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The Guidance of the Holy Spirit

By Dr. Charles Stanley

How does the Holy Spirit guide us? How much does He control our actions? Does He still speak to believers, or was personal communication only for Biblical times?

God does not want us to be confused about this vital area. In talking to His disciples about the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, "When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come" (John 16:13, emphasis added).

Let’s consider four key truths about the leadership of the Holy Spirit:

1. The Holy Spirit will guide us.

Jesus doesn't promise that the Holy Spirit will control us. He says He will guide us.

Granted, there are times when I wish the Holy Spirit would control me. For instance, when I am tempted. Or when I become so task oriented that I become insensitive. Or when it's a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I need to study, but everything in me wants to grab my camera and head for the mountains. Life would be much easier if the Holy Spirit would take control of me.

But He is our guide, not our controller. We never lose our ability to choose to follow His leading. As a result, we are always responsible for our words and actions.

 2. The Holy Spirit is a trustworthy guide.

The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, helps believers discern between what is true and what is not; what is wise and what is foolish; what is best and what is simply OK. Each day is full of decisions. Most of our decisions concern issues not clearly spelled out in the Scriptures, for example, where to attend school, whether to hire a particular applicant, how much to budget for vacation, on and on it goes.

As you are inundated with the details of everyday living, the Holy Spirit will guide you. He will give you that extra on-the-spot sense of discernment you need to make both big and small decisions. As you develop a greater sensitivity to His guidance, you will worry much less about the decisions you make. Why? Because the Holy Spirit is a trustworthy guide.

3. The Holy Spirit is God's mouthpiece to believers.

The Holy Spirit does not speak on His own. Like Christ, this member of the Trinity has willingly submitted to the authority of the Father. Everything He communicates to us is directly from the Father: "He will not speak on His own initiative" (John 16:13).

Our heavenly Father has chosen to communicate to His children through the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:12). He is God's mouthpiece to believers. When the Father chooses to speak directly to you, it will be through the Holy Spirit.

When you think about it, this really makes perfect sense. After all, where does the Holy Spirit reside? In you! And in me! Therefore, He is the perfect candidate for communicating God's will to Christians. Living inside us, He has direct access to our minds, emotions, and consciences.

 4. The Holy Spirit speaks.

The question of whether God still speaks today is one that has spawned numerous books, articles, and lectures. It is not my purpose to present a tightly woven argument about why I believe He still speaks today. Suffice it to say, I do believe God, through the Holy Spirit, communicates directly with believers. No, I don't write these revelations in the back of my Bible and call them inspired. Neither do I run around telling everybody what "God told me."

My experience is that the Holy Spirit, at the prompting of the heavenly Father, still communicates with believers today. How does He do that? The Holy Spirit indwells me. He doesn't need my ears. What He needs is a listening heart and a renewed mind.

The book of Acts records several occasions when the Holy Spirit spoke to Paul and Peter (11:12; 13:2; 16:6; 20:23). It can’t be denied that those men had a special gift and call on their lives. But the same Holy Spirit who indwelt those men indwells every believer. Just as they needed divine direction at critical times in their lives, we need it today.

In his letters to the Christians in Rome and Galatia, the Apostle Paul refers to believers as “led by the Spirit” (Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:18). If we are going to be led by the Holy Spirit, we can only assume that He is willing (and able) to communicate with us.

How does God communicate with us today? The Lord speaks through the voice of His Spirit, who resides within us. We may have to seek His face for a season; other times, we can sense His direction immediately. No matter what, the Holy Spirit is a trustworthy guide.

Adapted from “The Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life,” by Charles F. Stanley, 1992.


