A young couple have in their hearts to build a camp for church retreats, rest for pastors, and 'revival' meetings. They visit a property and immediately their hearts are stirred, and they believe God is showing them what could be: Over there across the creek will be a bonfire and picnic area, along the other side will be cabins and trails making their way down to the central barn and conference area in the clearing....they can see it all in their mind's eye and believe in their hearts that is God showing them the vision for the camp.
Believing the Lord is leading them to buy that property they do so at great personal expense but from a business point of view, under funded. With their own money they build the barn where they can have meetings, waiting for the Lord to give them money to complete the vision.
A few years of hard work go by but there is little progress. They've reached out to local pastors offering their camp to the local churches, but no one schedules retreats or conferences with them. They are burdened with constant financial strain, volunteers and caretakers and laborers who have come and gone, and in their hearts they wonder if they missed it. But on the outside they still share the vision of the camp to any who will hear. Oh, they've had some 'revival' meetings over in the 'barn', but nothing close to what they had thought God had put on their hearts. Soon a combination of age, illness, and lack of funds forces them to sell, leaving them wondering how they failed God, where they went wrong.
Their spirit or the Holy Spirit?
Perhaps they had heard from the Lord, but in this hypothetical case they were stirred in their own spirits, which is alive with the life of God so they could see the possibilities of the property in their spirit-man. They took the possibilities they saw in their hearts to mean God was telling them to buy and build. It all felt right in their spirits, it 'bore witness' they were to do so. But if it was God, why didn't it happen?
The hard truth is this with our make believe couple: It was their own hearts and not the Lord and I'll explain how and why in this series. But because they were doing it unto Him, He helped where He could, but He wasn't in the overall vision. The Life in their spirits is full of creativity, but it was descriptive, not prescriptive. In other words, the Life of God in their spirits described what could be, but it wasn't God prescribing a course of action.
It is this difference between the born again human spirit that can see the possibilities of what could be, and the Holy Spirit actually telling a person to do thus and so, where people miss it. Very often like this make believe couple above, they make decisions from their own heart but believe it is from God's heart.
How the human spirit works in these things
The fact is we are eternal beings, recreated in our spirit by the Holy Spirit, so we can see Life in about any situation, any task, each according to the grace and gifts given us. Let's say this couple above has a gift from God for new projects. In the past they have helped churches start, or helped build a new sanctuary. On short term mission trips they've been stirred by starting an orphanage or building a new church or digging a new well. That is their gift to start things and because that gift is from God, that gift has Life in every aspect. Whatever new thing is before them, that God-given creativity and Life explodes within them with vision and possibilities. But usually what they see as possible is descriptive, not prescriptive.
If a person is a musician and has on their heart to build a recording studio and offer up-and-coming Christian musicians a place to record and learn, that gift has all the Life of God in it so they immediately see in their spirit all that recording studio could be - maybe in the country with some land around it for example. Maybe in a city with apartments above and a Christian coffee shop on the ground floor...because their gifts are from God revelation and Life flow through those particular gifts. God's creativity will explode within them of what could be - but none of that means God is telling them to do what could be.
The new job
A person starts a new job and very quickly they see what that department could be. They believe the Lord is showing them what could be, and how they will be part of moving that department forward. But every effort is stopped, and they even get reprimanded by the boss, though they think they are trying to move the office forward in God's plan.
Soon this person alerts friends to pray, to rebuke the devil who is trying to keep the office from moving forward in God's plan. The boss must change or be removed they believe. But the truth is this: They perceived what could be in their own spirit, in their own heart, because they have gifts for that kind of work and administration and organization. And truly God could move the office in that direction. But what they perceive in their spirit does not mean God is telling them to be the one to make it happen. They have confused something perceived in their heart of what could be, turning what could be into a mandate from God to make it happen. They took something descriptive to be prescriptive.
The prospective spouse
A man and woman begin dating and spiritually they are on the same spiritual page. They love each other's spirits, their heart, their love of God. But physically there isn't much attraction, and in their soul and life experience, each has baggage that hinders them at every step as they try to get to know one another.
Still, because they are on the same page spiritually they think it must be God. Flash forward a few years and their marriage is a mess. They don't know how they could have fooled themselves into thinking they were in love.
This hypothetical couple fell in love with each other's spirits, but didn't love each other's souls. They had little in common, saw the world not just differently, but from opposite and conflicting directions. Physically there never was any real attraction, but they got married thinking because they were right spiritually, it would work out. She thought she could change him or God would. He thought he could change her or God would - or they could learn to live with their differences.
All along the way they told people God brought their spouse to them, they told people God told them to get married, that God had great plans for them...but it wasn't God. They had taken a love in their spirit for another person's spirit, and turned it into a marriage that was not supposed to be. Still, He would help them if they were open to Him, but He didn't ever plan on them getting married to each other.
This series is about distinguishing between the human spirit and the Holy Spirit. Jeremiah faced a man who thought he had a prophetic word for the nation, but he was prophesying out of his own heart and soul, emotionally involved because he loved his country. But what he said was God, wasn't. It was just his own heart. The Lord spent time explaining to Jeremiah the difference between one's own heart and when God speaks - and we will pick it up there next week. Until then, blessings,
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