Share This Episode
Insight for Living Chuck Swindoll Logo

Those Unidentified Inner Promptings, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
September 1, 2022 7:05 am

Those Unidentified Inner Promptings, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 856 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

September 1, 2022 7:05 am

Flying Closer to the Flame

Alan Wright Ministries
Alan Wright
Alan Wright Ministries
Alan Wright
Renewing Your Mind
R.C. Sproul
Baptist Bible Hour
Lasserre Bradley, Jr.
The Daily Platform
Bob Jones University

Let's say you're facing a very difficult decision, such as taking a new job in another city.

Maybe the promotion involves disrupting your family life and there's a lot of risk in what you decide to do. Well, how are we supposed to discern the will of God? Can we truly understand what He's trying to tell us?

Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll addresses these relevant questions. This is message number seven in his teaching series called Flying Closer to the Flame. Chuck titled today's message, Those Unidentified Inner Promptings. Well, in case you've forgotten, we are engaged in a fascinating study of the intimate spirit of God. We're learning how to fly closer to the flame. We're learning to be comfortable in His presence. We're learning to get a sense of closeness and oneness with Him about whom we know the least among those within the Godhead.

I say it's fascinating because we are dealing with dimensions that are seldom addressed and I really don't know why they are not addressed more often because these are experiences, as I'm going to describe them, that we have all the time. I want to talk in this particular message about those unidentified inner promptings that we seldom connect to the work of the spirit. For example, have you ever had an uneasy feeling, a churning in the pit of your stomach? Maybe you're coming to a decision and there's a fork in the road and you can go either this way or that and there's no biblical guideline to lead you one way or the other.

Both could be right. However, you know that God doesn't lead in both directions and you have to make a decision. It's interesting isn't it that when you come right to that place of decision and you think of going in that other direction, there is this churning that accompanies you and you pull back and you go in the other direction. And you look back and you realize what a difference it would have made in your life had you gone in the first way that you thought of going.

I'm leaving it vague on purpose. Now what do we call that? Well normally we give that the name of intuition. Just intuitively I knew that I shouldn't go there but I should do this and not that. Why is it we do not realize that most often it is the direct influence of the Spirit of God who works often within the feelings of our lives. Another example, you're spending time in the scriptures, you're sitting at the kitchen table, you need the truth somehow to what we call speak to you and yet no light dawns.

It seems like mere print on the page and you were searching God's word for some direction. Suddenly in an unusual moment of, in a rare moment of understanding, a passage of scripture that might have been very familiar or for that matter unfamiliar to you opens up to you and you're able to grasp a truth that you've never seen before and it brings a sense of contentment and peace and delight. What do we call that? Well we usually call that insight. You're given insight into this section. Why is it we do not call it the inspiration or the illumination of the Spirit of God? That that inner prompting that comes to you and gives you such a refreshing understanding of this slice of life, why is it we do not realize that is the work of the Spirit? It's not just human insight.

One more if I may. You're going through a severe test. You can't see your way through.

Not only is it deep, it is long and it's heavy. You're discovering the longer you live in this test and the less understanding you get in it, you lose your appetite. You lose your ability to sleep well. Fear and panic replace quietness and peace. There's a growing sense of isolation.

You don't even want to be at church with other believers. In fact you are in sort of an unhealthy, pensive mood and it won't lift. And so by the way I've had this experience three, four times in my life. One I can remember like it was yesterday, though it happened in the early 1960s. And in my case I remember walking out of our home, we lived in another state, another place at that time, and out behind our home was a long alley. You entered your driveway in the back of the house rather than the front. And I walked out the driveway and I turned and I walked down this long alley that lasted about three blocks and it was a moonlit night and I wept the whole time I walked. And I was so heavy over this I by then didn't know what to ask for.

I just said Lord I can't take this much longer. I remember coming to the end of the alley and turning around to go the other direction and the burden was gone. It was as if God slipped into my life, lifted this 95 pound pack off my back, took it away. Tears were gone.

