God’s Spirit is a powerful restraining and motivating force in us. How we need the governing of the Spirit to keep us in harmony with God’s Word, as we listen to the still, small voice of the Spirit!
Sometimes the Spirit says, “Go,” while at other times He may say, “Stop.” Whatever God directs us to do or not to do, we must have a willing and ready mind to obey.
- The Spirit forbade Paul to preach in Asia on a particular occasion (Acts 16:6-10).
- The Holy Ghost directly teaches us some things (1 Corinthians 2:13).
- God’s Spirit brings things to our remembrance while teaching us (John 14:26-27; 15:26; 16:7-14).
- The grace of God that brings salvation also teaches us some essential things after we are saved (Titus 2:11-12).
- We need to have an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches (Revelation 3:22).
God’s Spirit not only moves us but also governs us. The Spirit will never act in an unbecoming fashion, act contrary to the Scriptures, or motivate us to do anything disgraceful or reproachful to the name of Jesus.
We hear much about convictions, or what the Spirit convicts us to do or not do. This is well and good, but we need to remember some important guidelines in relation to convictions. Two vital areas are universal convictions and personal convictions.
- Universal Convictions – These are universal truths and principles taught clearly in God’s Word, and every believer must adhere to them. They are scriptural, the Holy Spirit wills them, they are a must, and we must align our feelings and purposes behind them. What the Bible teaches must become personal convictions of all of us; God does not grant liberty or latitude. These are God’s minimums, His lowest standards, and His universal code to which all believers must adhere.
The Spirit will empower us to live what the Word of God teaches. The Bible makes no unreasonable demands of us. The Holy Spirit will guide us and motivate us to love and to obey what the Word teaches.
- Personal Convictions – By personal convictions we mean areas of individual restrictions or liberties that we feel to do or not to do, areas in which we discern the personal leading of the Holy Spirit. We may be convicted to do or not to do certain things. We should note the following guidelines in the area of personal convictions:
- They never contradict, wrestle, subtract, or add to the Scripture.
- They are neither specifically approved or nor disapproved of by the Bible.
- They are binding only on us; we must not impress them on others, although we may share them with others.
- they will complement and enhance godliness in our individual lives; in this sense, they must be of God.
- They are reasonable; we can live them by the help of God.
- They are not taught as a requirement to be saved or as a Bible doctrine.
- They are not to create an offense in us if others do not abide by them.
- They are personal, private, individual points of dedication to God that we joyfully abide by for a deep, personal fulfillment and desire to please God.
We must remain sensitive to the moving of the Spirit. Our spirits are willing, but our flesh is weak. Our earthen vessels contain this treasure that is life’s greatest possession. We must let the Spirit speak to us and be willing to obey His directives. God will never tell us anything through the Spirit that is contrary to His Word.