READ: Song of Solomon 6, John 13, 1 Peter 2

TROUBLED IN SPIRIT

The Word of God gives us incredible structural integrity. The Word is a lamp to our feet (Psalm 119:105), it is our revival (v. 107), it is our heritage (v. 111), and when we incline our heart toward it forever, to the very end (v. 112), we are safe and secure from all alarm. How precious therefore is the Bible to us, how critical that we know it, sing it, pray it, share it, and live our lives by it. The Word is both food and fodder to us, both bread to the eater and seed to the sower. The Word cannot, however, only be in our heads or on our tongues–it must saturate our heart and frame our will. Knowing the Word is not enough, for even the devil memorizes Scripture and is adept at using Scripture against believers. The super-structure of the Word does not replace or remove the ongoing voice of the Holy Spirit within the believer–for Jesus still speaks to us: Spirit to spirit, deep unto deep.

Some evangelicals are uncomfortable with the ongoing voice of the Holy Spirit. Abuse of the God card (“God told me”) has caused an overreaction to the point that we are uncomfortable with the prophetic or even the personal conversation of the Spirit. In John 13:21 Jesus was “troubled in spirit” and warns the disciples of what the Spirit has told Him. We need to cultivate an ear for what the Spirit says to us. When we are uncomfortable in our spirit, it often means that the Holy Spirit is warning us. When our spirit is quickened and joyful, it often means that the Holy Spirit encourages us on. It is biblical to have ongoing conversations with the Lord in the spirit. It is biblical for us to be checked or commissioned by an inner witness. The text does not proscribe all decisions in life. We go to God’s written Word for principles, “for He has magnified His Word above all His name” (Psalm 138:2). Still, nothing comprehensively contains or restrains God–not even the Scripture. God still speaks, and a troubled spirit is often the restraint of God, it is His gentle warning to our souls.

It is not illogical to listen to the Spirit within us–for the Counselor is not under the authority of His own speech, rather He rules over all and His words serve Him. There are times in life when we can’t necessarily explain or defend our decisions. All we can certify is that the Spirit within us has not given us permission to act or cease. There is a consistency in God that cannot be broken concerning His Word. His principles do not change–they endure as they were recorded for us. Within the structure of those principles–the big, fixed, reinforced concrete pillars of His house–God constantly talks to us about types of windows, style of carpet, and color of paint. The Spirit still speaks to our spirit and we need to listen and obey those promptings.

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