The guidance of the Spirit: What Pentecostals believe

According to Pentecostalism, God 'calls' every Christian to consciously walk in a God-given 'destiny' for their lives – God's 'plan A' for each of us. Fulfillment of God's plan for our lives depends on our level of cooperation with the specific guidance provided by God. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD , "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Pentecostals teach that according to this verse and others, God's destiny for our present lives always involves prosperity and successful living, for his glory. This is generally true for all Christians, but 'destiny-teaching' gets downs to the specifics of our individual 'calling' and God's unique plan for our lives.


During the 1990s a strong emphasis on Christian 'destiny' spread from America to Australia and has had widespread influence within Pentecostal and charismatic circles ever since. ‘Destiny’ is God’s specific plan for a Christian now, in this life. ‘Calling’ relates to the specific tasks and gifts that God has ‘placed upon’ our lives. God’s 'will’ encompasses all of his desires for our lives, including the specific details of our destiny, such as what job I should take. For example, God’s destiny on my life might include his will that I marry a certain person, sell a certain property, move to a certain country, and fulfill my calling to become a missionary.

God's ‘general’ will is relevant to all Christians, but it is his ‘special’ will that relates to the destiny of each individual. He has revealed his ‘general' will universally (to all) in the Bible, which primarily concerns our salvation and godliness. But God’s ‘special' will is not found in the Bible because it relates to his specific plans for each individual’s life – not minute details such as what colour socks I should wear on a given day, but the decisions that will effect the 'direction' of my life; that is, that will effect whether or not I am on course to 'achieve' my destiny. God's ‘special will’, like his ‘general will’, is perfect; the destiny that God has on my life is his ‘perfect will’ for my life – it is the very ‘best’ the God has for me.


Considerable focus is given within the Pentecostalism and charismatic movements to help Christians find out their ‘calling’ in life. This comes from understanding how the Spirit 'guides' Christians. A whole new school of teaching has emerged aimed at training Christians with the know-how to find their destiny, and of critical importance is the skill of ‘hearing the Spirit’s voice’, discerning ‘God’s will for you’, and understanding the Spirit's guidance. Following the guidance of the Spirit is the way by which Christians should walk in the destiny that God has for them individually. It is by cooperating with the Spirit’s ‘leading’ as we make the specific decisions of our lives that we 'achieve' our destiny. Consequence, according to Pentecostalism, those who do not follow the Spirit’s guidance adequately – whether deliberately or not – miss out on God’s very best for them; they settle for a second rate life and miss out on the ‘perfect will of God’ for their lives.

The voice of the Spirit

God guides Christians by the voice of the Holy Spirit. The methods used by the Spirit to speak to Christians are varied, though his (inner) 'still-small-voice' is the primary means by which he leads willing and listening Christians to make the life critical decisions in the present that ensure that their futures accord with God's will and perfect plan for them.

God’s guidance through the Bible remains foundational, since the basic areas of living that are common to all Christians through the ages have been applied within the teaching and examples found in the New and Old Testaments. Also, since God has given Christians a ‘renewed’ mind, God expects them to use their common sense in matters of basic reasoning.

There are however multiple other ways by which God regularly attempts to guides Christians to make the right specific decisions that are crucial to them fulfilling their destiny. Christians should rely on God to use any set of several methods available to him to guide them, including provision of spiritual experiences, direct 'words’, prophecy, fresh 'revelation', visions or dreams. Christians may hear the inner voice of the Spirit speaking to them while in prayer or while meditating on God’s word. ‘Waiting on God’ while ‘listening’ for the Spirit’s voice is important – his voice coming in the form of internal promptings. He supplies confirmation of what we understand to be his will by giving us a feeling of ‘inner peace’. God also provides 'signs', and Christians should ask God to give them and watch for his direction. Finally, it is always wise that Christians seek ‘godly counsel’, that will confirm what the Spirit has said through his other means.

How it is that God speaks to the Christian is variegated, but that he will speak through the means he uses is certain. Christians need to constantly be attuned to his voice in order to hear the guidance he is always giving. Fulfilling our destiny in God will always depend on our faith; we will always need to ‘step out’ in confidence in the Spirit’s guidance. The aim of the Christian should be to continually depend on and follow the Spirit’s guidance for their lives; we should constantly ‘walk by the Spirit’; ‘live in the Spirit’ and ‘keep in step with the Spirit’. | joe towns: christian discussion on pentecost, charisma, pentecostal and charismatic beliefs, the Bible and Jesus; including the origin and history of pentecostalism, baptism in the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, gifts and miracles, divine healing and word of faith, prosperity and wealth, praise and worship, guidance and hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit.