I fell asleep this afternoon for a brief nap, thinking about whether or not I was following my heart instead of God’s Word, because I have been accused of such. I begged the Lord to answer me from Scripture what the truth of the matter is. As I was falling asleep, I heard this verse: “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” Well, that was certainly no comfort, but I fell asleep. When I woke up I heard two verses right away: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). And “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13). Before I died with Christ (fell asleep), I was subject to the deceitfulness of my heart. When I rose with Christ (regenerated, spiritually awakened), my heart became subject to following the Holy Spirit in order to guide it from deceit into truth.
Even as we read the Scriptures, it is possible for us to lean on our own understanding and to think we can understand them in our own carnal minds. True faith puts the reigns in the hands of the Holy Spirit, requiring us, therefore, to be in constant prayer for His guidance, whether in illuminating our hearts and minds to understand the Scriptures or in illuminating our understanding of His will in our daily lives. This includes how to approach a spiritual battle. He is teaching me that different situations sometimes require different reactions. For example, some battles simply require prayer for the Holy Spirit to bring his truth to our hearts and trust that Jesus has our backs (Exodus 14:14, NIV: “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”). Other battles sometimes require a command (Matthew 16:23: “Get behind me Satan”). Other battles require the wielding of Scripture against the devil’s lies (Matthew 4:4: “But he [Jesus] answered, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’”). And in all cases, the battle belongs to the LORD (Proverbs 21:31, 1 Samuel 17:47). Therefore, we must “pray in the Spirit at all times, with every kind of prayer and petition” (Eph 6:18, BSB) to discern which battle plan to use and whose spirit we are hearing (our own, the devil’s, the world’s, or God’s).