[B]ecause, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:21 NKJV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:15 NKJV
Who are you? Where are you? Whose are you? Only you can decide, but you must make up your mind because “a double-minded man, is unstable in all his ways” (Jas. 1:8). Are you in a spiritual identity crisis? An identity crisis is believed to be one of the most important conflicts people face in life. Like the Roman and Greek philosophers, as mentioned in Romans chapter one, the rational minded believer suppresses the truth of God in unrighteousness and becomes confused about who he is in Christ.
Are you unsure of who you are and your role in life? Do you feel like you don’t know the real you? If so, you may be experiencing an identity crisis. But you can make this time work for you rather than against you. How? An identity crisis can be a time of intensive self-analysis and exploration, and a time of looking at yourself in a different way. The challenge is to see yourself in the light of God’s Word: “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (Text).
Identify with your new identity according to the Gospel that says, “you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power . . . that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” (Col. 2:10; 4:12). You are now perfect and complete in Christ, lacking nothing. All that is required is that you boldly act on the fact of this new identity, accepting the Gospel truth that, in Christ, you died to the old man and the old identity.
So, claim your new identity in Christ by sharing your faith effectively by acknowledging every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus (Philem 6). You must relentlessly claim your new identity, even in the face of what seem to be contradictory appearances. Judge not by appearances!
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. John 16:12-13 NKJV
In addition to angels, dreams and visions, God will speak to you and lead you by the inward witness, the inward voice, and the voice of the Holy Spirit. Although the voice of the Holy Spirit is more authoritative than an inward witness and the inward voice, the inward witness is the primary way that God leads you (Rom. 8:14, 16). Therefore, your spirit must be open to the Holy Spirit to do God’s business.
The Apostle Paul admonished the Roman Christians: “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord” (Rom. 12:11). Living for God and serving Him is to be considered “business.” God is the owner of the business; the Holy Spirit is the agent or employee; you’re the buyer, customer, and client. An opened business is always ready to supply your demand, to sell what you’re buying, and to do the bidding of its customers. Are you open to do God’s business? God has things to say to you, but can you bear them—are you in a place spiritually to handle them? It is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth who guides you and shows you things to come. Always buy the truth that the Spirit sells (Prov. 23:23). Never part with the truth for no consideration: money, pleasure, fame, or ease. Let nothing deprive you of His inward witness—cleave to it! Stay open to do God’s business regardless of challenging circumstances. Believe what God says and shows you (See Act 27:9-11, 21-25).
The Holy Spirit communicates to and through your human spirit, not your mind. So, don’t allow your intellect and knowledge to cause you to sell God’s truth. Be sensitive in your spirit, and if needed, build and develop your spirit. Your human spirit can be developed, just as your mind and body can be developed (Jude 20). But when you shut out your spirit, by not listening to the Holy Spirit, you are closed to doing God’s business. (Prov. 20:27). Stay open for business!
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. John 16:13 NKJV
Growing up, I would often hear both my Father, who was a pastor, and his cousin, a prophet, say: “the Spirit told me this, that, or another” . . . or say “the Spirit showed me.” I didn’t make the connection then, but I do now—the Holy Spirit has a voice.
There are basically three ways to be led by the Spirit of God: the inward witness, the inward voice, and the voice of the Holy Spirit. The voice of the Holy Spirit is more authoritative than an inward witness that testifies of God’s truth of our position, power, and place in God’s family (Rom. 8:16), or the inward voice of conscience that keeps us in tune with the Holy Spirit by confirming the rightness or wrongness of our thoughts, actions, or motives (Rom. 9:1). The voice of the Holy Spirit comes to provide direction, guidance, and instructions (Text).
Simon Peter heard the voice of the Holy Spirit speak to him while he experienced a trance-like vision that God gave him to deal with his stronghold of racial bias, religion, and ethnic prejudice, in order for the Gospel to be taken to the Gentiles (Acts 10:17-20). The Holy Spirit also spoke to Philip to direct, guide, and instruct him to approach an Ethiopian Eunuch in order for the Gospel to be spread to Ethiopia (Acts 8:26-30). And, the Holy Spirit will speak to you to direct you, guide you, and instruct you according to his will (John 16:13).
Just know that, as in the case of both Peter and Philip, God has an overarching plan. He uses the voice of the Holy Spirit to communicate the direction, and provide guidance to His people to fulfill His plan and purpose. God’s given vision and direction doesn’t ever change, but the actual guidance and instructions, from season to season, may change or even seem circular (See Exodus 13:17-18); but this is just part of the process—whatever it takes, the voice of the Holy Spirit speaks to us in a way and in a place that we can hear and understand.
I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh . . . Romans 9:1-3 NKJV
Apostle Paul, a Jew, preached salvation to both the Gentiles and the Jews. Many of his Jewish countrymen considered him a traitor; but he was not. Paul was deeply devoted to the Jewish people (Rom. 10:1-3); and notwithstanding, he preached the truth of the Gospel of grace, and did not lie. His conscience—the inward voice—confirmed his truth in the Holy Spirit.
