Come Follow Me 2023, New Testament Study

The Spirit of Truth is Key to Inspiration and Wisdom

Our Journey through the New Testament in the coming year will not be effective if we do not invite the Holy Spirit to assist in our personal scripture study and devotion. This is because the desire of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is to reveal spiritual truths into our hearts and minds. And it is the reason the Savior promised the comforter to not only reveal the truth – to also advocate on our behalf:

12 I still have many things to say to you, but you are not able to bear them now. 13 But when he—the Spirit of truth—comes, he will guide you into all the truth. For he will not speak from himself, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will proclaim to you the things to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and will proclaim it to you. 15 Everything that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he takes from what is mine and will proclaim it to you.

The Gospel of John 16:13-16, The Lexham Bible

By inviting the Holy Spirit as our constant companion – and personal scripture study – we are allowing ourselves to be receptive to the personal messages from our Heavenly Father.

While our natural understanding may help us, to some extent, in understanding particular passages: without the Spirit of Truth, we may not come to a full comprehension of not only what the message says, what it means for us, but we may miss any true application of the message in our own lives. We may not come to a full understanding and appreciation of the spiritual implications of scriptural truth. One may grasp the thoughts of what the scriptures say, what is missed is the spirit, the transformative power and purpose behind those thoughts. This is evident in what Paul taught in his message regarding how the Spirit works and operates in our lives (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:10-16).

Another reason we want to invite the Holy Spirit as we journey through the New Testament is so that we are moved to be transformed by what we read and meditate upon. Meaning, through the Holy Spirit, our hearts and minds are transformed into a new way of thinking, creating a new way of understanding and experiencing life, and ways to grow in relationship to who we are, our relationships with others, and how we are to live differently. And it is through personal and divine revelation where we are able to be fully perfected and transformed in Christ.

How does one Invite the Holy Spirit?

Since it is the will of our Heavenly Father to speak to our hearts and minds – one needs to strive to listen for the still small voice. It begins when we truly are willing to earnestly seek for revelation from Him. Here are some things to consider in how one is to invite the Spirit of Truth:

  • Receiving the Gift of the Holy Spirit begins with humility and sincere desire for His companionship in our lives
  • The foundation is through the spiritual discipline of mindful and meaningful prayer and meditation
  • Diligently desiring to search the scriptures
  • Desire to strengthen our relationships with family, friends, and those within our community
  • Seeking after virtuous thoughts and actions
  • Establishing the spiritual discipline of mindful worship in our own homes and within our Church community

Ponder the following questions:

  • Which of the attitudes and behaviors do you believe may help you invite the Holy Spirit?
  • What observations have you seen in someone else’s attitude and behavior that helps you desire the constant companionship of the Holy Spirit?
  • What past experience have you had when you have allowed the Spirit to reveal truths from the Scriptures?
  • What do you want to learn more regarding personal revelation as you approach your study of the New Testament?
  • What are you willing to commit to inviting the Holy Spirit as part of your personal study and meditation on the New Testament?

As you thoughtfully consider the questions – write down your own personal thoughts and impressions. Feel free to share them in the comment section below for engaging discussion and see what others may say in their own desire to invite the Spirit of Truth in their own personal journey.

Jesus Christ is Willing to Reveal things to You

Going back to what the Savior shared with his disciples – as long as we are faithfully obedient to His teachings and commandments (cf. John 14:15-16) – we shall have an advocate who will reveal to us what the Father has revealed to the Savior.

It is the will of the Father and Christ to help us bring the Gospel message into the center of our own lives. As we earnestly desire to make Christ central to who we are, willing to live a more mindful and meaningful life, we shall experience the influence of the Holy Spirit. Through this, the Spirit will bring truth to our heart and mind and will bear witness of it. Guiding us into all truth.

The key here is our earnest desire and willingness to follow Him. To deny ourselves and to take up our cross each and every day.

Unplug from any form of Distractions

One of the challenges people have stems from their unwillingness to unplug from any form of distractions. It is not so much they do not want to engage in studying the scriptures – it’s just there are so many distractions that prevent us from engaging in venturing to the scriptures and listening for the promptings of the Spirit. Our prayers become meaningless and shallow. Our level of stress and anxiety increases. And we may find ourselves spinning our wheels.

The Psalmist writes: Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10). If we are not willing to be still, to give thoughtful consideration, and engage in mindful and meaningful prayer – we may miss out on the opportunity to hear the still small voice of the Spirit.

For me, it is turning off the Television. Taking a time out from the internet. Putting the phone down. And creating a place where I am able to quiet the thoughts of my mind. This requires discipline. It requires practice. And it requires consistent commitment. Again, it is a cost that I am willing to invest in so that I am able to develop a meaningful way to hear the voice of God.

What is important to take away from this is when we do our best to diligently seek to invite the Holy Spirit to guide us – we grow accustomed to recognizing when He is speaking compared to my own thoughts. And such an experience is quite difficult to describe. However, when you experience hearing the impression and still small voice – there is a deep assurance and confidence that floods you, a sense of peace, a swelling of joy and calmness.

Some describe such experience as a wave of comfort and peace – especially when facing trying times and difficult circumstances. Others have described it as a unique quiet voice that speaks with authority and conviction. Still, some say they have experienced a sense of presence as they are praying, studying the scriptures, and meditating on the message. All of these experiences share one common pattern – a very specific impression to the mind where detailed words may be heard or felt – as if someone is dictating them.

In some instances, the Spirit may not speak through us or to our hearts and minds – He may speak through another person. Consider some instances in your own life where you were struggling with something, or facing some form of challenge and someone came along and said something that struck you to the core? We typically say, “that is exactly what I needed to hear,” or “That is exactly what I was praying for” when someone comes to help us in our time of need.

Consider the following scriptures on how we may be influenced by the Holy Spirit:

  • Luke 24:32 – The experience of the two travelers on their way to Emmaus
  • John 15:26 – Will testify of Christ
  • Galatians 5:22-23 – The fruit of the Spirit and what it produces in us and through us

One other way the Holy Spirit may communicate to us is through dreams and visions. Although such experiences are quite rare – it does leave an indelible impression upon our hearts and minds.

Final Thoughts and Take Aways

The promise of true discipleship does not leave us without any comfort or guidance. We are promised to have the comforter, the Spirit of Truth, and through Him we will be directed toward all truth. Through the Holy Spirit, we are strengthened, we learn and gain spiritual insights as we commit to following Christ. Willing to walk in faithful obedience and allow ourselves to be transformed and renewed. In order for this to occur, we need to unplug and detach from any distractions that will prevent us from experiencing the Holy Spirit. And finally, how we experience the presence of the Holy Spirit is quite personal and unique to each one of us.

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