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Gospel Q&A: How Do I Tell If It’s the Holy Ghost or Just Me?

Gospel Q&A: How Do I Tell If It’s the Holy Ghost or Just Me?

Gospel Q&A is a series from LDS Daily that strives to answer important gospel questions from readers. Today, we’ll be answering the question, “How do I know if I’m being influenced by the Holy Ghost or my own thoughts and feelings?” Do you have a question you’d like to see answered? Send us an email at calledtoshare@ldsdaily.com or leave it in the comments below.

The intimations of the Holy Ghost are deeply personal and individual. Receiving clear communication from heaven will look different for all of us in both manifestation and timing. However, guiding principles from loving Heavenly Parents can help us know when we’re being influenced by the power of the Holy Ghost.

How We Experience the Holy Ghost

As the third member of the Godhead, the Holy Ghost (also referred to as the Spirit, the Comforter, and the Spirit of God) has been given the specific responsibility to testify of truth and act as a companion and guide. In the Bible Dictionary, we learn that all of God’s children can be influenced by the power of the Holy Ghost, while those who have made covenants through ordinances have the gift of the Holy Ghost. But what does this mean for our day-to-day experiences with feeling close to God and guided throughout our lives?

The scriptures name many various ways the Holy Ghost might be manifest in our lives:

  • Filled with joy (Mosiah 4:3)
  • Peace of consciousness (Mosiah 4:3)
  • Comforted (Acts 9:31)
  • Filled with hope and perfect love (Moroni 8:26)
  • Able to prophesy (Numbers 11:25)
  • Sanctified (Romans 15:16)
  • Confirmation of truth (3 Nephi 11:36)
  • Enlightened mind (Doctrine & Covenants 6:15)
  • Bosom shall burn, feeling something is right (Doctrine & Covenants 9:8)

These are just a few of the descriptions used. Today, many would describe the physical sensation of tingling, warmth, or fire to describe clear communication from the Spirit. Some feel a burning in their chest and a push to act. Others feel calm and peaceful.

It’s important that we strive to learn how we experience the Holy Ghost for ourselves.

The Spirit Invites Us to Do Good

One of my favorite scriptures on how to have confidence in our promptings and revelation comes from the Book of Mormon. In Moroni 7:13, Moroni teaches us “that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.”

When you feel prompted to do something, ask yourself if it aligns with good and true principles? If your decision leads to serving God and loving others, you can have confidence that it is from God. The Holy Ghost will invite you to live truth and stay within the safety of your covenants.

This is especially important to remember when it doesn’t like we have a clear answer to a question. If we haven’t been given a direct answer from the Lord and the answer we have come up with invites us to do good, we can move forward knowing we are within the bounds the Lord has set for our lives.

Like-Minded with Christ

When Paul wrote to the Philippians, he told them to be unified, humble, and full of love. He then said something very interesting: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”

One of the purposes of this life is to become more like our Savior. Instead of feeling fear and worry that we aren’t experiencing the Spirit in the way we might expect, we should be excited about the chance to unify our will with God, to be like-minded with Christ.

If God knows you will make the right decision and choose what Christ would have you choose, it doesn’t matter if the thought comes from you or from the Holy Ghost. Ultimately, He wants us to be able to act in righteousness on our own accord.

A Voice of Warning

None of us will be perfect in following the promptings and directions of the Holy Ghost. We will have our own biases and desires to contend with. However, we have been promised that if we do our very best to remain humble and worthy, the Lord will warn us if we begin to go down a dangerous path.

Ultimately, learning to be sanctified and lead by God is one of the great tests of life. There is a lot of grace given to us as we continue on this journey.

Disclaimer: While answers will use scriptures and/or words of modern prophets, we do not represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We don’t believe our answers are comprehensive.

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