Second Level: Affecting The Inner Voice
After a long period of time of doing this, you may start sensing your "inner voice" seeming to take on a life of its own and taking the initiative to "talk" to you on occasion. Mind you, your heart "talks" to you already in a continuous stream of mental words that some psychologists call your "inner voice," "mental voice," or "self-talk". It may talk positively, though if you are a struggling Christian, it will be negative most of the time. This "voice" is the heart attempting to talk to the Inner Man, and will sometimes be accompanied by thoughts being co-generated by the Holy Spirit that would initially use a similar tone of "voice".
Like anyone who speaks and claims to be talking on behalf of God, such speech must first be tested against the Scriptures. We are urged not to swallow all the things this "thought voice" tells us, but not to reject all of them either. We are urged to "Judge not according to appearance, but Judge with righteous judgment," (John 7:24) and to test everything while not quenching the Spirit nor despising prophecy (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21). Given that the voice you "hear" will be generated by both the heart and the Spirit, we must reject the extremes of gullibility and ultra-skepticism to walk the middle line of "trust but verify" while slightly favoring the "verify" side of the road.
It is here that the process gets a bit tricky, challenging, and thus more interesting and potentially rewarding: just as in geometry we use the axioms to prove a first layer of geometric proofs, and the first layer of proofs to prove a second layer, so we use our ordinary reasoning processes on the scriptures to establish the veracity of the first level of this protocol (or debug it). In turn, we then use our mastery at the first level of this protocol, in addition to the scriptures, to establish the veracity of this second level (or debug it). More specifically, if we are experienced in interpreting scripture and getting sensitive to the Spirit giving us "clues and cues" in the forme of Blue Lights, we should be able to use these abilities to confirm or question everything the Inner Voice tells us while claiming to be the Spirit.
The necessity of validating the second level is due to the fact of "co-generation": While you can only hear one "inner voice" at a time, who is generating that "inner voice" will alternate between the Holy Spirit and the natural human heart. If the message seems to alternate between two positions, its a sure sign of the natural conflict between the human Heart and the Holy Spirit. In Galatians 5:16-18, Paul describes this conflict as the flesh lusting against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh, but assures us that we are still under the Holy Spirit's leading when such a conflict leads us to inaction born of reasonable indecision. That is, we are not to feel that we have sinned or are sinful having a heart that suggests thoughts contrary to the Spirit, or which cannot help but receive temptations from the Devil.
How this works is the mutual commitment by ourselves and the Holy Spirit to cooperate, within our spheres, to the task of being led by the Spirit unto all truth. It is up to us to make sure we are following the Holy Spirit, but it is also up to the Holy Spirit to ensure that He can be "seen" by us. Since the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, He will know when we are not following Him. Thus, in the process of sincerely trying to follow the Spirit of Truth we become victims of someone faking that Spirit, then the Spirit of truth will then attempt to lead us to the truth about that someone faking His work. One of my pet peeves are people who say "Follow me!" when they hop into a car, but subsequently drive as if they are NOT the leader or have NO followers! A leader does not have the obligation to make an inherently difficult path easy to navigate, but he does have the obligation to make himself easily followable. Suffice it to say, when *I* say "Follow me!" when I hop into a car, I pay attention to matters like driving through a light and pulling over when it turns red behind me, using my turn signals, driving at the legal speed, and checking the rear-view mirror for followers. A "God" who doesn't realize that the people following him are lost cannot claim Omniscience.
Tips, Pointers, and Cautions Regarding The Inner Voice
Eschew haste. We are trying to figure out what is biblical and life truth here, where we have plenty of time to get our evaluation correct, not figure out how to get out of a burning building. The reason why con-artists make "incredible, once-in-a-life-time opportunities" appear to be ready to vanish in 24 hours or less is that time spent by potential victims thinking about the upsides and downsides of this "incredible deal!" is time that the money of the victims stays in their own pockets instead of moving into, and staying in, the cons' pockets. Demons and the carnal heart are no different.
Be sure to distinguish between biblical truths and religious doctrines. Ideally, the doctrines should be founded on biblical truths, but there is such a thing as false doctrine. These doctrines take on the form of "blinders" or "glasses" that filter how those who hold them understand (and even read!) the scriptures that support them or refute them. If our understanding is false or deficient, you can count on the fact that the Spirit of Truth Who leads us to all Truth will have to address that falsehood/deficiency sooner or later, AND on the fact that such correction will appear to be heretical. And trust me, there are people out there who sincerely believe and promulgate untruths who can make those opposing them look like heretics. While the negative scriptural "blue lights" help flag most erroneous doctrines, others are so subtly wrong that the Holy Spirit using the Inner Voice will be required to flag where the pitfalls, traps, misconceptions, and preassumptions lie and point the way out of the mess.
