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The Inward Witness

copyright © Andrew Shreeve 2004


As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God… the Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God

Romans 8:14, 16

 

As born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit has taken up residence inside our human spirit forever! Praise God we will never be alone again (Hebrews 13:5). And it is from this place inside our spirit that God communicates to us. God leads us by bearing witness with our spirit’. To ‘bear witness with’ means: testify jointly; corroborate by concurrent evidence; testify unto (Strong’s dictionary). To testify means to serve as evidence or proof (Webster’s dictionary). Evidence is proof or testimony (ibid). Corroborate means to confirm or support with evidence (ibid). Concurrent means happening at the same time (ibid).

 

The bible is teaching us that God leads us by his Spirit. God’s Spirit leads us by giving us a confirmation, a sign, an evidence, or proof, inside our spirit. The question we now need to ask is; how is this evidence discerned?

 

If the Holy Spirit of God is giving us evidence inside our spirit it would be right to conclude this evidence must be spiritually discerned. The following scripture emphasises this point.

 

9 Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit…12 we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned

1 Corinthians 2:9-10, 12-14

 

This awesome passage of scripture reaffirms that God communicates to us through his Spirit (v 10). God desires to reveal to us the things he has given and has prepared for us (v 10, 12). This would include the future direction and plans God has for our lives. This knowledge of God’s leadership is not revealed through human wisdom but through comparing ‘spiritual things with spiritual’ (v 13). In other words we must spiritually discern’ God’s leadership and revelation in our lives (v 14).

 

To have spiritual discernment we need to be in fellowship with God. God desires to bring us to a place of constant fellowship with him, continual communication with His Spirit. It is from this place of loving fellowship that we learn to discern His witness and impressions inside our spirit. This requires focus and sensitivity to His presence on a continual basis. To give you a human example, if you are in love and walk with your spouse or friend, are you not keenly aware of their feelings and movements? Can you not even come to a place of being aware of their very life breath? Are we not called to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Luke 10:27)? Is this not a call to give our primary attention to the very presence of God who lives inside our inner being?

 

Through the new birth our spirit has become holy and righteous (Ephesians 4:24). We have become a fit dwelling place for God to live. God’s intention is that we walk with him every moment of the day. In him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). In our daily quiet times with God we should remind ourselves of the sweet fellowship available to us at all times, even in the midst of the business of work.

 

In fact the apostle Paul teaches that prayer should be always!

 

Pray without ceasing

1 Thessalonians 5:17

 

Praying always… in the spirit

Ephesians 6:18

 

A careful study reveals that ‘praying with the spirit’ means praying in unknown spiritual tongues.

 

He that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries… If I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding

1 Corinthians 14:2, 14-15

 

As Christians, we have two ways to pray: we can pray in the spirit, or with the spirit (by praying in tongues,) and we can pray with our mind, or understanding. I think it is impossible for us to pray with our understanding all the time. We run out of things to say and we should give thought and consideration as to the intelligible words we speak to God. But we can commune with God with our spirit much of the time through praying in tongues, praying always in the spirit. Praying in tongues is a yielding of our spirit to God’s spirit. Tongues is a spiritual gift from God (1 Corinthians 14:1) and it is God who gives us the utterance to speak the tongues (Acts 2:4). Through praying in unknown tongues; by the way, no man understands the words (1 Corinthians 14:2), we are cooperating with God and allowing God to intercede through us (Romans 8:26-27). This has the effect of edifying our spirit (1 Corinthians 14:4). When our spirit is edified, or built up, we increase our ability to discern the Holy Spirit’s witness inside our spirit.

 

God has a wonderful plan for each of our lives. God is continually communicating spiritually inside our spirit. Direct your attention towards God and His Spirit through praying in the spirit always. As we pray in the spirit and develop the habit of ‘listening’ to our spirit (not our mind) we will learn how to be led by the inward witness. Believe me, my friends, it is worth the effort. To flow in the perfect will and plan of God for our life is joy unspeakable and full of glory (1 Peter 1:8). You can do it! Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).

 

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Andrew Shreeve Ministries is led by the Holy Spirit, committed to the integrity of the Word of God, walking by faith and focused on preaching the gospel to all nations...

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