In the lead-up to the Truth Matters conference in October, we will be focusing our attention on the sufficiency, authority, and clarity of Scripture. One of our previous blog series, Looking for Truth in All the Wrong Places, stronglyemphasizes those doctrines. The following entry from that series originally appeared on June 5, 2017. -ed.
God told me.
The Holy Spirit laid it on my heart.
The Spirit is compelling me.
Those phrases and others like them are frequently thrown around the church today without giving many people pause. In fact, it seems the Holy Spirit’s primary role is laying burdens on believers and compelling them to deliver specific, timely messages to the church.
But how do we know when it’s actually the Holy Spirit, and not just a heavy conscience, a strong personal desire, or emotion-driven enthusiasm? For that matter, what’s to say it wasn’t simply some bad pizza? For all the talk about the Holy Spirit directing us, speaking to us and through us, and compelling us this way and that, how do we know when God is truly leading us?
We recently asked John MacArthur about how we can discern the Spirit’s ongoing work in the lives of believers. Here’s what he said:
We ought to look for the Holy Spirit’s leadership, but we must be cautious about assigning to Him responsibility for our words and actions. Our feelings are not necessarily a trustworthy source of information, nor are they an accurate indication that God has a special message to deliver to us or through us.
God’s people need to be circumspect when it comes to His leadership, particularly through subjective impressions and inclinations. Moreover, we need to be wary of those who highjack the prophetic seat and presume to speak for God.
In the days ahead, we’re going to look at some landmark teaching from John MacArthur regarding the propensity of many believers to look for eternal truth in all the wrong places. You won’t want to miss this engaging, insightful series that deals with the pitfalls of subjectivity and postmodernity, and the sufficiency of Scripture.