Jeremiah was a gloomy prophet who lived between 600 and 500BC. We are very indebted to him for telling about the advent and work of the Holy Spirit that would take place when Jesus was raised from the dead. He said; “This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” This New Covenant is generally understood to govern the change that happens to a person when they take Jesus into their lives, their sins are forgiven, and they are born again. Instead of staggering under the law of the ten commandments, plus the hundreds of other Mosaic laws that governed the Jews, they would be ruled by the Holy Spirit, working in their lives from within.
Taken in conjunction with the “New Commandment” (that we love one another ); this becomes a major change in the way we perceive God – instead of quaking in condemnation under the weight of all those social and moral laws, we instead live in love and obedience, under the direct guidance of the Holy Spirit. When the religious leaders questioned Jesus about the law, He replied; “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and the most important commandment. 39 The second most important commandment is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ 40 The whole Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Matt 22:37-40)
Ten Commandments Redundant
The consequences of this change are immense. We no longer spend our lives trying to be good and living under law; but instead live a positive life of doing good. Note the difference, not trying to BE GOOD, but DOING GOOD! If you really love your neighbour, you don’t need commandments to “not covet his ass”, or to “not rob” him. The old commandments become redundant in the light of the new commandment to Love your neighbour. It is very significant to me that this paradigm shift in how we perceive God’s Kingdom is actually a complete change from slavish reactive obedience to the law; to the proactive life of reaching out in love to all we meet. As we take that new commandment literally, we are too busy loving and being loved to get into trouble with the ten commandments. We do not need commandments when we are inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, and the fruit of the spirit** grows within us.
**Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
How can you discern the Holy Spirit in others? This question is very relevant to our growth and spiritual well-being. Why? – Because we need to know when what we are hearing is the inpired word of the Spirit of God. If we just accept everything we hear we will soon be led down the path of spiritual error.
There is one thing the devil CANNOT fake, and that is love. You may be hearing stuff that sounds very reasonable at the time, but if it leaves you with an unquiet spirit, then you can be assured that it is NOT from God. If what you see and hear makes you feel restless, discontented, anxious or worried, you can be confidant that it came from that other kingdom – the kingdom of darkness. God is Love: Therefore anything from God must be pure; have an underlying theme of love, and leave you with a feeling of peace.
Simple, Reliable Test
Jesus gave us a very reliable and simple test to apply when we are not sure what we are confronted with. In effect, He said; “Look at the fruit to see what sort of a tree it is” [Matt 7:16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? …….20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them]. So if the visible fruit in the life of the person you are listening to are the fruits of Love, Joy, Peace, etc, of the Spirit, described in Galations, then you can be sure that the Spirit of God is directing that person’s life.
For me, the best description of the voice of [God] the Holy Spirit, is the term used by the writer of 1 Kings [19:12] when he said; “a still, small voice“; in telling about God talking to Elijah after the voice of earthquake, wind, and fire. I have this mental picture of the Holy Spirit in the same room in my head as my conscience, and speaking to me in the same way – I have to listen real hard to hear Him, and it certainly helps to be in a quiet place, so as not to drown out the sound of the still small voice…
More About Hearing From God
You can read more about hearing from the Holy Spirit of God in Chapter 14 [Wisdom From God – Concience and The Holy Spirit] of my e-Book, “Good Lord, It’s Morning”!
Simply by definition the person of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the fruit of the Holy Spirit, are quite different and easily recognized.
The Holy Spirit
This is [one] function of the Holy Spirit: [John 14:] 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit , whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.