Lesson 2 -- first quarter 2002
December 9, 2001
© Copyright 2001, Christian Light Publications
Detecting the Spirit of God
I wonder how many people have been informed that, since they have not spoken in tongues, they have not received the Holy Spirit. Such assertions, while sincere, are quite tragic because they lack a solid Biblical foundation. Of course, such a test for God's Spirit would be quite handy . . . if it were true.
Thankfully, this Isaiah passage reveals to us some characteristics of God's Spirit. Detecting these characteristics in people guides in detecting the Spirit of God in them.
The Spirit of the Lord is "the spirit of wisdom and understanding." Godly wisdom perceives life as God does. Then Godly understanding enables and moves us to respond to life as God does. Naturally, such perception and resulting action comes from God Himself, through communion with Him and meditation on His Word. When we see in others this kind of wisdom and understanding, this kind of workable connection between the spiritual and the natural, we detect an evidence of the indwelling Spirit.
The Spirit of the Lord is also "the spirit of counsel and might." Godly counsel is possible only for those who see life as God sees it and who know how to respond to life as He would. Furthermore, Godly counsel comes only from those who can communicate to another's heart the very heart of God. Godly might, on the other hand, enables the counselor to overcome man's natural resistance to God's ways. This overcoming spirit works first in the life of the counselor, then in the life of his counsel's recipient. When we see those who are mighty in God's Spirit and who are clear sources of God's counsel, we know we are seeing those in whom dwells the Spirit of God.
Isaiah 11:2 tells us that the Spirit of the Lord is "the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD." In a way, it seems this verse saves the best and most significant till last, for who can have the Spirit of God without knowing and fearing God? How I wish my knowledge of God would catch up to and surpass my knowledge about God! I want to know Him with my heart and spirit, not just with my mind and intellect. I crave a deepening, expanding personal relationship with Him, not merely a factual acquaintance with Him. I know that one step toward such a relationship is to grow in the fear of the Lord. No, not being more afraid of Him. Rather, being more conscious of Him, awed by Him, and surrendered to Him. That's the beginning of the fear of the Lord. And when you observe in another such a personal, reverential relationship with God, you know you are in the presence of one in whom abides the Spirit of God.
Oh. Wait. We cannot overlook another practical revelation of God's Spirit: "with righteousness shall he judge . . . and reprove with equity." The Holy Spirit lives His life through His people in righteousness and justice. In addition to that, this passage pointedly brings out that knowing God causes us to know peace. When you see these in others, you can't miss Him.
Is there any hope for me?!
If reading all the above gives you a rather hopeless, pointless feeling, imagine what it did for me as I wrote it! The truth is, none of us can attain to such divine displays of Godliness and spirituality. That is, we cannot do it on our own.
But we are not on our own!
That's what Philippians 2:13 and 1 Peter 1:3 say to me. What do you think?
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