A question about the work of the Holy Spirit
How can we know something is of the Holy Spirit, or if something is just an emotional high that makes us feel good?
I ask this question because the emotional high is often so attractive, especially to the young Christian, but is not always the work of the Holy Spirit at all. The Holy Spirit is the 3rd person of the trinity, and He has a very distinct job description. If we look to John 14-16 we are told much about the PERSON OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. Jesus says, He will be sent to us as someone who will guide us into truth, bring the words of Jesus into remembrance, convict the world of sin and righteousness, and most importantly TESTIFY OR POINT TO JESUS AND GLORIFY HIM. If you read John 14 this is all said in connection with true love being measured by our obedience to the words of Christ. The Work of the Holy Spirit is to show us what the truth is, convict us of sin, and bring us to Jesus. That is the work of the Holy Spirit.
Nothing is said of tears, weeping, music, healing or anything else. Those things may accompany the move of the Spirit, but they are not the point nor the proof. The entire work of the Holy Spirit is to convict of sin and point to Jesus. That is worshipping in spirit and truth.
So, if anything is happening in a church, regardless of how emotional or unemotional it is, we can only know a true move of the Spirit by the amount that thing is convicting of sin and pointing to Jesus. Jesus says the Holy Spirit will only speak what He has received from the Father… that means anything outside of God’s revealed Word is not the truth, and therefore not a move of the Holy Spirit. What is the sum of God’s word? Repent and come to the Savior. The Holy Spirit is working as One with the Father and Son to bring as many to Him as possible, and then make them real disciples, or like Christ.
Therefore, let us not measure the presence of the Holy Spirit by how emotionally charged something is, but by how much conviction of sin is happening, and how many people are truly coming to know Jesus Christ. If man, experience, emotion, healing, prosperity, the good life, or anything other thing besides Jesus is being focused on, than the Holy Spirit is not behind it… no matter how good it feels or emotional people get.
I am reminded of the stories of John Edwards during the age of revival. He would plainly read a sermon like “sinners in the hands of an angry God” and people would come begging God to forgive their sins and restore them in Christ. That is the Holy Spirit at work. I am also reminded of my friend, Terry Clark, a long time worship leader, exhorting people in a worship conference to know that the Holy Spirit will always testify of Christ, not man, and that is how we know a work of the Holy Spirit.
Let us not be deceived, let us be filled with the Spirit, and let us follow hard after Christ and His word, trusting the Spirit to help us be more like Him everyday. AMEN!
As a pastor and director of a Bible College I have a huge heart to see the next generation guided into all truth. My hope is that this article will help people not go down a path that leads them away from God’s truth in the name of emotionalism, but towards Christ in the name of true worship. To God be the Glory!