How We Can Ignore the Holy Spirit’s Prompting

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

The Holy Spirit can prompt us to do good works for others, but how can avoid ignoring the Holy Spirit’s prompting?

A Generous Impulse

The Holy Spirit can prompt us to do good works for others, but how can avoid ignoring the Holy Spirit’s prompting? H. Jackson Brown Jr. wisely said, “Never resist a generous impulse.” Why? It’s because that impulse might be from the Holy Spirit. An impulse to do good works is almost always the right thing to do. The Bible teaches us that God has appointed us to walk in or do good works from before time began (Eph 2:10), but He has also sent His Holy Spirit to live in each and every believer. Some of these generous impulses were mentioned by Jesus, saying, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” (Matt 25:35-36). When we have opportunity to feed a hungry person, cloth a poor person, give a drink to a wayward stranger, or visit someone in prison, nursing home or a shut-in, then we are obeying the prompting of the Holy Spirit. James wrote, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27). It’s not about being religious but religion making a difference in the world. Jesus takes these things personally, seeing the things done for others as being the same as doing them unto Him (Matt 25:40).

Pure Religion

To Share Christ

The Holy Spirt shouldn’t have to prompt us to share Jesus Christ with the lost, but sometimes the Spirit may put someone in particular on our hearts. He may make us think of them and prompt us to pray for their salvation. That is always God’s will. God the Holy Spirit’s desire than none should perish should be our desire too, so let the Spirit prompt you to be more bold and courageous in sharing the gospel. Remember, the Holy Spirit can give us the right words to say. Jesus said there would come a time for the disciples “When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour” (Matt 10:19), and the Holy Spirit did give them utterance in their defense of the gospel. Jesus reassured them that they did not have to depend upon their own persuasive speech because when they did speak, He said, “it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Matt 10:20). Either way, we must share Christ and allow the Spirit to speak through us.

Ignoring the Spirit

We can grieve or ignore the Holy Spirit’s prompting when we think more about ourselves than we do God. When we fear man or man’s rejection of the gospel more than we fear God, then we are ignoring the prompting of the Holy Spirit. It takes a person from God and the Spirit of God and the Word of God to birth a child of God, so obviously, it is always the will of the Holy Spirit to share Christ. We must sit still and listen to what He is trying to say to us. When we know the right thing to do and don’t do it, we sin and suppress the Spirit’s will in our lives because “whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (James 4:17).

Avoiding Fellowship

When we isolate ourselves from the Body of Christ, the church, then we are less likely to hear from the Holy Spirit through the teaching and study of the Word (Sunday school and Bible studies) and the preaching of the Word, and thus, we lose a valuable source of God’s power. The Holy Spirit works in harmony with the Body of Christ as each member serves in the areas the Holy Spirit has gifted them in (Rom 12; 1 Cor 12), but if some members are missing, the Body is incomplete and cannot function as well in areas Christ have commanded them to function in (Matt 25:36-36, 28:18-20). The Holy Spirit works in unison with all the members, but when members are missing valuable gifts from the church is missing like giving, mercy and administration.


The Holy Spirit desires that we all exercise our spiritual gifts for the good of the church. The will of the Holy Spirit is always to find our gifts and then use them as God has works for you and I to do that He has long ago prepared for us to walk in (Eph 2:10). It is up to us to listen to the Spirit’s prompting and do what God would have us do (i.e., Matt 25:35-36). Jesus wants to use you and each and every member to build up the Body of Christ (the church) and to live in unity that only the Holy Spirit can bring. We can grieve the Holy Spirit; we can quench the Holy Spirit, and we can suppress the Holy Spirit, but when we do, we miss God’s will for our lives. The Holy Spirit will prompt us to do things that Jesus would do if He were here physically on earth, but since He isn’t, we are to be His hands, His feet, His eyes, His ears, and His heart. Some hardened their hearts to the point that they can no longer hear the Spirit’s voice (Heb 3:8-15). May God forbid that this should ever happen to a follower of Jesus Christ.

Here is some related reading for you: How Does the Holy Spirit Work in Our Lives?

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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