Five Filters for Discerning the Holy Spirit’s Leading
Learning to recognize the Holy Spirit’s “voice” can seem like somewhat of a struggle at times, especially since our human emotions are involved. Often we wonder, “How can I discern between the two?”
For the sake of clarity, brevity, and simplicity, let me offer five filters that have helped me over the years:
1) If it’s directly commanded or prohibited in the Bible, consider it the Holy Spirit’s leading. I like how an older man put this to me as a Jr. higher when he said one day, “Don’t question in the dark what God has clearly shown in the light.”
2) If it isn’t directly commanded or prohibited, is it beneficial? If so, chances are God’s Spirit is in it. If it’s not, count it as a surge of emo.
3) If the jury is still out on the beneficial aspect, find out if the leading lingers.God’s Spirit leads consistently, and one way he communicates is through the way God has made us, gifted us, and shaped us. So our leanings and passions play a part in this, and if you have consistent leanings and passions in given directions, that’s a good sign God is giving you the green light.
4) Is this an enticement or an entrustment? Everything we involve ourselves in falls into one of these categories. So stack up the pro’s and con’s; look at the assets and liabilities. If the mental spread sheet is tilted heavily towards enticement, it’s more of a fleshly distraction than the Spirit’s leading.
5) Live in freedom, not doubt. Even with #4 in mind, also remember that God has given us all things freely to enjoy, and in many areas it’s not a matter of finding God’s will or leading, but rather simply doing it. Learn to live life from the angle that activity is better than passivity, and doing better than watching. You will no doubt accomplish more of God’s will by simply pursuing opportunities in freedom than analyzing every possibility out of fear.