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How to Discern the Holy Spirit’s Work Amidst Critical Times

for several months now, i have been attending a bible course in Life Growth Inc. (LGI) every Saturday morning.  admittedly, it entails some effort to wake up relatively early on Saturday mornings when it’s usually very tempting to just sleep in.  i wouldn’t trade, however, the intangible benefits and learnings from the course, especially since my soul always gets filled with spiritual food after each session.

these past three Saturday mornings were sessions for a three-part series on “If God is One, Why is He Three?”  the culminating lesson in such series, held this morning, was a lesson on the Holy Spirit.  as is customary in every session, we’d break out into groups by way of a “to-do portion” to discuss and integrate the biblical lessons and apply these in our lives.  in this morning’s “to-do”, groups were instructed to pick out a question/topic from the lesson, which the group will also address.  the topic selected by the group i was in was “How to Discern the Work of the Holy Spirit Amidst Critical Times” a topic which i shall be expounding on below based on the outline from our group’s discussion this morning.

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How to Discern the Holy Spirit’s Work Amidst Critical Times

At various points in our lives, we often encounter crossroads which require critical decisions or needs which we fervently pray for.  Amidst these critical times, we pray and turn to God to ask for His wisdom, provisions and much-needed intervention.  In time, we are presented with various seemingly viable choices, which merit decisions.  While choosing between good and bad is easy, the choice between two or more seemingly viable options is not a walk in the park. As mere mortals, we are myopic and may thus make a choice which may be contrary to the purpose for which we have been created.  Thus, we need to choose in accordance with God’s will for our lives, which will, however, beg the question: how do we discern God’s will for our lives in the first place?

Stumbling blocks in discerning God’s will

By ourselves, specifically by merely relying on our own might and intellect, it will be difficult, if not impossible even, to discern God’s will for our lives.  Amidst critical times, our thinking may even be muddled with various desires, unnecessary worries and myopic mindsets which will furthermore be aggravated when we are ignorant of what God says and promises in His word.  We may rely on mere mortals – friends, even our own selves or material things for help in making important choices, when doing so will only confuse us even more.  Definitely, we need to overcome these stumbling blocks to discerning God’s will; we need to tune in more to Him and ask for discernment from His Holy Spirit.

How to Discern the Work of the Holy Spirit Amidst Critical Times in Our Lives

We do so by way of:

  • praying in the Spirit;
  • seeking God, His will and His answers in anticipation; and
  • making His word our firm foundation.

Praying in the Spirit

In Ephesians 6:18, we are told to

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

And how do we “pray in the Spirit“?  We pray in the Spirit when we pray with a heart that is open to whatever it is that God wants for our lives – His will.  We pray by asking the Holy Spirit to intercede for us, as provided in Romans 8:26, 27:

We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will

Seeking God with anticipation

We may be well familiar with God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

In verses 12 and 13, which follow, He promises to be found when we seek Him with all our heart.  He promises to listen when we call upon, go and pray to Him.

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Seeking God with all our hearts, however, may not be enough…for in addition, we are to seek Him in earnest and sincere anticipation of finding Him.  Expecting Him to answer our prayers requires faith.  We see an example of such faith in Habakkuk 2, where the prophet Habakkuk stood at his watch and stationed himself on the ramparts to look and see what God will say to Him.

I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what He will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.

In the verses that followed, we may read that the prophet, waiting earnestly for an answer to his complaints (in the first chapter of Habakkuk), receives a revelation, which is to be fulfilled, not immediately, yet in due time, and is therefore to be waited for in faith. Further, as emphasized in a commentary on the book of Habakkuk, “what He will say (un)to me” is

literally, “in me,” God speaking, not to the prophet’s outward ear, but inwardly. When we have prayed to God, we must observe what answers God gives by His word, His Spirit, and His providences.

God’s word as our foundation

The importance of being rooted in Scriptures can never be over-emphasized.  In Psalms 1:1-3, we are told of how meditating (day and night) and delighting on Scriptures, the law of the Lord will cause us to yield fruit in season and prosper.

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

Just as Joshua was commanded in Joshua 1:8 to not let Scriptures depart from His mouth, to meditate on it day and night so he may be careful to do everything written in it, so are we.  Similarly, as God promised prosperity and success to Joshua if he does as commanded, God promises the same to us.

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

We are called to pay attention to Scripture and understand that no prophecy and/or promise therein had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke (or wrote) from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.  2 Peter 1:19-21 states:

And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation.  For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Indeed, God’s word is to be with us, we are to read it so we may learn to revere Him and carefully obey Him.

It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees

In summary, various things and/or people (even our own selves with our myopic viewpoints and desires) may distract us from discerning God’s will for our lives amidst critical times.  Through the Holy Spirit, however, we will perceive and recognize God’s answers to our prayers and His work in our lives as we  pray in the Spirit, seeking God, His will and His answers in anticipation and daily make His word our firm foundation.

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pag tapos nito, feeling ko, para akong gumawa ng legal memo.  hehehe.

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