Man is a spirit; he possesses a soul and lives in a body. The inward spirit man has a voice—a voice of conscience—that confirms what is truth and keeps us in tune with the Holy Spirit. This voice exists in every man, and it is a strong witness of our integrity or our guilt. “Conscience” is a conscious judgment whereby we decide whether our thoughts, actions and motives are morally right or wrong, which we instantly approve or condemn.
The inward voice of conscience always tell us the truth—the good, bad, and ugly. So, we should obey our conscience, and therefore, let our conscience be our guide (1 John 3:20-21). God himself speaks through the voice of our conscience as He did with Paul. “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching the innermost depths of the heart” (Prov. 20:27). And, God lives in us by His Spirit, and God speaks where He lives (John 14:23; 1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Cor. 6:16). Again, He speaks through the inward voice, i.e., the voice of our conscience. Thus, we need to keep our conscience clear to hear.
Also, it is critical to keep a sensitive and tender conscience, not burned and seared (1 Tim. 4:1-2).When your conscience becomes seared, the inward voice becomes distorted, muffled, muted, and out of tune with the Holy Spirit. Every time you ignore the inward voice of your conscience, you burn your conscience. Ouch!
This is He who came by water and blood — Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth . . . 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. 10 He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. 1 John 5:6, 9-10 NKJV
No man can see God because God is a Spirit and has no bodily form. So, how can you be led by God and hear from God? Is there a way to be led by God’s Spirit? Absolutely! God is a Spirit and man is also a spirit (Prov. 20:27). However, according to the Apostle Paul (Rom. 8:16), Luke the disciple (Acts 10:19), and the Apostle John (1 John 5:10), there are three ways to be led by the Spirit of God: the inward witness, the inward voice, and the voice of the Holy Spirit. Each way is an operation and manifestation of listening and hearing with the “third ear” Let’s briefly focus on the Inward Witness:
A witness is one who testifies to provide evidence. The Holy Spirit is an inward witness that testifies of God’s truth about who you are, where you are, ad what you have been given of God in Christ. On the other hand the devil—your enemy—is a liar and false witness who must be resisted, chased away, and put to flight (John 10:10; Isa. 59:19; Jas. 4:7). Your adversary the devil will cause you to question and doubt your salvation and standing, your faith and prayers.
But the Holy Spirit bears witness (Rom. 8:16) to the truth that you are a son of God (Rom. 8:14), and that you are saved (1 John 5:10), and that you are positioned in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21), and that you have been adopted in the family of God and now belong to Abba Father (Rom. 8:15); and, the Inward Witness will encourage you with God’s love (Rom. 5:5). So, when the Inward witness manifests Himself in you, just know that He has been sent by the Father, i.e., the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father to testify about Christ in you (John 15:26). Resist the lies of the enemy; don’t believe everything that you see and feel, or what others may be think or say about you. Follow the Inward Witness and realize your purpose, your position, your power, and God’s plan, for your life. The Inward witness will be “a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path”! (Psalms 119:105).
But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 1 Corinthians 11:3 NKJV
Government, by definition, is “a structured organization or agency that exercises authority and the making of policy to provide authoritative direction and control (Merriam-Webster). There are at least six basic structures of authority: (1) the government of God, (2) civil government, (3) the family, (4) the church, (5) businesses, and self-government.
Regardless of the form of government there must be structure, authority, direction and control, especially in the family. In our text, the Apostle Paul addresses Christians in the church of Corinth to remind them of God’s desired government in the family. As translated in The Living Bible (TLB), it is important to note that the words “man and “woman” are referring to husbands and wives: “I want to remind you . . . that a wife is responsible to her husband, her husband is responsible to Christ, and Christ is responsible to God” (1 Cor. 11:3).
In any family, everything begins with a husband’s relation with Christ—the husband is the head of the family; Jesus is the head of the household; but, the husband’s headship is not superiority over the wife; it is responsibility! This word “head” means to lay hold of; to seize responsibility (Greek text). Headship is never intended to imply domination or suppression. Men and women, husbands and wives are equal in the sight of the Lord, but they have different roles and responsibilities in the family unit.
In fact, God’s government in the home is structured for mutual submission among husbands and wives (See Ephesians 5:21-25). God’s appointed head of the house—saved or unsaved—is the husband; therefore, do not attempt to usurp His government (1 Peter 3: 1-7).
But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His . . . For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. Romans 8:9, 14-16 NKJV
When a person accepts Jesus as Savior and Lord, the Holy Spirit baptizes them into the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). This is based on promise (Rom. 10:9-10, 13) not necessarily one’s feeling the Spirit or having the mind of the Spirit. Because the Spirit of God dwells in you, you belong to Christ and are deemed to be a son of God having now the Spirit of God.
