Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
The number one way, the primary way that we are mostly led as Christians is by the inward witness. The inward witness is just as supernatural as guidance through visions and so on; it is just not as spectacular. Many people are looking for the spectacular and missing the supernatural that is right there all the time. Some of us have also spent most of our lives in the mental and physical realm; developing our intellect at the expense of our heart until our intellect has become the dominant force in our life. And our spirit—which should be our guide—has been kept locked away in prison, so to speak, and has not been permitted to function.
In today’s study we will flip the “coin” over and learn how to develop and trust the witness inside of us.
Romans 8:16 “The Spirit itself [Himself] beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God”
Leading in the Old Testament vs leading in the New Testament
In the Old Testament the prophets would say, "And the Word of the Lord came unto me saying...."
Have you ever wondered how it came?
It could not have been literally audible.
If it had been audible everyone present would have heard it—the prophet would not have had to tell the people what the Spirit said. The Word of the Lord came to the prophet's spirit from the Spirit of God. It is so real that it seems audible at the time.
The prophet of the New Testament is very similar to the prophet of the Old Testament in that the prophet of the Old Testament was called a 'seer' because he saw and knew things supernaturally.
The ultimate guidance for a Christian under the New Testament should be through the Holy Spirit. He or she need not seek guidance through prophets. He or she might receive guidance through prophets, but he should not seek it or rely on it.
The ministry of the New Testament prophet in this area is only to confirm what people already have in their own spirits.
Under the Old Covenant, only the priest, the prophet, and the king were anointed by the Holy Spirit to stand in those offices. Not all the people had the Spirit of God upon them or in them. Therefore, under the Old Covenant, people would seek guidance through the prophet because he had the Spirit of God."
Under the New Testament, we not only have the Spirit of God upon us—we have Him in us!
1 Corinthians 6:19
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”
Ezekiel 36:26, 27 also says:
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”
Being led vs putting out a fleece.
In putting out a fleece, one prays something like this: "Lord, if you want me to do this—then You do that." Or, "God, if you want me to do this, then have that happen."
There are instances in the old testament when people of old did that; Gideon, Hezekiah, etc. But God has a better way of leading His children than by a hit-and-miss method such as fleeces.
'For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God'" (Rom. 8:14)
The Bible does not say, "As many as are led by fleeces, they are the children of God."
It is dangerous for Spirit-filled Christians to put out fleeces instead of relying on the leading of the Holy Spirit because these “fleeces” could be perverted by the devil.
Importance of understanding the leading of the Holy Spirit by the inward witness
It prevents us from going astray, missing the mark, engaging in activities that could lead us to ruin, etc.
“And your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, this is the way; walk in it, when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21 AMP)
“And if you leave God’s paths and go astray, you will hear a voice behind you say, “No, this is the way; walk here.” (Isaiah 30:21 TLB)
Developing our spirit and following the leading of the Holy Spirit by the inward witness.
• One way to do that is to feed on God’s Word. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).
• Another way to develop our spirit is to follow after love. The Scriptures say that God is love (1 John 4:8, 16). If we’re not listening to love, we’re not listening to the voice of God. If we are walking in love, we are following after God. We’re going to have to train our spirit to hear the voice of God on love in order to develop enough to hear His voice in other areas.
• A third way to develop our spirit and become more sensitive to the inward witness is by praying much in other tongues. When we pray in tongues, our spirit is in contact with the Father of spirits. The more we pray in tongues, the more we become sensitive to our spirit. After a while, we’ll know on the inside whether the Holy Spirit is saying yes or no, even in the minor incidents of life.
The inward witness is God’s number-one way of leading His children as we see in Romans 8:16. This inward witness of the Spirit of God is in us already (1 John 5:10).
God lets us know we are His children by the inward witness. We need to trust the witness inside of us and don’t ignore the “checks” in our spirits when He speaks.
When you believe you have the inward witness, you won’t make haste (Isaiah 28:16).