It helps to understand how God speaks to you and me, if we understand that He has made us tri-part beings. Even if we know this, I find it helpful to review it from time to time. We are a body, soul and spirit. For the moment we'll set the body and soul aside, and look at our spirit, which has three basic functions.
Since God is a Spirit, we must commune and relate to Him via our spirit. Our spirit has three functions, conscience, intuition and communing with God's Spirit.
We have the ability to worship God and commune with His Holy Spirit through our spirit. It connects with Him first. Then our spirit can inform our mind and bodies so we can respond with our whole being.
Our conscience is our discerning organ; it is how we sense what is right or wrong. Of course, the more we learn about God's laws and will from the Bible, the sharper it will become. By our will, however, we can ignore or shut out our conscience and choose to do evil. Note that our conscience is NOT our spirit, merely a function of our spirit. It is possible for our conscience to become warped and hardened against God. The Bible refers to such states as being spiritually dead.
Our intuition is a sensing organ too. It can pick up specific details that God wants to impart to us. Sometimes we sense a direction He wants us to go, but our mind does not yet understand the reasons or details. However, we can pray and ask God to enlighten our understanding too. This is why a Christian can say, "I have a sense that God wants me to leave this job and go into ministry," - but we don't know exactly where or how, or other details. Gradually, as we wait on the Lord, more of these things become clear to us.
All this has to do with how God speaks to you and me.
We may be at some crisis point and crying out to God to deliver us and show us what to do. But - are we actually listening for His reply in our spirit? Is our spirit in a state of worshiping and communing with God? Is our conscience clear of sin that might stand in the way? And is our intuition picking up the message God may be trying to impart to us?
If we are rushing about like a secular or carnal person, trying to figure things out in the usual worldly ways, and making impulsive decisions based on bits of advice our friends, even strangers offer to us, then we might miss God's clear direction to us. He may well be trying to answer our prayers, but we are deaf to Him, and seeking counsel from other sources.
It is of course, still important to check out the facts - look for truth, as God will use these things to make His will more clear to us. But through our spirit is how God speaks to you and me.
All this has come to me in a fresh way as a Christian friend in an Asian country, one who has had a good ministry there, is beginning to feel pressure from other strong religious elements there. He has decided that he needs to escape with his family. Since he knew me in Canada and had heard this was a good country to go to, he felt that God was telling him to come here. I cannot afford to sponsor his family right now, and he has not understood my suggestion that he first find a job here via the internet, so that he could immigrate on the basis of a promised job.
Someone offered him cheap tickets to a country in South America. Now he thinks God wants him to go there first, and try to come to Canada from there. I sense in my intuition/spirit that my friend is grasping at straws. I sense that it will be foolish to go through such a round-about way, and researching on government websites, I see that for various reasons the Canadian government is not open now to receive immigrants from that country. They may end up stuck there!
I have tried asking my friend if he has a clear word from God that he should take his family around by this risky route. He thinks it is the only option, so it must be God's will.
My point, which I don't seem to be able to convey to him, is that it is better to listen for God's clear direction. If God is truly leading him to take his family by this more dangerous route, then by all means, he should lean on the Lord, and obey. However, my sense in my intuition, with the knowledge I have, is that my friend is in panic mode, and taking ungodly advice.
Right now, all I can do is pray that he will quiet down his anxious spirit and really listen for God's direction. Even if it is not instant. God will not be too late, and His ways will be Blessed.
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