Using Discernment in Asking for the Holy Spirit’s Guidance

Antique brass compass over old mapSince we’ve been talking about the Holy Spirit lately, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the issue of discernment when we pray and ask for the Spirit’s guidance. As parents we routinely ask for clarity and wisdom in making very pertinent decisions that affect our children.

Each year I pray for guidance as to what to do for my son’s education. Having special needs, I have trusted the Holy Spirit to guide me, and He has…each year! Should I home school him or should I put him in school with an IEP? This personal issue is neither political nor is it ego centric. I must do what’s best for my son, even through my own doubts and concerns. I know the Spirit will lead us to where He wants my boy. This year I felt pretty sure I knew the direction we’d take, even before I gave it to God. Pretty conceited on my part! But the ironic thing, or maybe NOT so ironic, is that when I DID finally give this decision over to God, He made me feel uncomfortable in my own decision. I felt uneasy, like never before. While I couldn’t put my finger on WHY, I knew He wanted me to go the OTHER way. Once I discussed this with my husband, and we decided to follow how the Holy Spirit was leading, we THEN received a perfect validation from an outside source. My own faith had to be put into action before God allowed us to see the proof that we were making the right decision.

Hearing the Holy Spirit

Do you sometimes struggle with wondering if the Holy Spirit is talking to you? How are we supposed to know the guidance which we are receiving is not just our own egos talking to us?

One of the best litmus tests is The Word of God. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) “Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness.That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.”

We can not be acting in accordance to the Holy Spirit if we feel we should go against anything in God’s Word.

He may be The Comforter, but His guidance in our call to action may challenge our personal comfort zones! In the past when I have prayed for guidance, I find the Holy Spirit answers in a way that goes way beyond my comfortable limits. He stretches my faith, and in doing so He allows my character to grow.

Many times His guidance does not merely restate thoughts you’ve already had on a specific matter. What is told to us seems out of the blue, but always on a deeper level than we’ve thought about it. His guidance comes from a much deeper perspective. You may find yourself saying, “Why didn’t I think of that before?”

We must have patience. Sometime we don’t get the answers we want immediately. It is in this waiting that we can find comfort in God’s Word, and in knowing that He does in fact hear our prayers. Waiting on the Lord for His perfect time to answer us. (Psalm 40:1) “I waited patiently for Jehovah; And he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.”

As one who has decided to accept the grace of Salvation, repent from sin, and become a new creation in Christ, the Holy Spirit lives in you, strengthens you, guides you, teaches you and moves in you! Pray to be able to continuously discern His working in your lives.

Lisa Strnad is a weekly contributing writer/blogger to What’s in the Bible? and Jelly Telly. She has been a homeschooling mom of two, who works independently in Christian media in the areas of writing, promotions and marketing. She lives with her husband and children in Nashville,TN. Follow her personal blog posts on Talking Like A Girl.

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