I didn't necessarily have the answer as to what was going to change. I just knew the burden was gone. Three or four times it's happened to me in my life. What do we call that? We usually call that relief or coming to terms with the pressure?

No. Why is it we don't give credit to the one who lifts the burden? The Holy Spirit does that. These are those inner promptings that we're not able to tag with a title and yet they're there. They happen in life not infrequently.

Let me show you why. In the Psalms number 139 I have turned to that Psalm, one of my favorites. By the way I'm going to look at this on a sanctity of life Sunday as we take a careful look at life among the unborn. So I'll not really develop verses 13 to 18 here, but I just want you to see how David leads up to a statement he makes about our makeup. Verse 7, Psalm 139. Where can I go from thy spirit? The implication is I can't get away from your spirit, Lord.

And then in good Hebrew poetic fashion he asks the same question in an amplified manner. Or where can I flee from thy presence theologically it's a reference to God's omnipresence. Wherever I go, God goes. It's impossible to flee from his presence.

St. Augustine said in a time of temptation in his life he spoke to himself and recorded it in his journal. Fool, dost thou not know that thou art carrying God around with thee? He was stating in simple practical words the omnipresence of God. Everywhere I go, God goes. He resides within me. And as a child of God, he resides within you. I can go nowhere to flee from your presence. I cannot get away from it.

And then he uses all the different extremes. If I ascend to heaven, you're there. In fact, the Hebrew just uses the pronoun. If I ascend into heaven, thou. If I make my bed at the grave, thou. If I take the wings of the dawn, it's a picture of hitchhiking on the morning rays of the sun.

If I could travel the speed of light, almost 200,000 miles a second, and suddenly find myself in the remotest part of the sea, even there, thou. Now in light of that, since your spirit is within me, and since it is impossible to find a place on this planet where I can be away from or escape from him, there's something he's doing within me. Verse 14, just a phrase, I will give thanks to thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Let your eyes study those words.

I think they're some of the most fascinating words in the Old Testament. Fearfully, wonderfully made. It's a statement of awe regarding the human anatomy. A Jewish writer named Cohen says this, even with his elementary anatomical knowledge, the psalmist is inspired with awe and wonder. Oh Lord, I realize that there are secret chambers within my life. There are hidden capacities that the beasts of the field do not possess, and I have them. Oh Lord, I realize I'm able to receive divine information from you. Oh Lord, I understand that I have the capacity to grasp the depths of spiritual truths and to respond to you as no animal can respond, or not even the trees of the field or the fish of the sea. You have given me your image, the Imago Dei, the image of God is within me. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. And because of that, men and women, we are able to grasp the promptings of the Spirit of God and to be led, unlike animals could be led, who often need leaders or often go by what we call instinct. We do not rely on instinct.

We do not need leaders in these deep moments of our lives. We have within us the compelling, impelling presence of the Spirit of God. His inimitable, still, small voice addresses needs in my life and makes known to me truth that I need because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Now, how does this work? In First Thessalonians chapter 5, I'd like to have you look there next. Verse 23 is an unusual verse because it names the makeup of the human person. We are made up of body, soul, and spirit.

All three are named in First Thessalonians 5, 23. This is not the only verse, but this is one of the clearest ones. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely. Now look closely and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Some people take great pains to describe the difference between the soul and the spirit. I'll leave that argument to them.

It'll only get us sidetracked. Sometime I see them as being equated in scripture and sometime they seem to be divided. That's not my subject. Let's put them together. Let's call it the soul spirit. The part of us that can be felt and seen, the part of us on which the surgeon works with scalpel is the body.

You go to the doctor, he wants to look into your throat. He wants to listen to your heart, wants to thump around on your back or your lung or your chest, feels down at your stomach and your abdomen. He's working on the body. So we are made up of body. And then we have an invisible part of ourselves. There is this soul spirit part of us. Very interestingly, this is the best description of death. Death occurs, and it always means separation, when the soul spirit separates from the body. What we bury is the remains, the body of an individual, but there's no personality because the soul spirit has been lifted at death, moved to another realm, and that's another subject. But we are made up of body and soul spirit, the visible and the invisible. Look at Hebrews 4.12.

