“Of course,” says the believer with rightful bluster, “The Holy Spirit is the third divine person of the Godhead and therefore not some mindless force.”
But then, even though we seem to agree, their actions (and speech) hint at something else.
I keep hearing Christians say they’re being led by the spirit to: move to a new city; change jobs; seek a spouse; preach something other than they prepared; justify whatever sermon they do preach; or introduce some future course of action. I hear Christians even justify their actions or decisions based on the favorable results. So if Joe is “moved by the Spirit” to move to Arkansas where he is blessed with a great job and a preaching ministry, his moving by the Spirit is confirmed—God wanted him in Arkansas.
When asked “how do you know it’s the Holy Spirit?” the response I’ve gotten (in the past) is essentially “I just know” Or “It sounds…different” or “but look what wound up happening!” Sometimes I’ve even heard that the closer we come to God the more we’ll know it’s Him speaking because we’re just that close; like friends know what each other are thinking.