Wednesday, December 28, 2011
How The Spirit Speaks
Paul assumes that the Holy Spirit will be active in the church. Here he mentions prophecies, occasions when Christians speak forth God’s messages directly. In another of his letters Paul includes many more ways the Spirit speaks and acts within the church (see 1 Corinthians 12-14). But just because someone claims to have a message from the Spirit, that doesn’t guarantee the correctness of the claim. The community needs to “test everything,” to discern whether the message is from the Holy Spirit or some other source. If something is truly from God, then it should be embraced. If something is found to be evil, it should be rejected.How different this age is when we want to be "solo" Christians. Accountability seems to be the last thing anyone looks for in a church these days. Mega-churches are set up for anonymity, the opposite of accountability.
Analogously, if you believe that the Holy Spirit is guiding you in some specific area of your life, you ought to submit your conviction to your Christian siblings for help with discernment. In my case, I would share it with a more mature Christian whose wisdom I respect, or with my small group, or with my wife, or, in all likelihood, with all of the above. It’s scary to do this, of course, because those around us are generally more open to God’s will for our lives than we are, and would be less likely to project our desires onto God than we would be.
I think this is great advice from Mark. Who are the people in your life that fill this role? If you cannot name any, maybe you need to find one.