Three Ways the Spirit Leads: The Still, Small Voice
The second way we’re led of the Spirit of God is by what some ministers call “the inward voice.” This can also be referred to as the voice of the human conscience or the “still, small voice.” Let’s look at this in Romans 9:1.
I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost….
The human conscience is that sense of right or wrong that comes to you based on this inward standard of values that tends to direct your decision-making process. (This is different from the inward witness, which doesn’t necessarily involve a value system, but is simply that inward sense of agreement or confirmation).
When you become saved, your human spirit has been reborn. It has been made alive unto God and recreated in His image and likeness. As a result, your standards and value system are going to become aligned with God’s. Because of that, you’re safe to follow your recreated human spirit.
You do need to keep a few things in mind, though. The recreated human spirit, which the Word of God refers to as ground, is where the seed of the Word of God is planted and will ultimately produce fruit in your life. The Word isn’t the only type of seed that can be planted. Ideas contrary to God’s Word—you could call them “weed seeds”—can be planted too. If you’re not careful, you could identify these weeds as fruit, and in that case, the guidance you get from your human spirit may not be right.
Let me give you an example. Early on in our ministry, we had a girl who came to our church who was saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit. She was excited about God. After she had been coming a short while, we had a service where the Holy Ghost fell and everybody danced.
This girl was horrified. She said, “This can’t be right. The Holy Spirit is grieved on the inside of me.” I sat her down and explained to her that over the years, her religious background had planted weed seeds in her that dancing was of the Devil and shouldn’t be in the church of the living God. Those weed seeds had grown in her human spirit; that’s why she felt the voice of her conscience was saying it was wrong. It wasn’t the Holy Spirit; her human conscience had taken some bad seed and she was measuring what she was seeing based on that weed seed. She was set free when she understood the truth of God’s Word.
Think about it this way: if you have a plot of fertile ground behind your house and you toss in a little ragweed with it, the ground isn’t solely going to grow tomatoes and vegetables. The ragweed will grow right in its midst. The human spirit is the same. Bad seed can be planted in the human spirit. That’s why you have to guard what goes into your heart. Proverbs 4:23 says:
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
You have to guard what goes into your heart because your heart will grow whatever seed you allow to be planted. You need to rip out any weed seeds that may have gotten in there through renewing your mind to the Word of God. As you do, those weed seeds will be dealt with and you can follow the voice of your conscience.
One other thing about the human conscience is that if you ignore that still, small voice, it will become a lot harder to hear. Eventually, you won’t hear it at all. If you run that stop sign on the corner because a cop is never around and you never have a traffic problem—even though it’s breaking one of the laws of the land—you’ll have a little pang on the inside. You will know it’s wrong. When you run it a second time, the pang isn’t quite as loud. Finally, after four or five times, you will grow callous in that part of your heart and it won’t bother you at all anymore. You will be able to zip right on through and not hear a thing.
A lot of us have been ignoring that voice for a long time, so we have to really be listening to identify it. As we start being responsive to it, we’ll hear it louder and more clearly as time passes.
About Mac HammondMac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a nondenominational church located in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. Pastor Hammond also hosts the Winner's Minute and the Winner's Way television broadcasts and has authored several internationally distributed books . Mac Hammond is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living. Mac Hammond graduated from Virginia Military Institute in 1965 with a Bachelor's degree in English. Upon graduation, he entered the Air Force with a regular officer's commission and reported for pilot training at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia. Mac received his wings in November 1966, and subsequently served two tours of duty in Southeast Asia, accumulating 198 combat missions. He was honorably discharged in 1970 with the rank of Captain. Between 1970 and 1980, Mac was involved in varying capacities in the general aviation industry including ownership of a successful air cargo business serving the Midwestern United States. A business acquisition brought Mac and his wife Lynne Hammond to Minneapolis where they ultimately founded Living Word Christian Center in 1980.
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a nondenominational church located in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. Pastor Mac Hammond also hosts the Winner's Way television broadcast and has authored several internationally distributed books. Mac Hammond is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.
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