I know where I'm going, so stick with me here. Hebrews 4.12 says, for the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow. And the same word of God is able to judge.

Critikos is the Greek word. Critik comes from it. It is able to tell the truth about the true condition or the intentions of the heart. It is able to judge. It is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart. You've read the scriptures at times and you thought, how did he know?

That's exactly where I am. I've preached the scriptures and I've had, literally had men walk up to me in the front of the church and say, my wife talked to you this week, didn't she? I said, no, no, no, really.

And he gives me his name and I don't know the name. And he said, no, she called you, didn't she? We've had these arguments. And I said, no, she didn't. No, she didn't call you? I said, no, she didn't call me. Okay, I don't know you. And because I had preached something that cut to the heart of this man's life, he was so convinced that I had been informed about him, I was using him without calling his name as the example of my message when I didn't even know him at all.

What happened? The Spirit of God took the truth and drove it into his heart, even where a surgeon's scalpel cannot touch. No surgeon can do surgery on the soul. That's the work of the Spirit. No matter how brilliant the neurologist may be, he cannot, with all he may know of the brain and nervous system and the spine, he cannot touch the Spirit.

That's God's realm. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. We're able to understand gross anatomy. We're able to understand the body by observation and centuries of searching.

And the study of it is fascinating. But how little we know of the soul and spirit, that's the realm where the Spirit of God works. That explains why you can be in the midst of recovery from an intense surgery and have a remarkable peace.

Because the Spirit of God is flooding you with that sense of relief, bringing about that prompting. Now remember, this is very mysterious. This is one of those examples of divine truth we cannot nail down and dissect with precision. However, we cannot deny it.

I would say virtually every one of us in God's family has experienced at one time or another some inner prompting of the Spirit. I'm going to illustrate four examples in just a moment. We call them other things. We call them hunches. We call them intuition. We call them premonitions. We call them flashes of insight. We call them simply a sense of peace.

I got a good rest last night, so I really feel better today. May have very little to do with rest last night. Though that does help at times, the mysterious work of the Spirit of God can give you peace even though you haven't had enough rest. This is all part of his working and it's so seldom mentioned. We feel strange when we talk about it.

We shouldn't. Let me show you four biblical examples of the work of the Spirit and one is found in 1 Kings chapter 19. So turn back there if you will and you and I will track or sort of leaf through the Scriptures and track down four examples of these inner promptings.

Not only did they happen then, but they still happen today. Now if you'd like to take notes, let me give you this first, let me give you a title for this first prompting and then we'll analyze it from 1 Kings 19. Here it is. In times of extreme desperation, in times of extreme desperation, the Spirit prompts hope and encouragement. In times of extreme desperation, you might even add the word loneliness, the Spirit of God prompts hope and encouragement. 1 Kings 19 has an interesting context. It is sort of a climax of Elijah's life, if not 18. Elijah has been the one who stood before King Ahab and pronounced a drought and it didn't rain for three and a half years. Elijah's the one who commanded the fire of God to fall on the altar that was flooded with water and it fell to the amazement of the prophets of Baal and then they were slain. Elijah is the one who has witnessed the power of God in giving him survival in the midst of a dried up brook in the dry wilderness of his world.

He has known the presence of God. And on the heels of these great occasions of victory when he was most vulnerable, Jezebel, the wife of Ahab the king, threatens his life and it hits him where he isn't prepared to be hit and he's devastated. Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.

Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah saying, may the gods do to me and even more if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time. Now before you feel kind of easy about all of this and wonder why Elijah made so much of it, chances are good you've never had your life threatened. If you have ever had your life threatened where it is a serious threat and somebody tells you within the next 24 hours you'll be history, then you understand the feeling Elijah had.

Especially when it was someone in authority who had her henchmen all around and was a wicked woman to the core. She says to Elijah, you're as good as dead. Now of course theoretically Elijah should have said, Lord, I ask you to come down and be my protection and the very present help in time of need. Stop all these attempts, give me a sense of, but he didn't do that. He ran for his life.

