You can, if you like, draw up a profit and loss account; here are the things in favour; here are the things against. You arrive at your total. You work it out. You use reason, common sense, understanding. You may consult other people. You can take other opinions. All that is perfectly legitimate.
Romans, vol 1, ch 15, p 200
Yet I am asserting strongly that… the most important and the most crucial of all is this
‘witness of the Holy Spirit’ in our spirits. I sometimes put it like this: even though you may be satisfied in your mind about a course of action; even though, in general, circumstances may be
agreeing with what you have decided in your mind, if there is a sense of uncertainty or of unhappiness within, then do not move, do not act. There I think is the prohibition of the Spirit.
This jumped out to me because it is so in line with what we are learning together in Experiencing God. Henry Blackaby says that “God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways.”
As Martyn Lloyd-Jones reflected on Romans 1:13, where Paul says he had “thus far been prevented” from going to Rome, he essentially lays out the same pattern Blackaby does. The Holy Spirit interprets Scripture for us. He helps us pray. He leads us to evaluate circumstances and the advice of others in accordance with God’s will. And following God is really about tuning your spirit to be more sensitive to God’s Holy Spirit.
This year I’m trying to read through Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ 14 volume exposition of Romans. Lloyd-Jones began teaching through Romans on Friday nights at Westminster Chapel in London on October 7, 1955. Thirteen years later, at the end of chapter 14, he was forced to retire from the pulpit ministry because of illness. He spent the rest of his life editing the manuscripts of his sermons.
The Martyn Lloyd-Jonas Trust has every one of the audio recordings of the sermons available on their podcast. Here is the one I listened to this morning.