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Copyright 2015 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

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  • February 14, 2013 12:07 PM


    Thank you for your continued drive to show Christians all God has for us. Many people look uncomfortable when I talk about the Holy Spirit. They act as if it's something bad, when that is the piece of God that dwells in us. I try to explain that it's like a triangle; and were the ones being loved in the middle of the three points. Thank you, Dr. Stanley for many years of being my touch stone. Today is my 13th anniversary, your guidance has helped along the way. Thank you, so much. May God continue to bless you, and yours. In-touch is important to the world, I am proud to have listened along the way since high school. That's way too long ago to say. lol God's will be done. Thanks for the warm fuzzy hug, I needed it today. :-)
  • February 13, 2013 06:39 PM


    excelent, I love sermons on the Holy Spirit. Thanks
  • February 12, 2013 04:07 AM


    Thank you and may god always bless you...JCG
  • February 11, 2013 10:54 PM


    Thank you for such a powerful message on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, I know and have experienced many times when the Holy Spirit helped me. When I taught children in Sunday School I was given many ideas, even in dreams from the Holy Spirit. I know He is a real person, and He will equip us for Gods service. And even when I go through trials, He has been there to guide me. I Love to listen to your service on Sunday 8:30.
  • February 11, 2013 01:48 PM


    Thank you for this beautiful insite.
  • February 11, 2013 10:06 AM


    We are doing a Bible study on the Holy Spirit and this article has helped me see so much clearer. Thank you so much. God Bless
  • February 10, 2013 05:40 PM


    I found this article very helpful and inspiring, pretty much the same reaction I have to most of Charles Stanley's teachings! It always makes me smile as I remember how judgmental I was towards Dr. Stanley BEFORE I BECAME A BELIEVER!! I thought he was narrow minded!! That makes me laugh today. It's like a child who say "I don't understand it, the older I get, the smarter my parents become." Thank you for all your wise counsel and integrity. I learn from you and the Holy Spirit confirms what you teach, for me. I look forward to many more years of wise counsel!!
  • February 10, 2013 03:01 PM


    Thank Pastor Dr Stanley: Many times I feel that I am alone, when I really don't search and see what God is doing for me on a daily basis. It's a "Pity Party", I just to see whats really important and let the rest go. Just as you always say, :"Obey God and Leave all the Consequences to Him". This is what I am trying to wrap my head around this. God Bless you and your In
    Touch Ministries. Thank you
  • February 10, 2013 02:31 PM


    Thank You Holy Spirit!
  • February 10, 2013 12:21 PM


    No matter how old I am, how many Bible Studies/Sermons I attend; I always receive a feeling of wonder, reading or listening to a message. How did "they/he" know, that was the message I needed to hear? God continually working to strengthen us.
  • February 10, 2013 12:20 PM


    Thank you. I am so greatful for Gods Holy spirit. Helps in small and big things ,matchless and fills my heart with incredible joy
  • February 10, 2013 11:55 AM


    I needed this today!
  • February 10, 2013 10:41 AM


    Thank you for letting me know more about the Holy Spirit I don't feel alone now I feel like I have a friend who won't hurt me or leave me thank you
  • February 10, 2013 09:53 AM


    Thank you so much for making the Holy Spirit become an individual to me. I have never had anyone in my 52 years put it so that it became real for me and how He works with me.
  • February 10, 2013 09:53 AM


    The Holy Spirit is God. The Spirit is in everyone and everything. Non-believers are unable to perceive the Spirit and His guidance. But It is there for them if they want.
  • February 10, 2013 09:49 AM


    Today's message was one of great comfort to all who heard it. Dr, Stanley gives us such comfort and insight into our individual walks with Christ. Today's message on The Holy Spirit has lifted my heart for the week to come. Thank you, to Dr. Stanley!!!

  • February 10, 2013 09:04 AM


    very informative and well stated; I wish our churches talked more on the subject of the Holy Spirit!
  • February 08, 2013 02:21 PM


    Thank you for giving me a better understanding of the Holy Spirits role in communicating with us. There have been times when I have had long conversations with God through the Holy Spirit and didn't utter a word, now it all fits into place.

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