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The Workings of the Holy Spirit

Updated on June 27, 2020

As a deer thirsts for streams of water, so my soul thirsts for thee O God. Psalm 42: 1.


There are many Christians who don’t yet know how the Spirit communicates with them, even though they know that we all receive the Spirit when we first believe but some aren’t yet fully aware of how he manifests himself in us - or that the idea is somehow ‘foreign’ to them. But I suspect it’s much more than that, they are just lukewarm in their faith, which is a dangerous condition to find ourselves in and there are so many like that. We all need to be prepared ‘to go the extra mile’ to realise it. This article will hopefully shed some light on that.

The first thing to know and believe is that he does so in a number of ways and not everyone will experience it the same way.

The second thing to know and believe is that Satan can transform himself into an angel of light and he will do his best to deceive you - the Spirit will testify of Jesus, Satan will not. 1st John 4: 1 - 6 tells us about it and it is clear.

Scripture tells us that he will lead us if we are willing to allow him, 1st John 2: 27 says: But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him.

The Spirit’s teaching is not in a direct way (as in a classroom situation) but more of an indirect way through scripture by bringing it to mind and also in confirmation. By availing yourself of scripture as much as you can as well as a good teaching ministry such as, he will cause you to understand what you read little by little. And it doesn’t just mean to only wait on the Spirit’s teaching, you have to play your part as well – neglecting to read the scriptures can and may lead to apostasy if you’re not prepared to study His words, or everything else that pertains to learning and growing. There are so many who profess but by mouth only. If you sit idly by waiting for the Spirit to teach you everything, you will be waiting a long time. The second part of this verse confirms that. Others so gifted in the Spirit can teach us as well, Ephesians 4: 12 says: For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.

It is said that the Spirit speaks softly, barely even a whisper, and not always in an audible voice – he causes you to know in spirit in your heart. The Spirit is often described as a wind, you cannot see it but you can know the effects of it, Acts 2: 2.

Sometimes you might receive a ‘seed thought’ in your mind planted there by the Spirit and you don’t know how it arrived there but you know in your heart it’s true and it’s something for you to think on. It might be just a single word or a whole thought process that causes you to think on and consider. If you are even vaguely aware of scripture or well versed in it, he sometimes brings a verse or passage to your mind, which could be an answer to something you may be thinking about, John 15: 7 says: If ye abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

Other times it can be a warning on a multitude of things and may be instilled spiritually or demonstrated physically – and I’ve had both, which should never be ignored. And sin is only one of them. We ALL sin, passed down from Adam and we all will but we need to remember that we cannot serve two masters. Confession is on a daily basis as we all sin in some form every day, at times without even knowing it and we must do it quickly after we’ve sinned – and don’t let it grow into a larger issue where you will struggle to control it. And we should all try our best 'not to grieve the Spirit' (denying) by always putting Him first in our lives, Ephesians 4: 30 says: And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. There are some who misinterpret this verse to mean salvation can't be lost once it's given - THAT IS NOT SO. If that were so, very few would be saved because He knows who will or won't remain in faith until the end. Salvation is in two parts, firstly when we first believed and then fully after death, either if that's before or during Tribulation or if raised alive at the end. Matthew 24: 13. Salvation must be in two parts simply because we are still here after receiving it - we remain here as a witness before others as we haven't been 'taken home' yet. The first part is an interim or probationary period to prove and demonstrate that our faith is genuine and lasting until the end - or that it isn't. There are many who wrongly think that salvation is unconditional. Yes, Jesus loves us unconditionally but salvation is conditional. As long as you remain and continue, that is the requirement that makes salvation conditional. Romans 11: 22, 23 says, Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in His goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again - and these are just two of many verses that tells us.

We must also be very careful that we don’t misinterpret the Spirit’s leading or prompting for the ‘tricks of the devil’ as he is always trying to ‘throw you off your course’ and he will do that by stealth, you will never see his attacks coming so you must always be on guard, which will only increase as the day draws closer. One of his favourite tricks is to cause you to look back on past mistakes, which is just to break you down by your own feelings of guilt – looking back is the direct opposite of forward progress. Satan is quick to remind us of our past - so whenever he does that, remind him of his future - he hates that. The Spirit will never cause you to look back on the past as all sins that are confessed are forgiven and if this is happening to you, just know that Satan is doing it and stamp on it quickly. The further you advance in forward progress in His grace through reading and sound teaching the Spirit will come to you and you will soon recognise the tricks that the devil will use against you.

