A: And how the heck am I supposed to know if something came from God?!
B: Please! It’s “how the heaven.” And through His Spirit, by the way. Everyone has access to God, and therefore eternal truth, through His Spirit.
A: And what, pray, is His Spirit?
B: God’s Spirit, Which I will refer to as “the Spirit,” is the way God most commonly conveys information to us. Though He and His Spirit defy perfect description, I’ll try to describe the Spirit to some extent anyway. The image I have of Him in my mind is that of a ghost – hence the term “Holy Ghost” by which He is also sometimes known. Some describe the presence of the Spirit as a “still, small voice;” others as a “burning in the bosom.” It seems to be a bit different for everybody, but from my own observation (and experience), it appears to be a cross between a voice and a feeling – say a voice that we “feel” within ourselves.
A: What in the world are you talking about?!
B: I expect that everyone has felt the Spirit, at one time or another, in his or her life, including you. So really, I think you know what I’m talking about, even if you don’t think you know what I’m talking about right now. Were you to feel it right now, I believe that you’d recognize it as something you have felt before.
A: I’m lost.
B: Let’s try some examples. Have you ever felt like you shouldn’t do something, even though you don’t know why, simply because it didn’t “feel right?” That feeling is the Spirit. Did you ever have a good idea just hit you out of nowhere? If it turned out to be an idea that actually was good, then it must have come from God – through His Spirit.
Have you ever felt a kind of peaceful feeling that you were doing what you should be in life? Or that come what may, things will work out and you will be happy and sufficiently successful? Or perhaps that you’ve been fortunate, almost presciently, in many different circumstances over the course of your life? Have you ever felt extra good, like going out and doing good things for other people? Maybe you have a kindlier outlook on life or on others, and feel like giving them the benefit of the doubt, instead of being upset or annoyed with them, as you might otherwise be? All this may come from the Spirit.
A: What do you mean, “may come?”
B: Well so I don’t mean to give the impression that every good feeling you think you have is the Spirit.
A: Why not? Didn’t you say all good things come from God?
B: Well yeah but the question comes in whether the feeling really is a good thing. For instance, people may think they’re having a good time when they’re drinking and partying, but then they go out and get in a drunk-driving accident, killing themselves and taking perhaps a few other innocent people along the way. Was that original “good” feeling the Spirit? The outcome certainly doesn’t seem very good to me.
A: Well, then, how do I know if some good feeling I have really is of the Spirit?
B: A good question. For an adequate answer, a much longer explanation may be required. Suffice it to say now that “confirmations” are needed; that is, reaffirmations of the truth, which I alluded to once before. If you think that God has conveyed something to you through His Spirit, but you’re not sure, you can always ask Him if He really meant it, and He’ll tell you through His Spirit again if He did.
A: …And we’re back to square one again.
B: No, you’re not quite getting it: if He keeps telling you the same thing consistently, through repeated impressions, then you can be more certain that the thing came from God, and therefore must be true. If you don’t keep getting the same thing, the initial impression couldn’t have come from God: if He told you different things every time, He’d be the author of confusion, and what kind of God would He be then? Not a very nice or loving One, anyway. Therefore, such an impression must have come from a different source.