Do not expect to have stuff handed to you "on a platter"! One sure way to distinguish between the carnal heart controlling the Inner Voice and the Holy Spirit is that the former will attempt to stop any inquiry or imply that it is useless or pointless, while the Latter, while varing the methodology, will lead. There are benefits in the journey as well as at the final destination, and the Holy Spirit is attempting to ensure you encounter them and profit from them. "Socratic" dialogues should be expected as the norm rather than the exception.
There may be times when the Inner Voice is accompanied by a strong emotion, such as guilt, conviction, hope, hopelessness, or faith. Generally speaking, feelings of conviction or guilt where they are accompanied by the Inner Voice identifying a questionable (or outright sinful) practice, is a good indicator that the Voice, and emotion, is correct. However, a feeling of hopelessness is definitely demonic, as is feeling guilt without the identification of a specific sin. One must trust the inherent economy, and compassion, of a Spirit who built a universe based on conservation laws, and thus will not expend effort bringing conviction upon someone whose positive response to it would be rejected outright or who cannot follow through on that positive response. This is another reason why the Spirit will not impose a 'blue light' or conviction on someone whose mental context is not amenable to considering it: the context is usually being generated by a Pastor, an Evangelist, or a religious book that will present Jesus Christ and trust in him as the proper response to conviction. In other words, conviction will nver come apart from the presence of someone or something that will explain the origin of the conviction and point the way to Jesus Christ. At the end of 1 Corinthians 13, Paul names the big three: Faith, Hope, and Love. He rightly points out that the greatest of them is Love, and the importance of Faith is well established. However, "Hope" is sometimes forgotten when it never should be: A man under conviction and without hope is Judas looking for a rope to hang himself. In such situations, the better strategy to follow is that of Peter who, while probably too scared to kill himself like Judas, did nothing drastic until Jesus was raised again from the dead and was able to rescue him.
There will be times when the Inner Voice will ask you to do something that you are uncomfortable with, but you cannot positively identify as sinful or unhelpful. Never proceed in the absence of faith or in the presence of doubt! Instead of outright dismissing it, make a sincere effort to establish the moral, ethical, and religious basis both for and against obeying it, keeping in mind that the struggle is sometimes the point of the challenge, not in the doing. Sometimes, the requests are actually the initiators for Simulations, a communications and learning protocol that I will discuss in another essay.
In the process of evaluating the message brought by the Inner Voice, the absolutely best policy to follow is to treat the Inner Voice exactly the same as you would treat any physical person making the same case! Symmetry and equality are at the core of Justice (as well as the universe!), and the purpose of God giving Solomon understanding was to correctly judge the people over whom God set him. We are familiar with injunctions against favoring the rich, but Leviticus 19:15 is often overlooked:
15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.
"Social Justice" must necessarily use the word "social" as an adjective, since the process by which those who advocate it is clearly neither just nor equitable in the ideal and proper sense. God clearly commands that a judge demonstrate equality and impartiality, so it behooves us, when considering an argument that is purportedly coming from the Holy Spirit, that it be treated respectfully, not pre-judged or pre-weighed positively or negatively. There is a benefit for doing so, that I will give below.
Growing in Level Two
One of the benefits of treating the Inner Voice that comes from the Holy Spirit the same as if it was a physical human being is that, as you mature in Level Two, you stop getting pronouncements and start getting conversations. That is, instead of getting a statement or a suggestion, you start getting rhetorical questions (and possibly responses to your own questions or responses) whose intent is not only to illuminate the subject at hand, but also illuminate the person and character of all involved. Conversation has always been the best way for people to come to know, understand, and enjoy each other, and it was for these very same purposes and with a similar intent that God met Adam and Eve in Eden during the cool of the day. Thus, it should not be surprising that the Holy Spirit will attempt to revive that pleasant custom between the two of you. Suffice it to say, pay attention to everything with as much intent and motivation that you spent courting your spouse! (It doesn't hurt that this tends to spill over into the other "forever" relationship in your life, and your spouse starts noticing!)
Another sign of maturity in level two is what I call "individuation": At the beginning, the Inner Voice will "feel" and "sound" the same as the mental inner voice you have always "heard" in your head, even though the content of what it is saying comes from the Holy Spirit. It is that similarity that makes identification difficult, obligating us to judge the veracity of the words by their content. However, after a while, the Inner Voice will seem to take on a different "timbre" and sound different and more individual. The Inner Voice in my head individuated from sounding like a cross between my father and I to sounding distinctly feminine. The moment I noticed it and remarked on it, the Holy Spirit, through the new Inner Voice, gave a rhetorical reply that led me to the conjecture that Solomon's Inner Voice "individuated" similarly, though certainly not sounding exactly the same.
