The Inner Witness: Is This God’s Voice?

Posted by on Apr 1, 2014 in Hearing God's Voice | 0 comments

The Inner Witness: Is This God’s Voice?

Shortly after I began this spiritual walk, I started to sense different things. Some of them gave me joy and anticipation, while others brought discomfort and pain. Like the day I suddenly felt an inner prompting to return two books to my high school back in Michigan.

Ouch! I didn’t like this. These books belonged to me, I thought!

Yet they didn’t; I’d (surreptitiously) taken them out of the school library almost twenty years ago—without checking them out. In other words, I stole them; I was a thief.

I wondered why now, after all these years, did I suddenly feel an inner urge to return them? To be sure, I’d never felt this before. I enjoyed owning those books—they were mine! Yet, this inner knowing persisted.

Another time I sensed that I needed to tell my husband something I’d kept from him. I argued with this inner knowing for many months, yet it just would not let me go.

What was going on? Why now? I pondered. Is this how God speaks? I searched the scriptures to try and understand what was happening to me. Here are a few verses that helped me.

  1. Hear the word of the Lord, I will put my Spirit within you, and you will come to life (Ezekiel 37:5, 14).
  2. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth…(John 16:13).
  3. If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free…Everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin…If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed (John 8:31-36).
  4. He goes before them, and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice (John 10:4b).

I struggled with these inner promptings for several months, until finally I sent the books back to the high school library with a letter explaining their return. stack of red booksThen I shared my guilty secret with my husband. When I finished, a sense of peace filled my heart; I felt clean and free on the inside.

Thank God, I was learning to recognize His voice and do what He told me. Today, I more fully understand the dangers of practicing deceit and lying and its destructive effects on our emotional, mental, and spiritual life.

Sociologist, O. Hobart Mowrer suggests that guilt is more of a detriment in our lives than deprivation. He writes, “The thing that damages our capacity to love and to be lovable is not neglect or rejection by others, but unacknowledged and un-atoned personal guilt.” This is why confession, forgiveness, and restitution are powerful therapeutic and restorative spiritual solutions of the Christian faith.

Yet note, it was the inner prompting by the Spirit of God that showed me what I needed to do; otherwise I wouldn’t have known. How important the work of the Holy Spirit is in our lives! We must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, if we want to be set free. (See notes on the Holy Spirit on the Resources page.)

The inner witness, awareness, perception

When Elijah was on Mt. Horeb, he learned that God was not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire, but in the gentle whisper—the still small voice. This is the place in which the Lord spoke to Elijah (I Kings 19:1-14).

We have spiritual capacities through which we can sense the prompting of the Holy Spirit or the voice of God. We call it an inward witness, an inner awareness or perception, an intuitive knowing— something on the inside perceives or senses something. Sometimes it may be more distinct; other times, a simple check or a go-ahead signal. It can provide us with knowledge, confirmation, correction, instruction, and guidance that will set us free— from a load of destructive emotions.

Question:

How have you experienced this inward witness in your life? What has it set you free from?

 

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