Before we seek to answer this, we need to define the words instinct and intuition. One has said, “INSTINCT is not a feeling, but an innate ‘hardwired’ tendency toward a particular behavior. It is an ‘automatic reaction’ to outside stimuli.” Another has said, “INSTINCT is a motor response initiated by the body totally controlled by external stimuli.” Examples of this may be “pulling your hand away when touching something very hot” or “flinching when you hear a very loud noise.” Wikipedia defines INTUITION as “understanding or knowing without thought, observation or reason.” Intuition may cause one to do something without any external stimuli. For example, one may simply “sense danger” without seeing or hearing anything and react because of a “gut feeling.” We could say that “instinct” causes the “BODY to react spontaneously,” while “intuition” causes the “SOUL to react spontaneously,” but one is automatic without any thought process involved, while the other is not automatic but involves a “feeling” that may defy logic.

Now we can apply these definitions to the question at hand. Does the Holy Spirit cause the believer (who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit…see John 14:16-17; 1st John 2:27; and 2nd Corinthians 1:21-22) to react through instinct and/or intuition? I believe we can “rule out instinct” if the above definitions are accurate, for “bodily instincts are hardwired into every human being,” whether they have the Holy Spirit or not. But there may indeed be a relation between intuition and the Holy Spirit, for the Spirit may give us an “understanding without external stimuli.” Before we look at scriptures which may involve the Holy Spirit using intuition to cause a reaction in us, it is vital to see that, for the most part, the Holy Spirit uses “the Word of God” to guide us in the decisions we make. After we are born again by the Spirit and the Word (see John 3:1-8, 14-16), the Spirit “guides us into all truth” by revealing the truth of the Bible to us (John 14:26; 16:13-14 and 1st Corinthians 2:9-13). God’s truth can then be used in making decisions in life (who we should gather with to worship the Lord, who we should have as friends, who we should or shouldn’t marry, what activities we should engage in, etc.).  There are “commandments” and “principles” laid out throughout the Bible that the Spirit will use to guide us in these areas. But there are decisions we need to make where we may not have a definite scripture to guide us. In those cases, the Spirit may lead us by circumstances, by others speaking to us by the Holy Spirit (see Acts 21:1-4

11), or by impressions in our soul. The following passage may be an example of the latter:

“Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, THEY WERE FORBIDDEN BY THE HOLY SPIRIT to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but THE SPIRIT DID NOT PERMIT THEM. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them” (Acts 16:6-10). This is a very interesting account of Paul’s missionary journey. Paul wanted to go to Asia to preach the gospel, but the Holy Spirit said “NO!” Then Paul wanted to go to Bithnyia and once again the Holy Spirit said “NO!” We aren’t told HOW Paul received this prohibition by the Spirit, but we do know he didn’t receive a special revelation concerning it. Yet once he reached Troas the Spirit gave him a direct revelation that led him to go to Macedonia, which Paul then obeyed. We need to ask, “How did the Holy Spirit communicate to Paul NOT to go to Asia or Bithynia since there was no direct commandment given to him? I believe Paul was led by the Spirit through intuition; that is, by a “feeling in his soul” that he should not go. As one has said, “He was under constraint. It was not the Holy Spirit’s time for Asia Minor, so Paul could not stay. He had NO INNER PEACE ABOUT STAYING.  Paul then continued to Bithyina but, from the Spirit’s point of view, it was not the time. There was a more strategic way to go. So, TROUBLED IN SPIRIT, UNCERTAIN OF THE LORD’S LEADING EXCEPT IN THE NEGATIVE…not Asia, not Bithynia, not now—Paul kept moving, sure that sooner or later the Holy Spirit would make everything clear” (John Phillips). How good if believers have this “sensitivity” to the leading of the Spirit to “listen in our souls” and give in to the “impressions” He may give us. In this case Paul “lacked peace in his soul.” There may be times when the Spirit will impress upon us to move forward without a direct revelation and in that case we will “have peace in our soul.” Again, the Spirit will generally lead us by the Word of God, but in those rare cases where we don’t have a “Thus saith the Lord,” may we rely upon Him to lead us by an impression that gives us “peace in our soul” or a “lack of peace in our soul.”  (DO)  (557.3)