opposite to the fear, self-centeredness, criticalness, and anger which often accompany soulish prayers.

Prayer which flows with the Spirit is redemptive in its approach, which means that its goals will be salvation, freedom for those in bondage, and good to be worked in the earth and in the hearts of people. Even if we are praying for corruption or deception to be exposed, we take no delight in judgment or exposure for its own sake. It is so that the perpetrators of evil can come to repentance, and truth and righteousness can prevail in society.

The following verses give us a good idea of what praying in harmony with the Spirit looks like:

  • Galatians 5:22, 23
  • Philippians 4:8
  • Exodus 34: 6, 7
  • James 3:17

Study them, to find out what God’s heart is for our prayers.

2.) Spirit-led prayers are not products of preplanned logic. They often appear as a sudden thought or prompting which is not due to our own cleverness. Frequently they are surprising; we pray them and then think, “Now where did that come from?” It came from the Holy Spirit, Who shows us His vantage point, which is far beyond ours.

3.) Spirit-led prayers are often inspired by a Bible verse which comes to mind. Pray that verse from a position of “It is written,” and then declare it with authority for the situation. As Hebrews 4:12 tells us, the Word is living and powerful. It cuts through the fluff to go to the root of what needs to be prayed. God will sometimes give you a verse and show you how to apply it to prayer in a way your mind would never be able to come up with on its own.

4.) Spirit-led prayers frequently incorporate the gifts of the Spirit.

  • The word of knowledge — You suddenly know what the root issue is, whereas you didn’t before.
  • The word of wisdom — You receive a solution you hadn’t previously thought of.
  • Prophecy — You are certain of the outcome God wants, and you declare prophetically that it shall be.
  • Supernatural faith — You boldly command or decree a miraculous result into existence as the Spirit moves upon you, and it happens.
  • Discerning of spirits — You see, hear, or just know that a particular spirit is behind a hindrance. You then break the hindrance by commanding the spirit to let go or leave, in the name of Jesus.
  • Praying in tongues — the perfect prayers of the Holy Spirit
  • The interpretation of tongues — You hear in your spirit or coming from your mouth what you have been praying about in your prayer language. He shows you the exact way to pray into the need.

We grow in Spirit-inspired praying through cultivating intimacy with God via two primary means:

  • Two-way prayer communication with Him (meaning we not only talk, but we listen)
  • Communing with God over His Word (Bible meditation, study, reading at length, and dialoguing with Him over what we have read)

John 15:7 explains this two-pronged approach to intimacy with God and its outcome: “If you abide in Me [prayer communication lived out moment by moment], and My words abide in you [the Bible filling our innermost being with life], you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you.”

The last part of that verse is God’s promise to the person who prays by communing in his spirit with the Holy Spirit: whatever we ask for, we receive. God can promise this because the one who is abiding in the Presence of God and who is filled with His Word will be praying by the Spirit. We only ask for what is His will, and therefore our requests are granted. The potential we have to obtain powerful answers is truly exciting — if we pray by communion with the Spirit, rather than from our own natural understanding.

Will we pray by the soul or the spirit — in tune with the Holy Spirit and being led by Him, or only praying what we know in our intellect? It’s our choice.

Let’s review one last time the keys to discerning soul between soul and spirit in the words of others, in our own thoughts, and in our prayers:

  1. Feed on the Word of God, letting its truths influence our minds, rather than feeding on the opinions of men.
  2. Seek God continually for greater wisdom and discernment, so that we are not fooled.
  3. Once we have determined that someone is speaking from a soulish perspective, no longer subject ourselves to his or her influence.

If we implement these keys, our discernment will grow, and we will clearly know the origins of whatever comes our way.

Previous: Discerning Between Soul & Spirit (Part 4) — Prayer

The Intercessor Manual

 

The Intercessor Manual, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered, by Lee Ann Rubsam

Discerning Between Soul and Spirit (Part 2)

Each of us must make daily choices of whether we will think according to the soul or spirit. We have to decide whether to agree with the soulish viewpoints of others, or whether to refuse them in favor of the Spirit. As I said last time, besides secular movers and shakers, some Christian leaders who carry a great deal of influence are speaking from the soul, rather than the Spirit.

We must learn to recognize whether what we are listening to is originating with soul or spirit. Once we know how to identify which it is, we are well on our way to understanding how to respond to it.

The answer is simpler than we might suspect: it is wrapped up in the Word of God.

For the word of God is living, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit … and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened to the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.  — Hebrews 4:12, 13

Part of the reason believers are so easily led about by soulish influencers is because the majority of us are not well-grounded in the Bible. When we continually eat from God’s Word, we are nourished by the Holy Spirit’s wisdom, counsel, and truth. He becomes the strongest Influencer in our lives. Therefore, when we come into contact with even the most convincing voices, a red flag pops up inside warning that something isn’t right. Colossians 3:15 refers to it as the peace of God ruling (like a judge or umpire) in our hearts. We know in our spirit-man whether something we are being told is right-on or off-kilter.

Do you want to keenly discern between what is of the soul and what is of the Spirit? Here are three practical steps to get you there:

1. Fill yourself with the living, powerful, sharp Word of God. It will help you discern whether to reject or accept the voices of other people. Even more importantly, it will help you quickly discern what is soulish within your own thinking.

2. Pray for greater wisdom and discernment. God wants us to have these qualities even more than we desire them for ourselves. That’s why He encourages us in James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, Who gives to all men liberally and without reproach, and it shall be given to him.” When the red flag pops up inside of my spirit, if I am not immediately certain why it is there, I ask God to bring to mind a Bible verse to help me know why. He is faithful to do that.

You can also form a habit of frequently asking God to reveal to you His perspective through the inner voice. As we wait upon the Lord, listening for Him, He gives us understanding far beyond ourselves — whether it is about current issues, teaching we have heard, or personal relationship challenges.

3. Once you have discerned that someone is consistently speaking from the soul, shut your ears to that. Those of us with inquiring minds have a tendency to listen to what people say, even when we know they are off. It’s a curiosity thing. We hope we can “eat the chicken and leave the bones.” Unfortunately, even when we know the truth, if we keep on absorbing teaching or opinions which are not right, those ideas inevitably start to stick to us, even though we don’t want them to. It’s best to shut them out.

Does this mean we should expose to everyone else that So-and-So is coming from a soulish perspective? I don’t think so. Feeling the need to expose can quickly develop into alignment with the devil,  who is the accuser (Revelation 12:10). Just shut your own ears to it, and let the Holy Spirit deal with the other person in His way and time. Focus on talking about Jesus and His qualities, rather than what’s wrong somewhere.

To recap, if we want to discern correctly and be led by the Holy Spirit, rather than by natural-minded thinking, we can hone that ability by

  • Feeding on the Bible, letting its truths influence what we think
  • Seeking God continually for greater wisdom and discernment, so that we are not fooled
  • No longer subjecting ourselves to the words of an influencer once we determine that he or she is speaking from a soulish perspective.

Next time, I would like to examine how Hebrews 4:12, 13 can help us in the areas of prayer and prophecy.

Previous: Discerning Between Soul and Spirit (Part 1)
Next: Discerning (Part 3) — The Prophecy Connection

intercessor workshop training

Yes, You CAN Be an Intercessor! (CD Set or mp3)
by Lee Ann Rubsam