It could also be about an impending danger that you might not have even been aware of. There have been many instances in my own life that I now know danger had been averted, even certain death I have miraculously escaped on a number of occasions, which was not in my own power.

He is sometimes referred to as the comforter and by that we know that he kindly and patiently understands our feelings and he is also referred to as a Dove, which is one of the gentlest of birds and just like a Dove, he will take flight if you don’t respect him. There may be times when we all need comforting, and he will provide that in the kindest of ways. Sometimes we can feel so lost in this perishing world from the pressures that are all around us and 2nd Corinthians 4: 8, 9 is good to understand and remember - We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.

And sometimes we can be so troubled that we just don't know what to say - if we just place ourselves (the mind) in a position of prayer he will intercede on our behalf as he already knows what is troubling us, Romans 8: 26, 27 is clear: Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered. And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

He is indeed, our helper and there is none like him, John 14: 16 – 18 says: And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you forever. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and he shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

The information given to us in the Bible about the Spirit is a wonderful thing – you just need to believe it, wait for it and recognise it, which is all about faith and submission, James 4: 8 says in part: Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

There is no need to be alone in this struggle, which is why the Spirit was given in grace to help us, teach us, strengthen us, guide us, counsel us and even correct us, which is all done in spirit. It may be a good thing to consider this: In this world, which is full of distractions, junk and ‘noise’ and all things that saturate your mind, which is just clutter and the Spirit will not compete with that. If you want the Spirit to come to you, you must de-clutter your mind by not giving any space to what is of no value.

James 4: 2, 3 is encouraging to read: My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers [meaning many] temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. These trials or temptations are not meant to make us fall but to rise above them, they are not meant to defeat us, they are meant to be defeated, they are not meant to make us weaker, they are meant to make us stronger. So we shouldn't agonise over them; we should rejoice in them. Remember it isn't God who tempts us, it is either Satan or us ourselves.

Romans 7: 15 - 25 gives us a good indication of how the devil will keep throwing all manner of sin at us to keep us bound and it's not easy as Paul clearly states but we are our own keeper and we must try as hard as we can to resist him. I think this scripture is essential reading for everyone and if we don't put Jesus first in our lives, then Satan gets the victory and for those unaware, it may be good to read it here.

For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

If you are wondering if the Spirit is truly in you, that is, you’re unsure about it – there are some simple conditions and it isn’t difficult. If you are a believer and you’ve asked God to forgive your sins, you’ve already overcame the main hurdle. If you continue growing by reading His words - and this is the main requirement after making a solid commitment, the Spirit will come to you because he is promised. Then it’s just a matter of training yourself to hear and understand, which may take a little time – always listening for whatever way he will speak, or he prompts you by causing you to know in your heart. He is only waiting for you to prove your faith and he will, in time, reveal himself and truly, it’s a wonderful thing to know the Spirit is residing in you. Remember that our own spirit was implanted by God at birth, which makes us 'alive' at that moment and our life-force or spirit is who we are and our body is just the vehicle that carries it around. And thinking a little further from that, God knows our spirit and our spirit knows God simply because He gave it. So because of that, no-one in all honesty can say they don't believe God exists. Then it stands to reason that the Spirit of God can and will certainly communicate with us through our own spirit into our hearts and minds, which in turn causes us to know and then correctly understand his message.

Even at a young age every person has the ability to understand the difference between what is right and what is wrong and it certainly is a good thing if all parents were to teach this characteristic in their children as early as possible. Even little children are not exempt from the Spirit's leading and teaching.

By accepting the Spirit’s leading hour by hour and day by day, submitting our often rebellious nature to his will you will come to know the Spirit and be influenced by him. For some, submission can be the hardest step in our walk - and this is the key to it and is also the next step after making a firm choice in walking in Jesus' footsteps. James 4: 7 says, Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. This is something that we must all be willing for and you can pray daily that the Spirit will come to you and help you, John 14: 23 says, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. This is not a one-off thing, it is ongoing.

