I know, I know, some saw the title Holy Spirit and thought Ghost or whatever. Just think of God’s Spirit residing in us as other influential voices in our lives. I recently wrote on where a God-follower gets guidance in determining right from wrong or making wise decisions not necessarily moral in nature. I wrote our moral institutions aren’t always the devil’s tool and the Bible can’t be our definitive authority. I failed to discuss the Spirit’s guidance according to Scriptures.
Our moral intuitions can serve as a guide.
The majority of people born into this world never had a Bible. If there is a Creator, they surely would give human beings moral sense in understanding good from evil. We just seem to know what is moral or immoral. Criminals don’t defend but deny their murderous actions. One possibility for a universal compulsion to treat others like we want to be treated is a personal external force communicating through our moral intuitions. The truth is there is agreement on most moral matters such as murdering, lying, stealing, or not treating others like we want to be treated.
Regarding non-moral issues it is natural to think an all-knowing, powerful God can advise of best outcomes for the future, but a predetermined future makes freedom nonsensical. Freedom must be important to God or surely there would be a lot less evil in the world. God doesn’t seek to dictate future decisions but encourage and support our gifts and passions to make for a better world. We are free to make our own decisions while being open to the Spirit’s influence to act in the best interest of not just ourselves but others.
The Bible can’t be our final authority any more than a Pope.
It is magically thinking to believe we can know God absolutely through the Bible. Interpretation is required! Scholars who respect the Bible as authoritative disagree what God thinks about homosexuality, gender roles, and the afterlife to name a few critical issues. We can’t declare something immoral because the Bible says so. And, we can’t declare Jesus the end all. Jesus said: “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Mt. 5:44). Jesus also said: “if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek” (Mt. 5:39). Was Jesus arguing we can’t love our enemies if we must use violence to protect victims from dictators or abusive men?
Even the Bible claims God’s Spirit guides us not a Book.
The Bible tells us the Word of God has never been the Bible but flesh in the body of Jesus (Jn. 1:1-14). The Apostle Paul told his audience faith comes from the word (Rm. 10:17). The Bible hadn’t been written so Paul must have been referring to Jesus. Jesus is an exact representation of God as opposed to the prophets (Heb. 1: 1-3). Jesus’ Spirit now lives in us (Jn. 14:16-17), and the Spirit knows the thoughts of God (I Cor. 2: 11-16). [Please see Keith Giles, Jesus Unbounded, that we know God through Jesus and now the Spirit than the Bible].
We can’t always be certain if our impressions are the Spirit’s voice.
We can’t claim certainty with an invisible, inaudibly Spirit. I have suggested here why uncertainty may be less chaotic than certainty about God. Declaring the certainty or morality of our opinions keeps us from listening and expressing ideas openly. Certainty often leads to justifying verbal or physical violence in the name of God or morality. Some make it seem as if the Spirit speaks truth to them and not others, and their interpretation of a Book is right over others. And husbands – if the Spirit is telling your partner something different, think again. Why would the Spirit advise partners differently unless They are a marriage wrecker?
The Spirit doesn’t have to speak to influence.
We want the Spirit to somehow give us special insights into future decisions or people we encounter, but such desires undervalue God’s respect for freedom and thus an undetermined future. Doesn’t the Spirit mostly speak through influencing? We know the Spirit’s influence when we have thoughts to be the perfect partner, parent, or friend we desire to be deep down despite our constant failures. We know the Spirit’s influence when we recognize violence begets violence and respond non-violently. We know the Spirit’s influence when we have wronged someone, we quickly confess and make amends. That just isn’t always natural. The Spirit can help us to not fear death and have hope of being reunited with our loves ones. I am convinced the Spirit speaks to us when we hear: I love you, I forgive you; I won’t abandon you; I want what you want deep down; I am not really like who some people say I am. Are you open to the Spirit’s influence?
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