Finding Guidance for Your Life
Spiritual Life #32
Spiritual Intuition 1
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Well, loved ones, for the next three months – March, April, and May — we’ll be concentrating on talking about our spirits, our spirits. And you know that we’ve shared again, and again, how God has shown us that we ourselves consist of the bodies and then inside these bodies we have what the psychologists call the psychological part of us, what the Bible calls our soul. The Greek word for soul is “psuche” and becomes psychology in English.
And so inside our bodies we have our souls, that is our minds, and our emotions, and our wills and the secular world knows only those two you see, the body and the soul. And so whenever you go to a psychologist or a psychiatrist that is not a Christian they deal with you in terms of those two entities. But what we’ve seen in God’s word is that inside our soul again is another entity called our spirits. And our spirits are invisible. And in fact, you must admit our minds are invisible. I mean, part of the mind is the cortex of the brain and that can be seen with the eye but the mind itself is invisible, the emotions are really invisible. But, the spirit is absolutely invisible but it is within us.
And so we consist of those three entities. Our spirits inside us which wear our souls like an overcoat and then our souls wear our bodies like an overcoat. And we’ve often shared how it is God’s will that we should work from the inside out and how our spirits are the part of us that relates to God. And he wants us to relate to him first and then get from him what we need in our spirits and then express that through our souls and through our bodies to the world so that we would actually contribute to the world.
So that we’d come to a meeting like this and we’d give, we’d give. We wouldn’t be empty, we wouldn’t be a vacuum trying to suck in inspiration, or trying to suck in appreciation or love, but we’d be full inside. We would feel full inside. We would have a joy inside that is real and a positive peace, and a dynamic love. You see, that’s God’s will. God’s will is never that we should kind of come washed out. God’s will is always that we ourselves would be full. And so we would go into office situations with a full rich life inside us that meets the office situation, however miserable it was, and begins to pour into it some of that life and that was the Father’s will.
And we’ve often shared how the whole world of course have dead spirits. They have spirits that are absolutely dead, that have no relationship with God at all and most people live by the life of their bodies. They live for what they can eat, or they live for what they can drink, or they live for what they can put on their bodies to make themselves look nice, or the exciting experiences or feelings that their bodies can have. And so most people are living from the outside-in all the time.
And of course it’s God’s will that we should live from the inside-out. And so you remember we’ve often shared, and I’ll just show you it, that that [pointing to a diagram of Body, Soul and Spirit] is really the Father’s will for us. Not that we would live inside, from the outside to the inside like that, but that we would live from the inside out all the time. We would live from the inside out, from the life that God gives us through his Holy Spirit.
And then just to take you to another stage that we’ve already covered, you know that what we saw was that the spirit has several functions, just the way the soul has. The soul has a volitional function, an intellectual function, and an emotional function. So has the spirit. Now loved ones, that isn’t what that spirit is, that’s what the spirit does. We in this present life cannot adequately define for each other the substances of the spirit, we can’t. It is part of God that he has put within us. We can’t describe the substance of the spirit, we can only talk about the functions of the spirit and some of the functions of the spirit are those there. (intuition, guidance, communion)
And the one that I’d like to begin to share with you about and ask you to think about yourself is this function of intuition. That’s the function whereby we know what God wants us to do. Intuition. It might be good for you to see that we did, you remember, liken the personality to the Old Testament temple. Do you remember that? We talked, you remember, about the Old Testament temple being made up of a holy place and a holy of holies. You remember it had an outer court, and it had a holy place, and it had a holy of holies. You remember how we shared that the holy of holies was the same as our spirits.
Now, in the holy of holies, there was one article of furniture. That was the Ark of the Covenant you remember. The Ark of the Covenant contained the commandments of God. Now, do you remember that the Israelites moved nowhere unless the Ark of the Covenant moved ahead of them. So they moved across the Jordan behind the Ark of the Covenant, behind the thing that was in the holy of holies in the temple. They moved round Jericho to conquer it behind the Ark of the Covenant.
