Situation: How to discern between the Holy Spirit and my own thoughts?
From two continents this month, we received two very similar questions.
How do I evaluate different giving opportunities I guess I want to know exactly where and how God wants me to give? — Walter in South Africa
How to distinguish between the Holy Spirit and the ideas? — Kang in China
You may not know it, but Generosity Path has a prayer team dedicated to praying for you. Our beloved sister, Catherine Muthay, leads that team. Here are Catherine’s thoughts:
Scriptures on Discernment
There are so many that help us with discernment, but a few I like are:
Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. — Matthew 18:18-19, NIV
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My Name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. – John 14:26, NKJV
For the word of God is living and active and full of power…. – Hebrews 4:12 ( AMP).
Together, these mean that God gives you authority, He gives you His Spirit, and He gives you a living and active word. He has given you everything you need to hear from Him. What a gift.
Steps to Greater Discernment
1. Ask These Questions.
The most important questions I would ask are these:
- What is the LORD saying in this situation?
- What are my friends whom I trust would pray for me in this situation hearing from the Holy Spirit?
- Do I have peace about this giving?
- Is that small voice saying wait or go ahead and give?
2. Pose Those Questions Directly to the Holy Spirit.
This is also where discernment is needed. What are you discerning from Him about this situation?
I personally go back to the Holy Spirit who gives us all wisdom in everything we do. These days where everyone is asking for some donation of some sort, it’s good to listen to the Holy Spirit. And sometimes I find that there are no right or wrong answers.
These days where everyone is asking for some donation of some sort, it’s good to listen to the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is so dependable. You will know when He is speaking and when it’s your heart speaking. The still small voice of the Spirit speaks to our hearts. This is where we make friends with that still small voice so that we can hear it above our own ideas or voice.
3. Feel for His Peace.
After praying and asking the LORD to give me a sense of where He wants me to give, there are situations where I experience an overwhelming peace and that to me is an assurance that I will give into that person or that ministry. The Holy Spirit does not contradict Himself.
Once you have a peace about a particular place to give, then you follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will guide you on where to give. You will sense it and the overwhelming peace will be your guide.
Overwhelming peace will be your guide.
4. Pray with a Friend.
It also helps to pray with a faithful friend who will not be afraid to tell you what the Holy Spirit is saying to them, about where you should give.
My friends, this is how I will go about it. I hope this helps a little bit.
Catherine Muthey holds undergraduate degrees in Human Resources, and International Business and a graduate degree in Public Administration and Business. She worked in the market place for many years, in human resources, marketing and business development. Catherine desires to see God’s people being generous not only with their resources, but with their prayers as well. She is an intercessor for various ministries, including Generosity Path.