Spiritual Discernment



“And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.”

Acts 5:32

     The will is the power that governs the nature of man, and brings all his other faculties under its sway. It is the deciding power, which works in man unto obedience to God or unto obedience to Satan.

     It is of the utmost importance that we who profess to know and obey the truth know of certainty whether God is controlling our will or whether it is being controlled by the enemy of all righteousness.  Unless we surrender our will wholly to the Lord to be controlled by Him, we can never receive the Holy Spirit.  When the Lord controls our will, it will be in perfect harmony to His will, and the Holy Spirit will have uninterrupted passage from the throne to the temple, through the channel of living faith.  Then, and not till then can divine power work in us mightily to the salvation of souls around us.

     The Lord reveals His will to us, to guide us and to fit us to help others.  We may know the voice of the Lord, and always distinguish it from the voice of the false shepherd.  The Lord reveals His will to us in His Word, in His providential workings, and through the appeals of His Holy Spirit.  In these three ways we may distinguish the voice of God.  Anyone may profess to have the Spirit of Christ, but the real possession of that Spirit is obtained only through a complete and unconditional surrender of the will to the Lord to be controlled by the Holy Spirit unto implicit obedience to the requirement of God.

     The Bible is just as really a communication from God to us as if its words came from Him in audible voice.  Really to hear the voice of God speaking to us through His written word, is faith. If our faith is genuine, and not merely nominal, it will work in us implicit obedience to God’s will.  The actual hearing of the living words will convey to us, real living faith.  And as the spirit and power of living faith are the same spirit and power that are in the living Word of God, just as soon as we surrender our will wholly to God, there will be an immediate and blessed union, and a daily and active communication with God in the work of saving souls.

     We shall recognize the voice of God in His providential workings among the nations, in the church and in individuals, if we do not separate ourselves from Him by following the promptings of an unsanctified heart.  Because we profess to be Christ’s followers, we may think we hear aright; but unless we actually know the voice of God, we shall certainly be deceived; for Satan can so disguise his voice that it is often accepted as the voice of God.  Our work is to connect our souls with God by walking in His ways, by doing according to His will, and by having our heart wholly consecrated to Him.  Then we will be able to shun confusion and every evil work, and engage earnestly in the united and rapidly advancing work of God.

     When we hear the voice of God through the appeals of the Holy Spirit, impressions will be made upon the heart, which will be wrought out in the character, and we shall grow more and more like the divine Pattern.  The Lord intends to prove those who profess to follow Him.  When we surrender our will unreservedly to Him, He has promised to give us His Holy Spirit.  This is indeed a precious promise, and we should make haste to obtain it, that His Spirit may work in us.

A. L. Hollenbeck

And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.” 

Acts 5:32