Intuition is an inner knowing or sense of something without conscious reasoning. It is a gut feeling or hunch that guides our thoughts, beliefs, and actions. As Christians, we know that God has given us wisdom and discernment through His Holy Spirit to rightly discern truth and error. But what does the Bible actually say about intuition? Should we trust our gut instincts at all times or hold them to the light of Scripture?
Trust in the Lord, Not Your Heart
The first key takeaway is that we are called to trust in the Lord rather than our own understanding or intuition (Proverbs 3:5-6). Our hearts are deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9), so we cannot fully rely on our feelings and hunches. We need the wisdom of God to correctly interpret our intuitions.
Proverbs 28:26 warns: “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered.” Our intuitions can often be misguided due to our limited perspectives and susceptibility to the enemy’s deception. The Lord exhorts us:
“My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:20-23 NKJV)
Keeping a watch over our heart is crucial. We cannot assume every gut feeling aligns with God’s truth.
Test Intuitions Against God’s Word
This leads to the next takeaway – we must test our intuitions against the truth of Scripture. 1 John 4:1 advises:
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
While some intuitions can come from the Holy Spirit, others may come from our fleshly desires or even demonic spirits. Therefore, we have a responsibility to examine them in light of biblical principles.
1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 gives this command:
“Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”
Any intuition that contradicts the Word of God or leads us into immorality is deceptive. As we saturate our minds with Scripture, we can train our intuition to align with God’s heart and mind.
Examples of Righteous Intuitions
At times, the Bible does show the godly following their intuition under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Here are some examples:
- David’s battle strategy: When the Philistines attacked Keilah and David inquired of the Lord, he received an intuition to go into battle and prevail (1 Samuel 23:1-5).
- Jesus’ discernment: Jesus perceived in his spirit the thoughts of the scribes who were accusing him of blasphemy, demonstrating His divine intuition (Mark 2:8).
- Peter’s vision: Peter fell into a trance and saw a vision of clean and unclean animals, intuitively realizing it meant the gospel was for the Gentiles too (Acts 10:9-17).
- Paul’s travel plans: Paul sensed he should go to Jerusalem, being “bound by the Spirit” even though imprisonment awaited him there (Acts 20:22-23).
In these examples, godly intuition aligned with God’s will and was confirmed by prayer, wisdom, and counsel.
Dangers of Following Impulsive Intuitions
However, the Bible also gives us examples of following reckless intuition apart from God’s leading:
- Eve’s deadly choice: Eve trusted her personal observations and desires over God’s clear command, a choice that brought devastation (Genesis 3:1-7).
- Abraham and Hagar: Abraham acted on his instinct to have a child through Hagar rather than waiting on God’s timing. This caused family conflict (Genesis 16:1-6).
- David’s census: David intuitively decided to take a census of Israel for his military strategies but later admitted it was a sinful impulse (2 Samuel 24:10).
These examples remind us to be cautious of acting on impulse without seeking the Lord. Our intuitions are fallible and must come under the searching light of God’s Word.
Intuition Can Point Us to Truth
The Bible indicates that intuition itself is not necessarily evil. God made us with the capacity for intuition and instincts as part of having His image within us. The problem comes when we elevate intuition and feelings above God’s revelation.
Our intuitions can nudge us toward truth and wisdom if submitted to the Lordship of Christ. As John 16:13 says of the Holy Spirit:
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.”
And Isaiah 30:21 promises God will guide through our faculty of hearing:
“Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.”
The godly listen for the still, small voice of the Spirit resonating with their conscience and intuition. Through prayer and discernment, intuition can affirm the truth of God’s Word.
Developing Discerning Intuition
How then can we develop intuition that is accurate and discerning? Here are some tips:
- Soak your mind in Scripture to wash it of falsehood (Ephesians 5:26).
- Ask God for discernment and wisdom to understand His will (James 1:5).
- Learn to recognize God’s voice over your own thoughts (John 10:27).
- Examine your intuitions against God’s Word and character.
- Seek counsel and confirmation from wise believers (Proverbs 11:14).
- Wait on God’s timing and peace to act rather than impulsive intuition (Psalm 27:14).
- Submit all your intuition to God’s perfect knowledge and direction.
As we walk closely with Jesus, our intuitions can become increasingly aligned with His truth. The Holy Spirit guides us into discernment that is saturated in God’s wisdom rather than our own.
The Bible reminds us to seek the Lord rather than blindly follow our intuitions. We have the mind of Christ through the Holy Spirit and Scripture by which to test our impulses. Intuition can be a helpful gift from God if submitted to His Lordship. But we must filter it through the truth of God’s Word rather than elevate it above the Bible. By walking in step with the Spirit, our intuitions can point us toward God’s heart and direction for our lives. The key is learning to recognize His voice above all others. May we walk in the wisdom and discretion that comes from above!
- Trust in the Lord rather than your own understanding.
- Test intuitions against the truth of God’s Word.
- Examples show intuition aligned with God’s will after testing.
- Impulsive intuition has led people into sin and deception.
- Godly intuition nudges us toward truth if submitted to Christ.
- Soak your mind in Scripture and God’s voice to develop discernment.
- Let the Spirit guide your intuition to align with God’s heart.