Remember when you were young and trying to whistle? It took forever to learn but your persistence paid off – all of a sudden it happened! Learning to hear the Spirit is no different – keep persisting by reading His words and praying and it will happen. But don't expect it to be always audible, unless it is necessary, it's more by inwardly knowing and you just need to be patient and learn to recognise it. Galatians 5: 22, 23 are the characteristics of the Spirit's work: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

I would love to tell you more about how you know that the Spirit resides in you and it is certain and positive but I’m fearing if I were to explain it any further, some might possibly misconstrue my intentions by seeking the experience for experience’s sake rather than surrendering their will completely to his leading. Some could even say, if the Spirit spoke to me I would believe and that is so wrong - they are putting it the wrong way round! God doesn't make deals - whatever happened to faith? This is something we develop as we continue and you will have to seek it with all your heart and mind and growing through His words to find out for yourself and it isn’t just a half-hearted effort – it’s all or nothing – God is not interested in part-time soldiers, He knows who are seeking it for the wrong reasons, Jeremiah 29: 13 is beautiful to read: And ye shall seek me, and find me when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

A little encouragement, if it can be called that. If it is our lot to suffer martyrdom during Tribulation, and many will, it is not unnatural to be thinking at this point in time – do I have the strength to suffer it? That really doesn’t matter until such time, and whether we are called to suffer it. If God has so marked us, then rest assured He will supply the strength needed at the time, 1st Peter 4: 12 – 14 is comforting: Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be received, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified.

It was expedient that one should die for many, in the end, many will die for one.

Keep in mind that Jesus was looking beyond the cross and it will help us if we adopt that attitude. As an analogy, if you had to take a train trip, would you buy a ticket 4 months before, when you may not even go – or on the day?

And so it is with God’s help – He will abundantly supply the strength needed on the day.

All of us are going to face Tribulation in one way or another, that is, if you haven’t been mercifully called home beforehand and the words in Mark 13: 11 are good to remember and think on: But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Spirit. has so much more.


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    • Jack Jenn profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Jenn 

      13 months ago from Nelson Bay NSW Australia.

      Hi Hilary,

      Thank you for your valued comment to this article - it truly is a wonderful thing to experience the Spirit working in you for good in all things, even correction. And I have certainly had my share of that but it's good to know that just as a parents love for a child doesn't diminish during correction, neither does God's.

      We know that scripture tells us that we receive God's seal, which will protect us from certain things during Tribulation (except martyrdom) and also His Spirit, which is given at the same time and he will reveal himself in time as you grow - it's just a matter of being patient and waiting on him, you only have to do your part by being serious about your salvation and continuing.

      If you get some spare moments I would appreciate it if you would read my other articles - there aren't many and leave the END OF DAYS til last as it's quite long - the others are excerpts from it.

      Knowing a little of your history from what you've said in your post, some of the things I've written may be at odds with your beliefs but I hope you might have an open mind to them and view them in truth and I'm happy to answer any questions you may ask.

      I appreciate your blessings and may God bless you too Hilary.

      Again my best regards,


    • Hilary Hsieh profile image

      Hilary Hsieh 

      13 months ago from Georgia

      Hello, I quite enjoyed reading your article. I was never quite sure what role the Holy Spirit played in our lives, but I know now that it is God's way of speaking to us and giving us strength.

      I also like how you clarified that we will only be saved if we continue believing in Jesus Christ. If we reject him after we are saved, we also reject his salvation. You avoided the mistake I made in my post. Wonderful job!

      May God bless you!

    • Jack Jenn profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Jenn 

      16 months ago from Nelson Bay NSW Australia.

      Hi Lori,

      Thank you for your expression of kind words and you are so, so right, I'm sure it was God who coined the term - if only.....

      I was shocked (even though I shouldn't be) at the behaviour mentioned, just further proof, which is sadly unseen by others, that Satan is stepping up his presence and will only get worse, far worse as the day draws closer.

      Again my sincere thanks for reading and I hope it encourages you to read the same one I've asked Gerry to read - Matthew 7: 13 & 14, not many really understand these verses. There aren't many articles and I'm hoping you will read the others - leave THE END OF DAYS article til last as it's quite long.

      Again Lori, thank you.


    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      16 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      Great job, Jack. So many Christians misunderstand the Holy Spirit and have acted as though He is a buffoon and really weird. I wrote an article on it once because it grieves my heart. I've seen all kinds of antics in the name of the Holy Spirit. The problem is, they have no clue who the Holy Spirit is and how He works in our lives.

      I went to a meeting once where a small group of women had a bible study in a home. The study was fine, but then she said, "Let's pray," and all hell broke loose (It certainly wasn't anything heavenly). The ladies began laughing hysterically, then one woman was on all fours on the floor oinking like a pig. I was so outraged and grieved I left. My friend who invited me followed me out and asked why I was leaving. I told her because what was going on was of Satan. She insisted it was a move of the Holy Spirit. Years later she left the Lord.

