But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. John 14:26 (NASB)
The disciples waited in expectation for the promise of the Holy Spirit that Jesus told them would come after He ascended to the Father. Jesus told them,
But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. John 16:7 (NIV)
They didn’t know when this Counselor, the Holy Spirit, would come. They were waiting and praying when, suddenly on the Day of Pentecost, ten days after Jesus ascension, something supernatural happened!
Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks…. Acts 2:2-3 (MSG)
Nothing would ever be the same! Their lives were transformed. Not only were they witnesses of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, but now they were empowered by the Holy Spirit to fulfill the mission Jesus gave them. It’s the same mission He’s given you and me.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8 (NLT)
If we are to be effective in our mission, we must learn to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit speaks through God’s Word. As you’re reading God’s Word, listen for the voice of the Spirit to affirm God’s counsel in your life. The Holy Spirit also speaks through impressions. He may prompt your heart with an intuitive sense that God is directing you. In Isaiah, the Bible says,
You will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way. Follow it, whether it turns to the right or to the left.” Isaiah 30:21 (GW)
This is the adventure of walking in faith! Ask God to speak to you and to direct your path. He will. God challenges us in Jeremiah 33:3,
Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.
My dad used to say that was God’s phone number – JER 333. Call to God and listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Another way the Holy Spirit speaks is through gifted and godly teachers. The Apostle Paul was aware that God often spoke through him when he taught others about Jesus. In 1 Thessalonians 2:13, he said,
And we will never stop thanking God for this: that when we preached to you, you didn’t think of the words we spoke as being just our own, but you accepted what we said as the very Word of God – which, of course, it was – and it changed your lives when you believed it.
Almost every major decision I’ve ever made in my life was made in church while listening to the Word of God being preached.
The Holy Spirit also speaks to us through pain. C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” The Psalmist said,
My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees. Psalm 119:71 (NLT)
Pain will either leave me bitter or better. The difference is in one little letter – “I”. I get to choose my response. If I’m listening, I’ll hear the voice of the Spirit, in my pain, affirming the love of my Heavenly Father.