3 Questions to ask if the Holy Spirit is Speaking to You
Written by: Kristen Oliver
Recently I asked the Chasing Grace followers what they want to know more about and the #1 topic was, how do I know if the Holy Spirit is nudging me to do or say something? Initially I was intimidated to write about this because I wasn’t sure I had the “right answer.” However, through some reflecting, prayer and Bible study I feel like I have developed 3 questions we can ask ourselves. Next week I will be continuing this post with 5 practical steps we can take in our lives to discern the Holy Spirits plan for us, so keep a look out for that post I’m really excited about what God will teach us!
In studying for this post I re-read a story of Jesus in Matthew 26:36-46. Jesus was agonizing in the garden of Gethsemane over his approaching physical pain, separation from the Father and death for the sins of the world. In this passage, Jesus was in person telling his disciples what to do to avoid temptation. He told them to, “Keep watch with me.” After praying in the garden for an hour on his own he came back to find the disciples asleep! He then clarified what he expected by saying, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” While the disciples are supposed to be praying, Jesus is alone in the garden pleading with his father for any other way for the sins of the world to be forgiven but then finishes with, “Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Now in the year 2017 we may not have Jesus in person telling us what to do, but we have the Bible and the Holy Spirit guiding us. This passage is very revealing, it shows that even the disciples found it hard to do what was asked of them, even when Jesus was telling them in person! It also shows that because of the anguish Jesus suffered he can relate to our suffering. Since Jesus was human, the only way He was able to obey and say, “As you will,” was through firm trust in God’s plans, prayer and obedience each step of the way (verse 39). This is ultimately what it takes for us to obey and understand the Holy Spirit.
Disclaimer: This is what I have found has helped me in my life and the guidance I have received when I have asked these questions for myself. It is important to note that if you are willfully living in sin your sin will block what the Holy Spirit has for you. You are doing life in your own strength and saying, I know God says I should do this, but I’m going to do it my way for a while. You are basically slapping God in the face. Following the Holy Spirit’s prompting starts with obedience. You will not be able to move onto greater things until you are living an obedient life for Christ.
Here are 3 questions to ask when you aren’t sure if the Holy Spirit is nudging you to say or do something:
Does it align with the truth of God’s word?
“For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” -2 Peter 1:21
We have scripture as a light and the Holy Spirit to illuminate Scripture for us and guide us as we seek the truth. If what you are thinking goes against God’s word then it is not from God. The Holy Spirit is simply God’s presence with us, since we do not have Jesus with us in person, we are given the Holy Spirit to help us discern what we should do in this world. The Holy Spirit will NEVER ask you to do something that does not honor God. If it aligns with Gods word seek to follow it. If God closes doors, go to him in prayer and ask for guidance. This guidance may come from the Bible, mentors speaking into your life, or through the desires of your heart that God wants you to pursue and stop doubting yourself.
Are my motives pure?
This requires some deep self-reflection. Are you simply trying to justify something you selfishly want? What if you receive no affirmation and it’s hard? Do you still want to do it? Are you seeking attention, pride, or to prove a point?
God looks at the condition of the heart. Even if it’s a “good” thing it doesn’t mean it’s the right thing.
God works in his timing, not yours. If you still aren’t sure. Pray about your thoughts for 21 days without acting on them or sharing your thoughts with others, (if its very hard for you not to say anything I would encourage you to write it down, that is very helpful!) After 21 days of praying, see if your thinking changes or remains after that time in prayer and reflection.
Where did this idea come from?
The reason you should pray about your thoughts and actions before sharing them with others, is to make sure you are confident that it is from God and not others opinions of what you should or should not do. If this thought has always been there and you’ve been too scared to act on it, maybe now is the time to pursue it.
These questions are ones I have developed for myself as I have tried to decide what the Holy Spirit has been leading me to do. I noticed in my journaling throughout the past 10 years I have talked about all these things I love and never shared it with anyone else, because I was afraid of putting myself out there. I understand now that the Holy Spirit has been communicating to me how to use my passions and strengths in this season of my life.
What is the Holy Spirit nudging you to do?
It may be a small step out of your comfort zone that you have been thinking about….If so ask yourself those 3 questions and read part 2 coming next week on 5 Practical Steps to Discern the Holy Spirits Plan for You.
Your homework this week (I’m still a teacher at ❤️)Write this verse down and commit it to memory!!
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” (Luke 6:10)