“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 2:7
There are many practices that can be destructive to the unity of the church but none more so than being judgmental. And Jesus has very clearly expressed his desire regarding this practice, “Judge not that you be not judged.” What’s more, he’s given us the Holy Spirit so that he can nurture and build up his church not tear it down. It only follows, then, that since the Holy Spirit is continuing the work of Christ that he would not lead us into a judgmental work.
But this doesn’t answer a question, that begs to be asked, How do we know if someone is filled with the Holy Spirit? Obviously, it needs to be answered, if we are going to be able to know who God is raising up to serve his Church.
Jesus gave us a key to answering this question when he was addressing his detractors one day in he temple, “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God.” John 7:17. David also gives us a key in this counsel, “The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him.” Psalm 25:14. To fear God and to know his will requires that we have a connection with God; a filling of the Spirit of God. And if we follow the teachings of God we’ll recognize when they’re repeated. In the same manner, if we are filled with the Spirit of God we’ll recognize when another is also filled with the Spirit of God. What’s more, it only makes sense that the Holy Spirit living and working within us would also know himself when he is working in someone else.
So being able recognize the presence of the Spirit truly does have as much to do with me as it does you. If we are both filled, then the Holy Spirit will not only be preparing you for his service, he will be preparing me to recognize what he is doing as he works through you. Jesus’ prayer, in John 17, was that we would be one as he and the Father are one. We couldn’t be united to that degree if we were unable to recognize and know when the Spirit was active in the lives of our brothers and sisters.
All this being said, without faith and trust, in the Spirit’s leading in our lives, we’ll never be able to do any better than follow our own lists of qualifications. And we can only see the surface. The Spirit, though, knows the heart. Your heart, the heart of your neighbor and the heart of God. Church, it’s time we sharpened our ears to hear what the Spirit is saying.