They treated the Ark of the Covenant as their lead, as God’s leadership to them. They treated it with immense care. You remember when Uzzah put out his hand to steady it, put out a fleshly hand to touch what God had said they should not touch, you remember, he was struck dead. Now loved ones, that’s the way you and I are meant to live in regard to our spirits.
We’re meant to walk after our spirit. We’re meant to follow the Spirit of God dwelling in our spirit with immense care and respect. We’re meant to walk always after our spirits. Now, it might be good just to look at that. Romans 8:5, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” And “according” really means “after” — “those who live after the Spirit” — and you see it again in Verse 2, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” And so God intends us to walk after our spirits and to treat it with respect.
Now loved ones every time you walk after your spirit your life is filled with peace, and joy, and confidence. Every time you walk after the flesh it’s filled with confusion. And this is especially true in this realm of intuition. There are two ways to know what to do. One way is to use your mind to size up the situation and that’s often what God intends us to do. You go on to a used car lot to buy a car, and God intends you to use your eyes, and use your mind, and size up how much rust is under that car. So often God intends you to use your mind to sort out things.
You see how you do it, you use your eyes to gather information to yourself, you use your ears to listen to the things the guy is saying, and then you bring all of that into your mind and you
analyze it in your mind. And God intends us to solve many issues like that. Many of us in our jobs need to operate that way, that’s the way God planned. But, there are other times — particularly in regard to guidance in our lives, and particularly in regard to actions which aren’t absolutely clear to us by what we see and what we hear — there are times when God intends us to go by the intuition of our spirits.
That means you sense from within what God wants you to do. You don’t know how you sense it, you just sense it. By intuition you know, “Yes, this is what I’m to do.” Often, you don’t understand why you’ve to do it but you just know by intuition, “Yes, God wants me to do that, there’s no doubt.” It’s not because you’ve gathered all kinds of information, it’s not because your mind has analyzed the whole situation, it’s often because, “No, I know this is the thing to do.” Now, that’s intuition. That’s what we’re talking about. We’re talking about God dealing with you directly in your spirit and guiding you as to what you should do and that’s the way the Father wants you to operate.
Loved ones, I would say if you say, “Well, when do you do that and when do you not?” I would say normally you should always approach God first on the basis of the truth of intuition. In other words, if you’re sick, it’s always right to go to God and say, “Lord, will you give me a clear confidence about whether I should go to a doctor here or whether I should just trust for direct healing through faith by Calvary’s power?” Usually, it’s best to go immediately go God and then he can guide you as to whether he’s going to do it this way or that way.
There are other situations that are dead obvious. If you look at the dishes in the sink, you don’t need too much intuition to know that unless you’re going to throw them out and buy new ones, you have to wash them. It’s the same with stuff that the boss gives you to type. You don’t have to look at it and say, “Lord, will you give me intuition as to whether I should type this or not?” It’s obvious you should do it.
But, you know there are many issues in regard to guidance and there are many other decisions that you make about vacations, about purchasing a car, about buying a home, about striking up a relationship or a friendship, there are many issues like that that you’re not sure of. And indeed, the more you analyze them the more confusing it becomes. Usually loved ones, when you have confusion in your mind about something it’s an indication that you’re tackling it by the power of your soul instead of by the power of your spirit and intuition. So that is some guidance.
When you’re in a situation where, “Well, I don’t know whether I should buy this one, or I don’t know whether I should buy that one. I don’t know whether I should do this in regard to this person or do that in regard to this person. I don’t know whether I should go here and work or go there and work.” Usually, God is gently saying to you, “Just stop, just stop. If you carry on in that chaos you’re going to make a mistake. Just stop and do what the apostles did in Acts 13.” And you’ll see it there, Acts 13, it’s a verse that we’ve looked at before. They were faced with evangelizing a whole world and you can see in Verse 2 what they did, “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them. Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.’”
They didn’t get down and worry about it. They didn’t have a big debate, “Now, how are we going to evangelize this world? How are we going to deal with all the continents? How are we going to deal with the Romans?” They didn’t do that. They got before God, they in a sense forgot the problem, and they concentrated on worshiping and praising God, and on loving him and in coming into peace in
their own hearts. And then the Holy Spirit was able to speak to them.
Now loved ones, that’s vital in order to begin to exercise your spirit and intuition. That is, it’s vital to come into peace and to come into separation from chaos. Now, you remember there’s an example that is very vivid of that in the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 19:11. And it’s just a vivid illustration in a physical form that God so often gives us in the Old Testament of really what is a spiritual experience. 1 Kings 19, and you remember Verse 11, and Elijah of course did not know what to do, “And he said, ‘Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD.’ And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.”
And however dear that phrase of course is to all of us — “a still small voice” — the truth is that the Hebrew means “a sound of gentle stillness”, so after the fire a sound of gentle stillness. Now, in order to begin to receive direction through the intuition of your spirit, you have to come to the place where you’re dead to the earthquakes, and dead to the winds, and dead to the fire, and you’ve come before God in praise and love so that there comes inside you a sound of gentle stillness.
God always guides you through the intuition of your spirit when you’re quiet. Not just quiet with this tongue, but quiet inside. When you’re no longer filled with the passion that you feel for that girl; when you’re no longer filled with all that excitement about, “How great it will be to go on this vacation,” or, “How great it will be to go across to Europe.” When you’re no longer filled with all this excitement for, “Boy this will be a great job and I’d rather have that job than that job,” when you come to absolute peace and you come to the place which Paul was in when he said, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am to be content; whether to be full or to be empty.” (cid:9)
Now, could I just say another word about that? It doesn’t mean you get down, and you do a little bit of worshipping, and a little bit of praising, and then you say, “Okay, I’m worshipping and praising the Lord. Now, I wonder what he’ll do about that girl?” Or, “I wonder what he’ll do about that job?” Do you see that worshipping and praising the Lord is coming to the place where Thomas was when he suddenly was presented with Jesus alive and saying, “Here, put your finger into the hole in my hands, and into the hole in my sides,” and Thomas was struck dumb and simply had to say, “My Lord and my God.”
That’s when you’re worshipping and praising the Lord, when you’re utterly preoccupied with God, utterly taken up with Jesus. When you’re so taken up with him that you’ve forgotten the problem, you’ve forgotten all the issues that you have to decide, and then there comes a sound of gentle stillness and out of that quietness of heart God guides you. I could tell you from my own experience, and others could tell you from their experience, that you move in God’s way always from a quiet heart. Really, loved ones. You’ll never move in God’s way from a noisy heart. The only way you’ll ever get God’s mind on things, the only way you can ever be sure you’re moving according to God’s direction, is if you’re moving from a quiet heart — when you’ve come to a place of real peace in regard to him.
And of course, you can see that means a place where you’re really baptized with the Spirit. That’s what it means. It means a place where you’re utterly given over to Jesus, where his will is the only will you care about, where you’ve at last come to a place where you will not move unless the
(cid:9) Ark of the Covenant moves. Where you care more about pleasing Jesus than about being married, you care more about pleasing Jesus than having a good job, you care more about pleasing Jesus than being happy and satisfied yourself.
Honestly loved ones, unless you come to that place where you’re baptized with the Holy Spirit and where your whole heart loves Jesus above everything else and you’re utterly satisfied with him, you can never come to a place in prayer of quietness; you can’t. I know it so well myself because when you’re trying to get into quietness the fire of desire for that person is burning you up, or the earthquake of what these people are trying to do to you in your professional life is shaking you to bits. You’re so taken up with the things that are coming in from the outside that you cannot get peace. And you see the only way to come into peace is where you have been crucified to the world and the world has been crucified to you– where in fact you have died to the world.
And you know many of us kind of smile a wee bit at the old Catholic monastics — but really, whether you go into a monastery and wall yourself off from the world or not, you do have to come to the same place of separation from what the world can do to you as they, many of them, have come to. It is a real place of crucifixion to the world and the world being crucified to you. Otherwise, you’ll never be free to hear God’s voice.
