While conscience may seem to be the most obvious of the three aspects of our spirit, it can at the same time appear to be the least ‘spiritual’ while also being the aspect we experience the most. Of the other two, spiritual intuition seems to be the aspect we need to understand the most and communion the aspect we desire. So, I will continue this trifecta looking at intuition then closing it off dealing with communion.
First, insight and intuition are processes that at times are confused. I won’t do a complete teaching on the two; the general distinction is that intuition is the initiator of a process and insight the completion. Intuition is an often undefined sense of something that we need to learn to pay attention to whereas insight is the ‘aha’ or realization that comes when we see the fruit of following our intuition. We use language like a ‘gut feeling’ to refer to intuition, which is appropriate since scripture locates the experience of our spirit in our belly.
27 The spirit of a man is the lamp of the LORD, Searching all the inner depths of his heart. Proverbs 20:27 (NKJV) 38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38 (NKJV)
(here is a link to the song There is a River, which refers to what Jesus described. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaI8GKMuSWg )
The literal Hebrew in Proverbs 20:27 is ‘innermost parts of the belly’ rather than heart and the Greek in the John 7:38 is literally ‘belly’ or ‘innermost being’ rather than heart as can be seen in the versions below.
27 The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, Searching all the innermost parts of his being. Proverbs 20:27 (NASB) 38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38 (NASB)
27 The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly. Proverbs 20:27 (KJV) 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. John 7:38 (KJV)
While there are many New Testament passages that illustrate the use of intuition the main foundation for understanding it is in 1 Corinthians 2.
9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 1 Corinthians 2:9-12 (NKJV)
In the two occurrences in verse 11 and the one in verse 12 the word know/knows is the same Greek word each time, and while it carries the meaning of knowing or understanding something it also carries the meaning of being aware of something. This is how we need to apply it. Through the Holy Spirit we can become aware of things within our own spirit and as we train ourselves to pay attention to His speaking within we learn to recognize His voice in our spirit.
Later on in 1 Corinthians 12 Paul enumerates spiritual gifts. One of which is the ‘word of knowledge.’ In application I have found in my own experience that the word of knowledge functions through awareness in my spirit. I have a sense of something about someone either when praying for them or when looking around at a group of people while seeking to pay attention to my spirit. I take this intuitive sense (the initiation of the process) and share it with the person I am praying for or with a group of people. When they respond and affirm what is happening two things happen. One is the insight, the completion of the process is achieved, and two, faith is increased because they know I had no way of naturally knowing what I just shared. Please note, this learning to pay attention to Him works at work or in the community as well as in church settings.
I have had people weep because I spoke something to them that I had no natural way of knowing, it came from the Holy Spirit. I once shared something from the Holy Spirit and the individual suddenly doubled over like they had been punched in the stomach due to the impact in their spirit. I have had people shared detailed things about my life that they could not naturally know. These examples illustrate the fruit of learning to listen to the Holy Spirit speaking in our spirits.
Let me further illustrate with some examples of where we see this in the life of Paul and Jesus. Please note, these examples are illustrative not exhaustive. You will find many more if you search the New Testament.
25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” Matthew 12:25 (NKJV)
61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you?” John 6:61 (NKJV)
19 Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, “Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’? John 16:19 (NKJV)
13 I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia. 2 Corinthians 2:13 (NKJV)
In each of the examples above Jesus was paying attention to and listening to what was happening internally and since He had laid aside His divine attributes, He had to hear in His spirit from the Holy Spirit. In a similar vein, Paul described experiencing a restless in his spirit, an intuitive sense that something was wrong. In each case Jesus and Paul both did something in response to what they sensed internally. This is about learning to lean into and learn from our spirits, as described by both Isaiah and Mary
9 With my soul I have desired You in the night, Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; For when Your judgments are in the earth, The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. Isaiah 26:9 (NKJV)
46 And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” Luke 1:46-47 (NKJV)
Isaiah and Mary both described the need to pay attention to their spirits. At the end of the day this is all about embracing what Paul wrote;
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8:14 (NKJV)
14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8:14 (NASB)
I included the NASB translation because it more accurately reflects the tense in Greek. It is not about a past experience, it is about a present reality. We are called to be in the state of constantly being led by Him, which will take us to communion…
2 thoughts on “Walking in the Spirit Part 4”
This is excellent work Randy. I am reading a book by Shawn Bolz called God Secrets. (released last year) It has in depth teaching building on what you are saying here about words of knowledge. It is also packed with personal testimony . It’s a good read for those wanting more on the spiritual gift of words of knowledge.
Thanks Dan, I recently purchased the book as well, just need to get some time and space to read it.