Why the Average Person Doesn’t Hear from the Holy Spirit


daily text logoAugust 2, 2014

Acts 10:17-23

While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.

While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”

Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?”

The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to ask you to come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.” Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.


Scenes like the one described in today’s Daily Text should cause us to ask the question: Why isn’t this kind of Holy Spirit guidance more of the norm for today’s Christians and local churches?

big-frameworkI have a theory on that. People who aren’t living life in the big framework of the Gospel don’t recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit, and as a consequence, they would not perceive a small assignment that might come their way. Another way of thinking about the big framework of the Gospel is in the military concept of COMMANDERS INTENT.

“Commander’s Intent describes how the Commander envisions the battlefield at the conclusion of the mission. It shows what success looks like. Commander’s Intent fully recognizes the chaos, lack of a complete information picture, changes in enemy situation, and other relevant factors that may make a plan either completely or partially obsolete when it is executed. The role of Commander’s Intent is to empower subordinates and guide their initiative and improvisation as they adapt the plan to the changed battlefield environment. Commander’s Intent empowers initiative, improvisation, and adaptation by providing guidance of what a successful conclusion looks like. Commander’s Intent is vital in chaotic, demanding, and dynamic environments.”  Source: Harvard Business Review

One of the main reasons most people have no concept of receiving a “small assignment” from the Holy Spirit is that they do not have a clear sense of the COMMANDERS INTENT. So what is the COMMANDERS INTENT for the followers of Jesus? I’m glad you asked. He made it very clear just prior to his Ascension into Heaven.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8. 

Here’s my question to myself: Am I consciously aware of these 33 words today? My lawyer is telling me not to answer that question. ;0) Seriously– I live on a day to day basis with a general sense of COMMANDERS INTENT. In my professional judgment, that simply will not cut it. I must have a crystal clear matter of life and death focus and even fixation on COMMANDERS INTENT.

It makes me think of Bill Johnson, a dear friend of mine who lives with a focus on our COMMANDERS INTENT like no one I have ever seen. As a result, he has some of the most refined assignments from the Holy Spirit of anyone I know. He is focused.

So here’s what I’m going to do. When I get back home I am going to get a dry-erase marker and write our COMMANDERS INTENT on the mirror in my bathroom. (Acts 1:8)  Maybe I’ll get carried away and write it on all the bathroom mirrors in the house. Will you join me in this? Let’s do a little Holy Spirit experiment and see what happens.


J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at jd.walt@seedbed.com.

Get the Daily Text delivered to your inbox fresh every morning. Subscribe HERE.


Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.