I just remember, old Pascal the French scientist who said, “God is a hidden God and reveals himself only to those who seek him with all their heart.” And I think many of us think, “Oh God will kind of blast in on me if I give him a little bit of my time and if I give him some respect.” No, he won’t. God will only give you his mind if you cannot live without his mind, if you are utterly preoccupied with him, and if he is really your Lord and your God. Then you can begin to experience intuition in your spirit.
That is, of course, the way the disciples themselves moved, you remember. If you look at Acts 16, you see that that’s the way they carried out the missionary journeys. It’s Acts 16:6, “And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.” Not you see, because they looked over at Asia and they thought, “No, that doesn’t look good.” Not because they looked over and analyzed the situation with their mind — but the Holy Spirit forbade them in the intuition of their own spirits. “And when they had come opposite Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.” So they didn’t look at Bithynia and say, “No, that doesn’t look good.” The Spirit of Jesus within them directed them not to move there.
Now, you and I often find our lives lacking in prosperity, spiritually we find our ministry having no fruit, because we’re moving all the time by the judgment of our own minds. We’re all the time sizing a person up, seeing he was at church four times so he’s probably quite interested, he heard this, and this, and this, he’s read that book and this book so I think I’ll go in on that angle. Now, that’s a natural mess; you’re not dealing with the spirit at all. You’re using your mind to try to work out things that your mind cannot touch at all. God knows where that person is in his spirit and He, through his Holy Spirit, can give you that knowledge and can give you that direction through your intuition. But, He alone can do that.
I think so often of marriage, it’s such a good example because it’s hard for those of you who are not married to believe it, but those of us who are married know it too well, that you have no idea what that person is going to be like in 16 years. You haven’t. You haven’t a clue what that person is going to be like, you just don’t know. And many of us wish we had known but you don’t know, you
just cannot tell, loved ones. You can look at a girl, or look at a guy and you can think you know them. I remember my wife and I thinking, oh we knew each other so well. We always think we all know each other better than anybody else does, don’t we? And that’s why we’re sure our marriage is going to be better.
And we thought, “Oh, we know each other so well.” And we use our minds, and we think, and we analyze, “Oh we’re sure we know each other thoroughly.” We hadn’t a clue about each other. We had no idea how we’d develop in the future years. And I was really joking when I said, “We wish we’d known.” Because we wished we’d known in the sense that we didn’t realize there were precious things in each other that were going to help us and there were other real obstinate things that were going to drive us deeper into Jesus. But God knows that.
God alone knows that. No computer knows that. No human mind knows that but, God knows. And I don’t know about those of you that are married, but I do thank God that he guided us by our intuition when we didn’t even know the word. He guided us by our intuition to each other at a time when we didn’t know how we’d end up or turn out at all. And so loved ones, it’s the same with jobs. You have no idea what your job will be like, you have no idea whether it’s suitable for you or whether it will be suitable in the future, or whether it’s even God’s will for you in the future. God alone knows those things.
The jobs often that look the most unattractive and most unpleasant are often the best for you. God knows that, he is after your heart, he is not after the function that your hands can perform in this world. He is after your heart and he knows the job that will prepare you for himself and only through the intuition of your spirit can you ever know that. So there comes a time for all of us when we really have to turn away from ACT tests and all the other tests and we have to turn away from all the things that the counselors say, and by all means it’s useful information, but there comes a time when we have to just get before God and come to the place where we want his will for our lives more than anything else.
And maybe that’s the heart of experiencing the intuition of your spirit. It’s a matter of coming to the place where you care more about what God wants for you than about what you want for yourself. And I know many of you just think, “Oh, death to self.” Loved ones, to those of us who have come through it’s a precious, precious salvation that never grows old. I mean, you must admit it has never grown old for me. I’m boring; I keep at it so often because it’s precious to me, it’s dear. It’s the key to everything. Unless you die to what you want for yourself you’ll never find God’s will. The Bible is so strong about it: “the mind of the flesh is enmity against God. It does not submit to God’s will, indeed, it cannot.” The mind of the flesh can never know God’s will. Only the spirit, controlled by his Holy Spirit, can know what God wants for you.
Now, you find that in 1 Corinthians 2:10, “God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit,” capital S you see, “Searches everything, even the depths of God. For what person knows a man’s thoughts except the spirit,” small s, the human spirit, “of the man which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.” So you see, Verse 11B, “So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” And then, “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God.”
And the only way of course to receive God’s Spirit is to obey him. God gives the Holy Spirit to
those who obey him. So only when you care more about obeying God than about having your own way, only when you’ve died to your own way completely will you ever be in a position to receive direction from the Holy Spirit. I think this is what happens to many of us. I think we come to a place of New Birth where we do honestly repent of our sins. We know we don’t know God, and we know our spirits are dead, and we know we’re going to hell and we truly repent of our sins, and we give our lives to Jesus and ask him to come into our lives and make us alive and make us children of God.
And the Holy Spirit takes us at his word because of one vital principle: “be it unto you according to your faith”. And so the Holy Spirit comes within our spirits and makes us alive to God. And the Holy Spirit begins to try to bring about intuition in our spirits. But we ourselves are not prepared to live by that spirit, we’re not. We’re not prepared to be dictated to by this Holy Spirit except when it suits us. And so what we sink into is the old up and down life of the defeated Christian who listens to the Holy Spirit when it’s convenient for them but when he’s faced, as Peter was, with a little maid saying in front of everybody, “Aren’t you one of the Galileans?” And the Holy Spirit is saying, “Say yes, confess your Lord before men and he will confess you before his Father in heaven.” But Peter keeps his mouth shut.
And when she says again, “You are one of the Galileans because you have the same accent.” He says, “No, I’m not.” And so Peter finds himself in the position that many of us do where we obey the Holy Spirit when it’s convenient but when it’s inconvenient and it’s going to cost us loss of image or reputation before our friends we keep quiet. Similarly, we obey him when we feel like getting up in the morning and obeying him. But when we feel tired, and lazy, we just don’t obey him. When the Holy Spirit tells us to go and speak to somebody and it’s convenient for us to do it we do it but, when he tells us to speak to somebody and we’re rather involved in some other person whose friendship we’re trying to cultivate, then we don’t do it.
So what happens is we come into a double minded life. Then you can see the guidance becomes very vague because at times the Holy Spirit gets through to us but more and more he’s unable to get through to us and we listen to our own spirits. At times we listen to evil spirits when we’re disobeying God and so our life becomes a mixed life. And of course, the only way out of that is to come to a place where you see not only that Jesus died for you but that you died with Jesus. And were you really willing to die with him? And you’re really willing to say, “Lord I’m content to have no one else but you. I’m content to receive no comfort but what God gave you. I’m prepared to see no approbation but what God gave you. Lord Jesus, I come into you and abide with you continually and forever and whatever you want me to do that’s good enough for me.”
Then the Holy Spirit fills your spirit. Displaces the self in your spirit and fills your spirit with himself. Loved ones, only then are you able to begin to receive some constant guidance from the Holy Spirit. Now, you may say, “Well, how does he guide?” Well, the answer you’ll find in 1 John 2:20 and we’ll just get started with the study this evening loved ones, it’s going to take several evenings on intuition because we ought to deal with that. 1 John 2:20, “But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all know.” And Verse 27, “But the anointing which you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that any one should teach you; as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in him.”
First of all it’s because of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Anointing means applying ointment. You apply ointment to soothe your body, that’s the way the Holy Spirit guides you. He soothes you into God’s will. He does not act abruptly. Satan speaks suddenly. Satan throws impulses into your mind or into your spirit suddenly that you weren’t expecting; the Holy Spirit doesn’t. The Holy
Spirit anoints you, he applies ointment and he soothes you gently into God’s will for you so that you move gently and consistently and your life moves in a certain direction and opens out more and more as you move on in that direction. The Holy Spirit does not guide you in that direction, guide you in that other direction, guide you in yet another direction. If he has you going in that direction and he wants you in that other one, he gently guides you around, he gently soothes you around.