And in an unusual moment of depression and desperation and loneliness full of doubt, don't we all have such moments? He ran deep into the woods and he sat down under a tree and he asked the Lord to take his life. Apparently the thought of suicide did not enter Elijah's mind.

That's another subject. But he does say, verse 4, it is enough, take my life for I am not better than my father's. So he's at the bottom. A more pathetic picture of personal heartbreaking loneliness cannot be found in the scriptures than here. This is Elijah who had withstood Ahab and Jezebel, called down fire from heaven, faced the prophets of Baal. But what does God do?

God doesn't shame him, God doesn't rebuke him, God ministers to him. He says to him, verse 11, go and stand on the mountain before the Lord, behold the Lord is passing by. And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces in the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind there was an earthquake.

You don't need an illustration of that, do you? After this howling wind in the wilderness, there was this giant earthquake, but the Lord wasn't in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was this fire, and the Lord wasn't in the fire. But after the fire, look closely, there was a sound of a gentle blowing.

Pause right there. The old King James Bible says that there was a still small voice. That's where we get the words, still small voice. The new King James renders it in a similar manner but gives this footnote a delicate whispering voice. The new international version of the Bible says after the fire came a gentle whisper.

It was in a soft, gentle rustling that he revealed himself to Elijah. We're midway through this important message from Chuck Swindoll. He's describing what he calls those unidentified inner promptings. This is Insight for Living. To learn more about this ministry, we invite you to visit us online at Well, you'd be glad to learn that Chuck wrote a book that parallels today's topic. It's called Embraced by the Spirit, the Untold Blessings of Intimacy with God.

To purchase a copy right now, go to slash store. Bear in mind that while you're listening to Chuck's teaching today, you're joined with fellow listeners around the world. Many of them are just learning how to walk with God and some are recovering from poor decisions they made long ago. But there's a common thread of gratitude in the messages we receive. God is using Insight for Living to transform the hearts of willing listeners through the power of our companion, the Holy Spirit. These transformational stories are made possible in part because people like you give voluntary donations. And if you're among those who give, let me encourage you with the comment we received.

This person from Tennessee said, Chuck, I recently experienced a painful marriage separation with betrayal, unfaithfulness and deception. It was your teaching on forgiveness and God's grace that brought so much light to the darkness. Today, I'm free from hate, bitterness and resentment.

No more chains holding me. Thanks. Another writer said, I came to faith in Christ after listening to Insight for Living. Thank you, Chuck. Well, these listeners express their gratitude to Chuck, but it really belongs to those who partner with us.

Make no mistake. God is the one who changes lives, but he invites you and me to play a critical role in broadcasting the truth. And in this way, we want you to know that your charitable gifts are truly making a difference. To give a donation today, call us.

If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or go online to slash donate. You've heard him teach about the Holy Land using word pictures to make us feel like we're actually strolling through the old city. Learning about Jerusalem is fascinating for sure, but seeing the land of Israel with your own eyes is life changing.

In fact, it's absolutely magnificent. And now you can see Israel with Chuck Swindoll and the gracious hosts and experts assembled by Insight for Living Ministries. Join us on an unforgettable 12-day tour, March 5th through the 16th, 2023. At special sites along the way, I will teach from God's word. We'll worship at the Mount of Beatitudes and share the Lord's table at the Garden Tomb. In fact, we'll sail the Sea of Galilee together and we'll visit places where Jesus walked and taught. To learn more, call 1-888-447-0444.

Just imagine walking along those sacred sites and seeing the Bible come to life before your very eyes. Mark your calendar for March 5th through the 16th, 2023 and make your reservation by calling 1-888-447-0444 or go to slash events. Insight for Living Ministries Tour to Israel is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer. Join us when Chuck Swindoll continues to describe what he calls those unidentified inner promptings, Friday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Those Unidentified Inner Promptings, was copyrighted in 1993 and 2003, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2003 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-03 20:38:52 / 2023-03-03 20:48:06 / 9

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime