“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:15-17, NIV).
Oh, Holy Spirit! I need you! I fail you all the time by ignoring you! I fail to listen to your guidance and direction. I fail to hear your voice when you are yelling at me.
The Holy Spirit is with me all the time, even when I don’t listen to him. It’s kind of comical to me that when I don’t listen to the Holy Spirit. He’ll kick me in the butt immediately after I mess up and seemingly say to me, “See, I told you to listen to me, dummy.” (This is my interpretation of how I feel when the Holy Spirit says this to me.)
If I listen to the Holy Spirit, as given to me through Jesus, I actually do pretty well. I make good decisions, I’m led to the right path, and I’m overall happy. When I don’t listen to the Holy Spirit, I usually make poor decisions, start going down the wrong path, and am overall not very happy. It is a being stubborn thing for me. I like to listen to myself a lot because I think I know better for myself or I forget to lean on the Holy Spirit. When I try to do things my way, I always fail. I’m a slow learner.
When I shut-up and listen, I can hear the Holy Spirit pretty well. But there is a lot of noise in my life and in the world I live in blocks me from shutting-up and listening to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is my teacher and I’m the student. But like I was in school, I wasn’t very good at listening. I do a lot better now than I used to and I’m not embarrassed to say that I still, sometimes, or a lot of times─don’t let the Holy Spirit lead me as I should let Him.
I really need the Holy Spirit. I recognize that I need the Holy Spirit all the time. It’s just that my stubbornness of thinking─thinking that I know better gets in the way of my listening to His teachings and guidance. I’m doing better than I used to (I hope). In my early walk with Jesus, I had a hard time listening to the Holy Spirit─that voice in my head and in my heart that led me to what I needed to do, to listen to, and needed to be obedient to.
The Holy Spirit will never guide me down the wrong path or toy with me. The Holy Spirit is there to guide me in my walk with Jesus and to impart to me the knowledge I need to make it in this fallen world. I think that’s my problem; it’s this fallen world that I’m stuck in that blinds me at times to what the Holy Spirit is trying to covey to me.
In our society, and how I was raised, I was expected to rely on no one else except myself to make it in this world. I learned to not rely on other people to help me out because I was the only one who knew what is best for me, and my future. I knew what was best for me and relied on myself for support and motivation. This was, of course, before I knew Jesus, but old habits die, hard.
In my (slow) growing walk with Jesus over the last few years, I have been getting better at relying on the Holy Spirit. But I admit that I fall back into my old habit of relying on myself for guidance and growth. I have this battle daily with myself and when I rely on myself, I don’t do so well. I’d give myself a grade of “C” for my reliance on the Holy Spirit. I’m working myself up to a “B” and hope that as my walk with Jesus continues throughout my life, my grade will rise to an “A+.” I have faith I can do that, I just have to get over “myself” first.
Before I knew and accepted Christ in my life, I never knew the Holy Spirit. My life was going pretty well. I was making good money, had the house, a wife, the kids, the whole nine yards, in a worldly kind of way. Only when I accepted Christ and began walking with Him was I introduced to the Holy Spirit. It was quite an eye-opener to have Him in my life.
I can look back now and see how much the Holy Spirit tried to move me in my early walk. I can also see the patience the Holy Spirit has had with me as I look back in my walk with Jesus. The Holy Spirit was trying to nudge me a little closer to Jesus each day. As I was growing in my relationship with Christ, the Holy Spirit was right there with me, a little nudge here, a big nudge there, and powerful insights when I listened.
I find that when I focus on listening to the Holy Spirit, I am greatly blessed. When I read the Word and ask for the Holy Spirit to help me study and understand the Word, the Bible’s teachings seem so much more enriching than when I just sit down and read it on my own without asking the Holy Spirit to help me understand the words as I read them.
When I write these commentaries, I find that when I just try to write something on my own, I end up not writing very good commentaries and you never see them because I delete them. But when I ask for the Holy Spirit to give me words or direction, words seem to flow from my fingers so much easier.