So it’s important for you first of all to see that being guided by intuition in your spirit is not this sudden abrupt stuff. Usually, when you experience inexplicable impulses within that you cannot understand, usually those are from one person and it is not from God. Usually those are either from Satan or from the strong urges of your own body and your own emotions. But when the Holy Spirit guides you, it’s a gentle consistent thing and I think you can see that in the life of anybody that you trust. You see a consistency in their life. You don’t see them moving this way, that way, that way; you see them moving in a set direction and it opens out more and more as their lives go on.
So first of all, the guidance of the Holy Spirit through intuition is a gentle soothing, gradual, directing. Secondly, do you see the words that God uses in Verse 27, “But the anointing which you received from him abides in you,” stays with you, rests in you, “And you have no need that any one should teach you; as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in him.” Only as long as you abide in Jesus. It’s only as long, loved ones, as your eyes are filled with him, it really is.
When your eyes get on to other people and other things and they become dearer to you than Jesus you lose that anointing and you lose a sense of direction. It doesn’t matter what it is. Many of us are involved in jobs that occupy us fully and completely and we have to give our minds to it at certain times absolutely, that’s good to be able to apply your mind to a thing fully when it’s needed. But then it’s vital to be able to withdraw from the job and to see the job is not everything to me. When you’re obsessed by something other than Jesus you’re in a position where you will not experience the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
If you’re obsessed with your job, or you’re obsessed with your financial problems, or you’re obsessed with a personal relationship, you will hear nothing of the Holy Spirit’s guidance. You won’t. The Holy Spirit can only guide where there is real peace. You remember, there’s a song that we sing about the dew on Mount Hermon. And really if you go into the song further and into that Psalm that it comes from (Psalm 133:3), you’ll find that the dew on Mount Hermon is likened to the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is likened to dew. And dew of course settles only on plants that are absolutely still. When there’s absolute stillness then the dew comes down. When there is no wind the dew comes down.
Now, that’s when the Holy Spirit rests upon you. When there’s a quietness within your heart. Now of course, you loved ones know, there can be no quietness in your heart if your heart is going out after something. You know that. I mean, we all know it. From the first boyfriend, the first girlfriend we had, from the first motorbike we ever got, from the first excitement we ever had in life, we all know that if your heart is going out after something other than Jesus there’s no stillness, there’s no quietness within, there’s no peace. And of course, where there isn’t quietness, the Holy Spirit cannot dwell.
You know, I can’t make you do these things but I can tell you that your life will be chaotic and will have little order in it if you live other than by the intuition of your spirits. I mean, when
you look out on Christendom, really loved ones you have to be honest, there are thousands of us that are just involved in self justification, we are. We’re not really giving to God alone, we don’t really care for his will above everything else, we’re not really ready to go to Africa if he wants us to. We really enjoy some of the comforts that you get from believing in a God but we’re really not given over to him completely and we don’t really have a deep confidence that our life is going in God’s direction. We just say, “Oh yeah, yeah I believe the Lord’s leading me in this. I’m glad that I can have everything that I want while he leads me. But, I believe he is leading me.”
And hundreds and thousands of us in Christendom are involved in a great bluff, we’re just justifying ourselves like mad. We have no inner assurance that, “Sure, I know this is the way God wants me to go.” And of course we help one another you know, and we comfort one another and we say, “Well, you can’t know can you?” Well, you can’t know in your mind, you can never know anything for certain in your mind. I don’t know how to prove it mathematically but I believe you can’t even know that one and one is two. I believe that isn’t even sure.
See, you can’t know anything for certain in your mind, you can only know in your spirit. It’s only in your spirit that you can know for sure. Your mind understands but your spirit knows. The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. We know by our spirits and it’s only in there that you can really and truly know. Loved ones, if you don’t have that certainty, you’ll be involved in that half and half so-called Christian life that is primarily self justification and primarily concerned with trying to grab at experiences and say, “Oh yeah, what you experienced I experienced. Yeah well, not quite as fully as she did but you know, kind of that thing.” And we’re always trying to prove to ourselves that, “Yeah, that’s what we’re feeling.”
Well of course the truth is when you let God be God and when you treat him as your real God and treat him as the be all and end all of your life and as your dear Father whom you would die for if necessary, then there comes a quietness in your heart, and a peace, and a separation from all that people can do to you from without and you begin to come to a place where you can experience real intuition in your spirit.
Now, maybe I should pause for a minute. Are there questions anybody? We will be spending three or four Sundays on this subject — so unless the question is just bubbling out of you, there might be wisdom in waiting. I’ll just give you a few verses then that you can look up at home loved ones, or we can look at one of them now just to clarify. It’s Mark 2:8, this is the intuition of our spirits, you see. Mark 2:8, “And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, ‘Why do you question thus in your hearts?’” And next Sunday I’d like to talk about the place this has in discerning where other people are — but that’s an example of intuition.
You see, “Jesus, perceiving in his spirit”. You see you can rejoice in your emotions, you can understand in your mind, you can will with your will, but you can do all those things in your spirit. You can rejoice in your spirit. You remember in the Magnificat it says, “My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior and my soul as a result of that magnifies the Lord.” But it’s because my spirit has rejoiced. So you can experience a whole life of rejoicing, and perception, and knowing, and grieving in your spirit. And of course, that’s where intuition takes place.
Question from audience:
What if you’re worried about some problem and it’s difficult to be quiet in your mind? What can you
do at that moment when you’re trying to pray?
Reply from Rev. O’Neill:
Well, I could share John from my own experience that several times I have found myself preoccupied in my mind. For example, the trade unions are picketing the townhouses that we are building for the church. Now, sooner or later I knew we’d have to fight the whole union movement but I was hoping it would stay that way as long as possible. But, of course, we aren’t union and we feel we ought not to put ourselves under a world authority in that way. So things like that happen, they picket the townhouses and there’s confrontation and some solution has to be found. And so it is very easy for any of us to begin to wonder, “Well, what should you do? What should you do?”
And I went to the Father and said, “Lord, I know that you have a place of peace for us in the midst of unsolved problems like this with which we just have to live.” And there are going to be hundreds of them in our life together as a body and in our individual lives. Often loved ones, you’re going to have unsolved problems that you have to live with. And I went before the Father and said, “Lord I know there is a place of absolute peace where you want me to be.” And I think if you do that John, if you go before God and you look to him and you remember the things that he has said in scripture, it seems to me he always comes through with an answer.
And of course he was clear in his answer to me that satisfied me and may not satisfy anybody else here, but it satisfied me, “That everything that comes to you has been lovingly filtered through my fingers to strengthen your trust and your confidence in me. And there isn’t a thing that comes, particularly the things that you can’t understand or you can’t tackle, that is not put there to strengthen your ability to look away from those things and trust that I am in control and trust that nobody can do anything to you that I will not let them do.”
And so it seems to me again we have to look to the Father and come to a place where we are able to turn from the situation. And so I was able to turn absolutely from that situation and say, “Of course Lord. I thank you that everything, particularly the things that are unpleasant that come into my life are just arranged by you — not created by you, but arranged by you — so that I will be given an opportunity to trust your ability to work this according to your will and to hand the whole thing over to you.” And so it seems John that you do have to, by one means or another, come into a place where you acknowledge that God is God and you acknowledge that there is nothing in this world that is not just a pinprick to him.
There is nothing in this world, even a tornado, or an earthquake, or a whole nation, or the whole world itself that is not as small as the head of a pin to him. And that he has absolute control to govern, and control, and restrain, and to give you grace to face it in absolute peace. So what I saw was it is God’s will for us to dwell in absolute peace in every situation. And I remember, when I was in the same situation as Scott was with his dad, and I remember because it was St. Patrick’s Day when my dad died, and I remembered in that situation when a dear one is breathing his last and there is that rattle in the throat and all the sounds of pain, it is very vital that you are able to dwell in peace and God in that moment. Not because of an insensitivity to the dearest person in your life but because of your confidence that God is working out his will in that situation and the person is now in his hands and you’ve to leave it in his hands.
In other words I think many of us want to be God. We will not, but we will not, but we will not take our hands off the thing, we won’t. God is saying, “Give me it. Give me it.” We’re saying,
“No, no I want it.” He’s saying, “Give me it. Give me it. I’ll take it.” We say, “No, no, I know how to hold it. Yeah well you can hold that bit of it. No, but no.” And really John, where Satan gets hold of us is it’s not that we don’t believe God would take care of it, it’s because we don’t believe he would take care of it the way we want him to and that’s the heart of it. We want to be God. We want it to work out the way we want it to work out.
When we come to the place where we’re happy if the unions destroy us completely, where we’re happy if this whole thing falls apart, “Lord there is nothing precious that we absolutely need but you.” When you come to that place loved ones, there’s peace. There’s peace because you can lose your house, you can lose your money, you can lose your job, you can lose your friends, you can lose your relatives, you can lose your life but if you have God you have everything. When you come to that place then there’s peace in every situation. I really do believe John that that’s the only place where constant intuition is possible. Otherwise, we’re always at the mercy of external circumstances and external events.
So loved ones, there is a place of quiet rest near to the heart of God. A place where sin cannot molest near to the heart of God. And it is for each one of us and apart from that place there is no certainty, there isn’t. We’re a bundle of poor little birds on an ocean storm of life, you know. But there is a cleft in the rock where it’s possible to dwell.
And it’s so good, you remember that painter who was asked to paint a picture that would show absolute peace. And you remember how he drew a kind of rural scene with cows grazing and all that kind of thing and then tore it up and did another one of a quiet placid lake with a mirror like surface and tore it up. And then at last he produced one that he was absolutely satisfied with and it was a picture of a tremendous storm at sea and mighty cliffs on which the waves were breaking, and then there was a little cleft in the rocks and there was a little bird sitting quietly in the peace and quiet there. And that he said was real peace, it was peace that existed even despite all the storms around and the chaos. And that’s the only peace that really counts.
We cannot pray to be taken from this world but to be in this world knowing that God finally is the only one we need. The interesting thing is that’s the only One you have because each one of us here is going to come to a place where we are finally alone. Loved ones, honestly I’ve often been at death beds – I think I’ve been as close not only to my own relatives but to others as a person could get to another person dying and that’s lonely. There is no one with you on the deathbed, no one. No one can be where you are. The dearest one who kisses you and puts their arms around you at that moment of death is miles away from where you are.
Everyone that dies really dies alone even if they’re surrounded by family and friends. There is only one person that can be with you at that moment. And so it is true we brought nothing into this world and we’ll take nothing out so at the end of the day you have only God and it’s lies and deception when we spoil our lives by our dependence on all kinds of other people and other things. And those are the very things that prevent us getting clear guidance from God. And so I pray that the Holy Spirit will show you these things because he alone can do it really.
We can share with each other and help each other but at the end of the day you have to go to your dear Father, because he’s personally yours. He knows you like nobody else and he will answer you if you go to him. He will. He will explain these things to you in a way that you’ll understand the same way that he explained them to me. He will. He’s there in your bedroom tonight waiting for you. All he needs is actually not lengthy prayer; he needs a single will, a person who puts God
first in his life.
Let us pray. Dear Holy Spirit we would thank you that you are real and alive and that you can show us these things at a level that is deeper than our minds and our emotions and we would ask you to do that. We know that you know the mind of God and Holy Spirit we know that you can reveal that mind to any of us who are ready to let God be God in our lives. And Holy Spirit we would ask you to lead us into a quiet heart where we can sense the sound of gentle stillness and where our lives can begin to take on the order that comes from being directed by the one significant other in the universe even our dear Father. Now the grace of our Lord Jesus, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with each one of us now and throughout this coming week. Amen.