Have you ever tried to swim in muddy water? Can you imagine trying to find your way under muddy water or locate something or someone? It is difficult to say the least! Well friend, that is precisely what getting a clear picture of the gospel is like in this 21st century world. Saints find it to be a daunting task. Therefore, they too often leave the hard work to their leaders or their pastor. Yet, the writer of John’s first letter said this. 1Jn 2:27 NLT “But you have received the Holy Spirit, and He lives within you, so you don't need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what He teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as He has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.”
So then, if this is true and it is, why are there so many differing doctrines? Some people are charismatic, and some believe that the gifts have ceased. Some people stress grace and some people stress law and obedience. Some accept women ministers and some do not. Some people stress holiness and the Lordship of Jesus and others stress grace acknowledging that we are all sinners saved by grace. How can this be? Certainly one must freely admit that the waters are muddy indeed. Each of the above mentioned positions, and many more that I have not mentioned here have adherents that believe that they are absolutely right and each of them use the scripture to prove that they are right. There is definitely some muddy water to swim in.
To continue this metaphor, it is like standing on the shore of a muddy stream and needing to navigate through the muddy water to the other side. One could say, “oh if there was but a bridge across the muddy water.” There is such a bridge. It is the anointing spoken of in John’s first epistle. It is the Holy Ghost. HOWEVER…. ONE MUST BE SURE THAT IT IS REALLY THE HOLY GHOST. What do you mean you ask? I mean that one must make sure that it is really the Holy Ghost and not a recording of religious doctrine playing in your head. You may find that the Holy Ghost will tell you something that the religious voice playing continually in your head will rebuke. In fact, when I first had my paradigm shift I would find myself rebuking the Father as he spoke to me by his Spirit. Further realize that the Father’s Spirit and the Spirit of Christ are one in the same Spirit.
So then, how can you recognize the Holy Spirit? I will give you some concrete ways to use. We are told by Paul that Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light and so do his ministers. In fact, sometimes, Christ’s ministers can be instruments of Satan in their messages. Satan is the accuser of the brethren (Rev 12:10)… in fact it says that he accuses them day and night before the Lord. That should tell us something right there. The Holy Spirit NEVER accuses the brethren. The Holy Spirit actually does the opposite. It convinces the brethren of righteousness (John 16:10.) The reason is that Jesus has gone to the Father and the Holy Spirit convinces us that we are the righteousness of God.
The Holy Spirit only produces the fruit of the Spirit. (Gal 5:22-23 NLT) But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” If you do not see love, joy and peace in a situation; it is not from God.
This understanding will go a long way toward bridging the muddy water.