I guess I can say when I focus on the Holy Spirit I am good at listening─when it comes to the “big” things in life that relate to the Word or Jesus. I find I struggle with listening to the Holy Spirit in the little things of life. I know this is an area where I need some work.
Am I saying I need to ask the Holy Spirit what I should eat for breakfast: eggs or oatmeal? No, but I do need to rely on the Holy Spirit for everyday decisions that have future consequences. For me, as an example, I’m bipolar. When I’m in a mood cycle I’m prone to make frequent financial mistakes. I think I know best and I hastily purchase things I don’t need or make financial commitments that I come to regret. I always find myself thinking afterwards (buyers regret) that I should have prayed for guidance from the Holy Spirit. Yet, when I look back, I knew the Holy Spirit was there, but my messed up thinking interfered with what I was doing in the moment and I was deaf to the Holy Spirit talking to me.
I’ve recently been making a conscience decision to ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance more than I have done in the past. It is very comforting that when I do ask for guidance, my heart and mind are led to decisions that I would have otherwise not made based on my own thoughts and desires. I find this relieving in a way I really can’t explain. When I put decisions for guidance through prayer, I find the burden of the decision is lifted off my mind because I know the answer (sometime I don’t like the answer) will be correct, true, and right.
I find that when I pray and wait and listen for the Holy Spirit’s guidance for decisions I need to make, I’m not as stressed or worried about what to do, because I know that the Holy Spirit is working things out for me for the best and in a direction to take me to the right decision or guidance. I have also learned to be more patient.
I used to want the answer, “right now!” Yet, I have learned to be patient on waiting for the Holy Spirit’s direction for me. Instead of demanding an answer right away, I can trust that the answer or guidance will come to me at the time that it is needed. I can feel in my heart and mind when the guidance is provided because I feel an overwhelming feeling of absoluteness when I ask for direction on finances, work related issues or family and church concerns. It is quite refreshing, actually. Again, though, this is an area where I am still growing and need the Holy Spirit to work on me with. Waiting for the Holy Spirit’s guidance occurs when I’m cognizant of what I’m doing and when I don’t forget to rely on myself for answers.
I’m sure there are more Christians out there that do better than me at listening to the Holy Spirit and His guidance. I’m sure there are Christians who are the same as me, or worse. To me, this is part of the walk with Christ and people are at different stages in their walk with Jesus and being attuned to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
To the unbeliever, the Holy Spirit is a big mystery. Those of us in the walk with Jesus can understand that the Holy Spirit was a mystery before being saved. If you want that guidance, if you want the Holy Spirit to guide you, you need Jesus. Once you accept Christ in your life (or maybe you need to renew your walk with Christ), the Holy Spirit will come to you to guide you to Jesus and in your studies in the Word.
Accept Christ and the Holy Spirit will guide you to discern right from wrong, to know what Jesus wants for you, and how you should walk in your journey with Christ. The Holy Spirit is the amazing gift from Christ that enables us to walk on the straight and narrow path to righteousness. If you pass on accepting Christ and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, you may think you are doing right and living right, but you aren’t.
Jesus is the way to eternal life and the Holy Spirit is your own personal guide to lead you to saving grace. The moment you accept Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can open that gift from Christ: the Holy Spirit. You can trust in the Holy Spirit to lead you to always live for Christ and to walk with Christ in a personal relationship with Him. Accept this gift from Christ today.
If you are like me, don’t lose faith in listening for the Holy Spirit. I find that shutting-up and listening is a great tool in listening for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and teachings. This is something that takes effort and practice to hear His voice in your heart and mind. Don’t give up.
Be patient and listen to your heart when you seek the Holy Spirit for guidance, when you are studying the Bible, asking for guidance on life decisions or looking for answers to questions you have. The Holy Spirit is real and will guide you to the right direction Christ has for you.