Dallas Willard talks about three lights that form a sort of check and balance whether what we “hear” from God is true or not. They are:
- Impressions of the Spirit
- Passages from the Bible
It is suggested that when these three point in the same direction, we can be assured it points to where God would have us go. This perhaps sounds too much like a formula or a gimmick which we would not expect to be so simple but let’s examine it.
First of all, there is no doubt you must have a working familiarity and a confidence in the recognition of these “lights.”
What if you read a passage from the Bible, and you felt a clear impression of the Holy Spirit you should do something but the circumstances in your life either would not allow for it or were in some way hindering it. I think this would be a clear indication that God would have you to wait.
What is the biblical test of authenticity? I believe that it must contain a clear confession of Jesus Christ as Lord
1 Corinthians 12:3 (NKJV)
Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
1 John 4:2-3 (NKJV)
By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
I know that I have prayed a number of times for God to either open or close doors to make it clear whether to proceed or stop. But how do you know who is opening and closing doors? Is it God or Satan or another person? So Scripture and inner promptings of the Spirit must be a part of the analysis of such door opening and closing.
I think the point is that these three lights do serve to correct each other and perhaps are useful to only that extent. At any rate, these three lights seem to reflect the very things that must go on in our decision making process which is still necessary even when hearing from God.