As it was with maturing in level one, you will start getting conversations leading you to question certain interpretations of scripture, as well as conversations whose subjects are secular. Again, this is necessarily the case if the Holy Spirit's task is to lead us to all truth, and not just only to Spiritual truth. Obviously, the necessity of judging the content remains, and the same cautions and validation issues apply in this case as applied to maturity regarding Blue Lights. I should mention that, even though a specific conversation between you or a specific Inner Voice communications may not relate directly to Scripture, the scriptural criterion of "By their fruits you will know them" still apples.
Finally, do not assume that Blue Lights will disappear or that the necessity of doing the necessary background reading regarding the Scriptures with and without the Blue Lights and Inner Voice will go away. My experience is that all three methods continue to be used by the Holy Spirit, and that one should be prepared to listen for and heed any single one or combination of them. Remember, sometimes learning from making the journey is as important, or more important, than arriving at the destination.
I am not aware of, and do not believe that there exists, a Level Three protocol that involves the scriptures that goes beyond the Inner Voice, and I conjecture that anything beyond Level Two would involve the Spiritual gift of Prophecy as explained in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14. As mentioned at the beginning of this essay, since I have not experienced visions or prophesying, I will not comment on either of them until I have. If you get there ahead of me, Paul gave his own list of validating methodologies in those chapters that I suggest you follow to the letter. While you may come up with additional methodologies at a later date, do not depart or leave off performing the ones Paul gives, for it is extremly unlikely that any additional validation methodology you or I come up with would be valid if it contradicts one of those.
I will close by recounting an experience I had during the writing of this essay. My church started participating in a group study program called "One Month To Live", in which one is challenged to live for 30 days with the conviction that one has only "one month to live". The intent is to replicate the priority-changing re-look at ones life and values when one gets a diagnosis of terminal cancer. While I did not doubt that such a "simulation" would be useful, I was not prepared for the real-life impact when, about 10 days into the study, the online 3D world I participated in announced that they were shutting down March 9, 2010, essentially giving all the digital avatars living there literally one week to "live". People's views and values literally changed before my eyes, and one individual came up to me and apologized for not paying attention more to what I had said! It was sobering to have others come up to me and mention how devastated they would be not being able to come online with the comfort that, if there was a problem they had, they could come talk to me about it and get answers, or comfort, beyond understanding. I, for myself, am taking it calmly, having already worked out the issues related to the vanity of life in this essay (again, one of those fringe benefits that comes from being intimately joined with Someone able to remember the future.)
Thus, it should not be a surprise that, when I seriously considered the question of what I would do if I had "One Month to Live", my list was quite short. I had four issues. Two of them had to do with each of my two sons, each of which was, within days, resolved by a conversation with each that suddenly, for no "apparent" reason, became quite intimate, honest, and relieving. The third issue had to do with compiling a list of insurance policies I had made out to me that my wife would need, and had been on my to-do list for an embarassingly long time.
Unsurprisingly, the fourth had to do with the research being reported here. What would God have me do regarding this website if my ability to pursue this research program and report it would end in a month? Spend the last four weeks madly pounding out essays? How many? Which subjects?
After some prayer, and talking with the Spirit via the Inner Voice, I can say, with certainty, that only one more essay was required. If I was still around after writing that one, my subsequent essays would be gravy and save time and effort. And if I was gone after writing that one, the Spirit assured me that He could "take it from there, using that essay."
That "one more essay", is this one.
This one is the most important because, regardless of what experiences the Spirit gives to anyone, that experience cannot be duplicated in someone else until it is analyzed and the reasons for how it is initiated, behaves, and ceases, is discovered. At the end of the day, when it comes to ANY Christian experience, it will never be accepted, or understood (nor should it be!) unless a satisfactory analysis of it by the Scriptures is performed. However, such analyses are potentially flawed because they are done by fallible human beings, and are not inherently flawless just merely because they happen to use the bible as a source, or their subject matter is God: The book of Job is an example of how a group of men who knew about God came to realize that none of them knew God Himself because sincere ignorance of the truth necessarily includes ignorance of the fact of one's own ignorance! The significance of this essay lies in how it makes our key methodology for knowing what is true or not by the Scriptures more reliable and fault resistant by interacting with the One who knows all truth, and Who wrote those Scriptures in the first place.
He did it for me, is doing it for me, and He will do it for you. The key is neither me nor you, but Him.
As of the publication of this essay, I have lived less than two years in the Symbiotic lifestyle. In living it, I have come to realize that what I have learned and partly recorded in these essays is not as important as about Who I have learned while doing so! Thus, I find myself understanding completely what Paul was talking about when he said, in 2 Timothy 1:12: "...I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed unto Him against that Day."
Pg-1 Pg-2 Pg-3 Pg-4
Leave Feedback for This Page