A gracEmail subscriber in Texas writes, “One afternoon I heard a television talk-show host say, ‘I believe that intuition is the voice of God.’ My mother has reminded me though, ‘The devil speaks to you, too.’ What do the scriptures say about intuition?”
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There is an intuition which comes from God. The Creator has planted an inherent sense of fundamental morality in all his human creatures (Rom. 1:19). Men and women may also look at the created universe and know instinctively that God exists and that he is powerful (Ps. 19:1-3; Rom. 1:20). Unfortunately, many people close their eyes to such truths and consciously put them out of mind (Rom. 1:21-22).
The Christian who is led by the Spirit of the Risen Christ also enjoys holy intuition (Rom. 8:5-9). John calls this the “anointing” which “teaches” one “about all things” who “abides” in Jesus (1 John 2:20, 27; see 2 Cor. 1:21-22). Paul prays for God to give his converts “a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Eph. 1:17), or that they “may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Col. 1:9-10). The aim and result, in all these texts, is a lifestyle pleasing to God. For the person whose heart is tuned to God’s heart and whose head is informed by Scripture, some things simply “feel” right or wrong — and one does well to follow such intuitive insights.
Several spiritual gifts which are less-well known in the church at large — a word of knowledge, a word of wisdom, or even a word of prophecy — might sometimes pass as “intuition” (1 Cor. 12:8, 10). God sometimes guides his people by an impression or gentle nudge, in making life decisions and in performing kingdom ministry. My friend Joe Beam was driving past the home of a Christian brother late one night when suddenly he felt a compulsion to stop and knock on the door. When his friend answered, Joe suddenly found himself saying, “Someone is here with you!” The man was in the midst of a sexual affair with a woman who was not his wife, and God used intuition in guiding Joe to confront him and lead him to repentance. I recount some of my own similar experiences in my book The Sound of His Voice.
Although godly intuition is a gift, it may be strengthened and developed. According to the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, the believer “by practice” may “train” his or her spiritual senses “to discern good and evil” (Heb. 5:14). Like an experienced artist who instinctively recognizes fine quality in art or music, the person who regularly lives close to God’s heart intuitively makes proper moral decisions. So doing, that individual completes the circle of intuition wrongly begun by the first couple in the Garden of Eden, and redeems intuition for its intended purpose (Rom. 16:19-20; see 2 Cor. 11:3).