      I was at another meeting at the invitation of a friend. The worship songs were a half hour long each, mostly just music and repeating the same words over and over. The pastor gave a lesson. No real red flags. Then he said, "Let's pray." Hysterical laughing and acting drunk broke out. The group of young people in the pew in front of me got so raucous the pew fell backward on my feet and I got a hard elbow in the ribs. When we left my friend said, "Wasn't that a powerful move of the Holy Spirit?" These people are looking for wild experiences and attention. So sad. Thanks for shedding light on the Holy Spirit. I hope many will read it.

    • Jack Jenn profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Jenn 

      16 months ago from Nelson Bay NSW Australia.

      Thank you Dana and I hope they will be of some benefit.

      Best regards,


    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 

      16 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      Thanks Jack,

      Actually the testimony is old, about eight years old but I appreciate your well wishes. I plan to read more of your article's. See you soon.

    • Jack Jenn profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Jenn 

      16 months ago from Nelson Bay NSW Australia.

      Hi Dana,

      Thank you so much for reading this article and I'm guessing you found this article by clicking on my name in the response to your article. I would very much appreciate it if you were to read my other articles (6 more.) if and when you get a chance. I would leave the END OF DAYS article 'til last as it's quite long.

      I like your thoughts on many layers to the Bible - so true.

      Sorry to hear of your friend and your own loss of employment, I hope things will improve for you, just keep keeping on, the sun will shine again tomorrow.

      You've taught me a very good lesson (as well as yourself) to only listen to others advice if it agrees with what you have heard given to you by the Spirit as a result of prayer. You're certainly not alone in what you've done - I've also fallen victim to listening to others when I should have trusted His Spirit, and countless others could say so as well.

      We all need the 'seasoning' you mention and unfortunately, we all fall to disobedience but if we get up after being knocked down, apply some 'salve to the wound' and continue - that is the most important thing. And we all sin in some form every day, so confession is also daily.

      Seeing that you've told me a story, which I enjoyed, I shall reciprocate. Back in 2012, I was trying to make some sense of Revelation concerning the end times and talking to my wife about it, she said, you're retired now so why don't you study it and write it up so that we can pass it on to our kids. That resulted in my END OF DAYS article (the others are excerpts from that article) and of course a lot of that information came from what others had written and it didn't take long to determine fact from fiction by cross reference with my Bible - and then I found

      This man, who is a countryman of yours has taught me so much and I promise you Dana, he will do the same for you. Save it to favourites, you will be going back to it many, many times. His work is yet unfinished, he still has a few more articles to complete and what I like about him is he doesn't try to conform scripture to his doctrine, he conforms his doctrine to scripture and he lets scripture do the talking.

      Because his articles are very lengthy I always encourage people to start reading in the 'Peter's Epistle Series' as they're not overly long before beginning in his main stream articles.

      Again Dana, thank you for reading.

      Best regards,


    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 

      16 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      Everything you've said in this article is so true. I have experienced the Spirit in so many ways. I went from hearing a voice, to understanding my thoughts, to listening to the wisdom that came out of the mouths of others. Also, through the bible, where the Spirit would take a scripture that I happen to be meditating on, and give me a deeper understanding than I was taught. That's when I began to understand there's many layers to the bible, and this is why we are encouraged to read and meditate on it in order to get the seasoning that feeds the spirit to make it strong.

      I had a coworker that I worked with and we were very good friends. We both got laid off from our job but continued to talk everyday. Well, I began to get this urging in my spirit to move out of my apartment that I was paying with my unemployment. I understood the urging of the spirit and decided I would move. I went to breakfast with my friend and told her about my decision. She said. " Oh, no, you better not move, God is gonna take care of you." So I heeded her voice and decided she was right.

      When I got home before I stuck my key in the door my blood ran cold. I was being chastened in my spirit very severely. It was so severe, I couldn't make out any of the words except for the last sentence which said. "You can always tell a tree by the fruit that it bares!' At the end of that month, I received a letter from unemployment informing me the extended unemployment program was coming to an end and, my last check would be cut by half.

      If I had listened to the Spirit, I would have had money in my pocket when I had to vacate my apartment. Because I didn't I left with no money and still actually owing the owner rent. I wish I could say I listened to the Spirit after that. Unfortunately, I could give you a list of testimonies of how I suffered due to my disobedience. When I began to take a closer look at the woman whom I considered a confidante, I realized she bore no fruit. (Those who abide in the Vine will bare fruit.)

      You're right the Spirit gives you a warning before something happens and it's not up to us to question only obey. If you don't you will eat the fruit of your own way.

      Love the article and I will definitely be back to read more.

      God bless.


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