“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority,but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” Jn 16:13
We live in a world that’s full of voices. How can you know what’s true? Even among those of us that have received light from God, there are so many differences in interpretations and opinions. How can we know what’s right? I’ve mulled over this a lot, crying to God. How can I know truth among so many voices? How can I know what’s right?
God has sent us a Helper. He is the Holy Spirit and He has come for the purpose of guiding us into all truth. He is the one that testified of the truth to our hearts when we first heard the good news of Jesus Christ. We were convinced, not by fancy words of some preacher, but by the power of the Holy Spirit cutting deep into our hearts. He took those words of truth and pressed them upon our heart. We submitted to that truth, and by it we were saved.
I still remember that Sunday morning, so many years ago, when I finally submitted my life fully to God. I sat towards the back, I was not really wanting to be at church. I don’t remember what the minister said that day. I do remember, though, how the Holy Spirit began to tug at my heart. I remember how everything around me faded and I could only see God. The fact that there were a couple hundred people in the room didn’t faze me, I wasn’t even thinking about them. I walked to the front of the church and knelt down. As I prayed, I said to God, “Today, my life will never be the same.” It never was. I’ve never looked back.
I still had a long ways to go, though. But I knew this truth: God had saved me, Jesus was real, heaven was my home. Some preacher didn’t convince me of this. The Holy Spirit, our truth-guide, did. And He didn’t stop there. He began to teach me many more truths. As a newly born believer in Christ I was extremely excited, but I knew nothing. I began to read my bible, but I soon became overwhelmed by this ocean of truth. First of all, I could hardly understand it. Second of all, it was sooo much. I needed help. I needed a guide. In my frustration I began to cry out to God. I came upon a passage of scripture that I held onto closely and spoke to God continually in prayer:
“My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you, So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding; Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, And find the knowledge of God.” – Proverbs 2:1-5
I would come home from work and go up to my bedroom. I would open my bible and I would cry out to God for discernment. I would lift up my voice for understanding. And then I would read. I remember times when God’s presence would fill that room so strongly. I would weep and weep. God was beginning to teach me. The Holy Spirit was guiding me into all truth. I highlighted that bible so much that it defeated the purpose of highlighting!
God then sent me to bible college where I would learn so much. But even in bible college I learned to not depend on any human teacher, but only on the Teacher.
“But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.” 1 John 2:26
Thank God for that anointing. Our problem is that we get into pride. We think we know something and have some special revelation. The Holy Spirit will have none of that. He will let you embrace your lies if you don’t submit yourself humbly to His teaching. This is why there is so much error in the church and in the world. God resists you when you are proud, but grace will come to the humble. Humble yourself before God, and He will lift you up. He will lift you up into learning and understanding. He will guide you into all truth. He will entrust you with the secret things of His kingdom.
“The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant.” Ps 25:14
You don’t have to be in the dark about the important things of life. God is your guide. He will light a path before you. Even though millions of other stumble in the darkness, you can walk in the light of life. You can know clearly what you ought to do. You can be sure of all your actions.
“And they shall be all taught of God.” Jn 6:45
You are God’s child. Expect to be taught by Him. Humble yourself before God in prayer. You never have to wander in darkness ever again.
But how does the Holy Spirit guide you? How does He teach you? This is an important thing to understand. He guides you and teaches you the same way that He did when He saved you. You must first expose yourself to potential avenues of truth. The number one avenue is the word of God, the bible. But you can also receive truth from preachers and friends. You can even receive truth from people in the world, but you must be careful. After you have been exposed to potential avenues of truth He will then impress upon your hearts what is right and give you understanding into it.
The word of God is all truth. But even though it is pure truth, you still need a guide. The bible can be twisted to say anything that men want it to say. Only the author knows what He meant when He authored it. I’ve read passages of scripture that, in my heart, I sensed just wasn’t right. How can that be so? Isn’t the bible all truth? Of course it is, but come to find out after further study that a certain verse was translated wrong in a certain translation of the bible. A quick look into the lexicon showed the translators error.
Besides the bible, God uses other ways to teach us. He teaches us through ministers that He calls for that purpose. He also uses life experience to teach us. He can even use people of the world to teach us. In all these circumstances it is important to be guided by the Holy Spirit. Preachers preach error all too often. Many times I’ve sensed in my heart that something was wrong with what was said, even if I didn’t know what was wrong. I would just have that sense in my heart that something wasn’t right. I would go to the bible and find it to be so. Albeit, sometimes I will hear a unbeliever say something, or I will happen upon some experience and find the Holy Spirit impressing something upon my heart. He will teach you all the time if you remain teachable.
But let me warn you. Even though the truth of what I say is great, so is the potential for error. This only works if you have a living relationship with God. And God will never lead you into truths that contradict with what He has revealed to us through the words of Jesus and of His apostles and prophets (i.e. the bible). Why would God reveal one thing to them and another to you? Any impression you get should be filtered through a thorough knowledge of the Word of God. Remember, there are many voices out there. Make sure you are listening to the right one. If you practice being close to God through prayer and through the study of scripture, you will be fine. Be humble, be willing to be rebuked.
I remember a day when I was frustrated at all this. How can I know the voice of God? Don’t be frustrated. You can know His voice. Just spend time with Him and it will become clearer and clearer. Listen to the promise of Jesus to you:
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Jn 10:27