How to Recognize the Holy Spirit
In my last video, I said that in Acts 2:38 the Bible says; “Then Peter said to them, Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” I said that I would talk about how I hear the Holy Spirit in my life. In the 3rd Chapter of the book of John, Jesus is having a conversation with a Pharisee named Nicodemus. Jesus says something so off the wall to Nicodemus. John 3:3 says; “Jesus answered and said to him, Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he can not see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus says to Jesus in in verse 4; “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
I am guessing that question has been asked more than a few times. If you are truly honest, you may have asked the same question yourself. I know that I did. What I am going to talk with you about tonight, is probably the most important thing, I have ever talked with you about. I promise you no one can reenter their mothers womb again. But if you have truly repented and been baptized, you are truly born again.
I have said to my wife often, that when the Holy Spirit speaks to me, He sounds just like me talking. There is a reason for that; He is speaking to me through my own spirit. What I have discovered is that what was reborn in me was my conscience. The Apostle Paul had this revelation also. He said in Romans 9:1; “I tell you the truth, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit.” You see, what the Apostle Paul had discovered was, that the Holy Spirit was guiding him through his own conscience. We have to remember that the Apostle Paul wrote his letters in the Greek language. He used the Greek word “syneidesis” which is translated into English in the Stronges Concordance as G4893, and is translated to mean; “the soul as distinguishing between what is morally good and bad, prompting to do the former and shun the latter, commending one, condemning the other.” This word is translated into English as the word “conscience” 32 times in the Bible and is used by many different writers, especially in the New Testament. I have learned, that this is how the Holy Spirit is speaking to me, through my conscience.
The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:30; “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” What did he mean by that statement? I can only speak for myself here, but I think many of you will understand. When I was a young boy, I had two brothers, one of them was only a little over a year younger than I was. We used to pick on each other a lot. Sometimes I would pick on him and he would go and tell mom. Mom would obviously come to me and ask me what I had done. I learned very young, to lie to mom. At first, my conscience would bother me, but in time, it bothered me much less. I did not understand that I was grieving my conscience.
As I grew older, mom always had money in her purse, and she would leave her purse in full sight. The first time I took a twenty dollar bill from her purse, she noticed it very quickly; money as she would say, did not grow on trees. She would ask me what happened to the money. I would lie to her and say I did not know. At first my conscience would really bother me, but the more often something like this happened, the less my conscience would bother me. I still did not understand I was purging my conscience more and more; I just thought I was just getting away with it.
By the time I really was using drugs on a daily basis, my conscience really did not bother me at all. I could lie to you or steal from you, and never even give it a second thought. I was so successful at not listening to my conscience, that eventually, I was not even allowed in my own parents’ home. That is how well I had put my conscience to sleep.
Then came a fateful night. I overdosed on cocaine and I was all by myself. I knew that I was dying. At that point, God sent an Angel to me and gave me a choice. He said; “Do you want to live, or do you want to die?” There is no doubt in my mind that He had the authority to take my life, if that is what I chose. I had accepted Jesus as my savior when I was fourteen years old and been baptized, but there was no one to teach me about the Holy Spirit. I do believe to this day that had I chosen to die, He would have taken me to heaven. But I chose, because He was there, to live. He again spoke and said; “It is time to change your life!” That is all He said to me, but if you have never seen an Angel before, He scared me more than I know how to say. I do not know what happened after that, I must have gone to sleep.
The next day when I woke up, all I could think about was what that Angel had said to me. I went to my boss and told him I was going to Atlanta, and checking myself into a drug rehab center. I told no one about seeing an Angel. I figured no one would believe me anyway. The rehab center introduced me to the 12 step program. One of the steps in the program was to make a list of the things I had done wrong to others.
You read in the Bible that God keeps good books, and He sees everything. I can tell you that is true. As I started making that list, I somehow started remembering so much of what I had done wrong in the past. My conscience had really woken up, and all these memories came rolling back. The next step in the program is that you are to make things right with as many of those people as you can. Believe me when I say it, that is not an easy thing to do.
After I was released from the rehab center, I soon found a church. I told them a little about myself, but I kept most things from them. They talked me into being baptized again. I am not sure that it was necessary, but I so wanted to change that I would do almost anything. I found on my own that my conscience was working very well again. I would try and talk with these new Christian friends, and they would respond with these really religious sounding sayings. They told me I was a new creature in Christ Jesus, but I sure did not feel like that. When I would tell them things that were going on in my life, they would just say you are not like that any longer, but the truth was, I was. I soon left that group, and concentrated on the 12 step program.
The longer I worked the program, the more changes I could see happening in my life. I would encounter someone from my past, and I would be instantly reminded of the things I had done wrong to them. The Holy Spirit was working in my life, but I just did not recognize that fact. I came across no one who could tell me how this was happening, but it has continued right up to today. I have learned from reading the Bible exactly what no one could teach me; I had received the gift of the Holy Spirit, I just did not know it.
It would take years for me to come to understand, the truth that was right there in front of me, I just had to learn it on my own. That is why the Apostle Paul was able to tell the people in Galatians 1:12; “For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.” He had discovered while in Arabia, that the Holy Spirit was so alive in him. It took Paul many years before he could talk openly about the things that had happened in his life. I truly understand how that feels.
The Apostle Paul told Felix when he was making his defense in Acts 24;16; “In view of this, I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.” I have discovered that what Jesus told His Apostles when speaking about the Spirit of Truth in John 16:8 which says; “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness and judgment.” is more true than anyone might have imagined. The Holy Spirit is there to guide you into all truth. We just need to learn how to listen to Him. I have become a new creature in Christ Jesus, but it did not happen overnight. God change my life one step at a time. It happened just like God said it would in Exodus 23:29; “I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beast of the field become too numerous for you.” Are there things in your life that the Holy Spirit is trying to change?Read more at: www.refreshinghope.org