In the above text, Paul uses adoption to illustrate a believer’s new relationship with God. In Roman culture (1st Century A.D.), an adopted child lost all rights in his old family and became a full heir to his new father’s estate. Likewise, when you become a Christian, you gain all the rights, responsibilities, and privileges of a child of God. One of the most notable privileges of your new sonship is being led by the Spirit.
No man can see God because God is a Spirit and has no bodily form. So, how can you be led by God or hear from God? Is there a way to be led by God’s Spirit? The image and nature of God is Spirit; and, and the image and nature of man is also spirit—both are eternal spirits (Gen. 1:26-27; John 4:24; 1 Thess. 5:23), and “the spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the innermost parts of his heart” (Prov. 20:27).
According to the books of Acts of the Apostles and Romans, there are three ways to be led by the Spirit, in and through and in concert with your human spirit: the Inward Witness (Rom. 8:16); the Inward Voice (Rom. 9:1); and, the Voice of the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:19). Are you being led by the Spirit of God?
The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 1 Corinthians 10:16 NKJV
On the night that Jesus was betrayed, at the “Last Supper”, sitting around a table with His disciples, while they were eating, “Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body. Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matt. 26:26-28). You’ve heard the expressions: dancing in the spirit; singing in the spirit; and, praise and worshipping in the spirit. What about drinking in the spirit?
Communion (koinonia, Greek word) is fellowship, participation, partnership, and social intercourse, i.e., pleasant and sweet companionship with the Lord. When you partake of the Lord’s cup in communion, you are drinking in the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13). To drink the blood of Christ is to spiritually imbibe and ingest His life, blessings and influence.
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11) and Jesus said that, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30).Moreover, He said that “God is a Spirit” (John 4:24). When partaking of the wine in communion, the Holy Spirit is drank by covenant-keeping believers (Matt. 26:26) and also by believers who thirst to be filled with the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39).
Drinking in the Spirit was one of keys to the immeasurable success of the Early Church (See Acts 2:37-47). Both verses 42 and 46 reference communion as “breaking bread.” This term stood for celebration of the Lord’s Supper—proclaiming the Lord’s death— breaking bread and drinking of the cup. Naturally drinking too much wine can get you drunk. So, can it be so that drinking in the Spirit can also get you spiritually drunk? (Eph. 5:18).
Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. John 16:7-11 NKJV
The Holy Spirit is the “other” Comforter that Jesus promised His disciples (John 14:16). The Comforter (Parakletos)—One called alongside to be a Helper, Counselor and Teacher, and also to vindicate the Innocent One. Jesus was an innocent man convicted of a capital crime and sentenced to death by crucifixion. But had Jesus not come, there would be no Gospel; had He not died, there would be no remission of sin; and, had He not rose from the dead, there would be no victory over the devil and death. While ministering on earth, Jesus had a threefold ministry of teaching, preaching, and healing (Matt. 9:35), and the Holy Spirit also, now, has a threefold ministry here on earth.
In addition to the Holy Spirit’s threefold ministry, He gives the believer an advantage over the devil, over problems of life, human limitations, and low expectations (See John 16:7; 14:16-18, 26; 16:13).
The threefold ministry of the Holy Spirit is to convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and judgment. (1) To reject Jesus is the ultimate sin. It is the Spirit’s ministry to convict sinners—not the Christian or the preacher of the Gospel (Acts 2:37-38). The Believer’s ministry is to love and accept the sinner, proclaim the truth, and let your light shine in their darkness; (2) the Holy Spirit second task is to convince and reveal to the world Jesus’ innocence, make God’s righteousness available to all who believe, and to teach you God’s standard of righteousness, because Jesus is no longer physically present on earth (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24); and , the third task of the Holy Spirit to demonstrate Christ’s judgment over Satan (John 12:31-32). The death of Christ on the Cross was not a defeat, but a victory—a judgment and condemnation of Satan (Matt. 25:41; Col. 2:15). These three tasks are the threefold ministry of the Holy Spirit.
The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly. Proverbs 20:27 KJV
God created man in His image, according to His likeness. Yes, God created man in His very own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Gen. 1:26-27). The image of God is not physical, but spiritual. Since God is first and foremost both a Spirit and trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), man is also a spirit and tripartite being, i.e., spirit, soul, and body (1 Thess. 5:23).
Of all of creation: minerals, rocks, plants, and animals—man differs from all animals because he can worship and fellowship with God, because man has a spirit (John 4:24). God by the spirit of man searches all things, even the inner most hidden and secret things. The spirit of man generally refers to the conscience. The conscience serves as a candle (lamp) that shines light on thoughts, motives, affections, and actions. It will approve, disapprove, and reprove our innermost thoughts and intents (Rom. 8:26-28).
“But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, and the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God” (1 Cor. 2:9-12).
Besides God, no one knows what a man is thinking but himself. Likewise, the only one who can understand the things of God is the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit operates through the human spirit to reveal the present blessings of salvation (John 14:26; 16:13), which includes “all spiritual blessings” from the Source—God Himself (Eph. 1:3). So, God uses the spirit of man as a candle along with the Holy Spirit to search our hearts so that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God.