The Ways of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit calls us in many ways: through our thoughts to follow him, to address this issue or that, to allow him to heal us, through our dreams, a friend’s suggestion of a movie to see. An idea heard two or three times in as many days. An invitation to see or hear with new eyes, new ears. A book recommended to you. A call to something dear to your soul. A course to take. A movie to see. Thoughts that cross your mind that don’t think like you usually do. A Biblical verse or story that has captivated you. A recurring theme in your dreams. All of these can be ways that the Holy Spirit can capture our attention and draw us into his ways of thinking and being. And probably through many more ways.

God has a plan for each of us. And a curriculum to follow, if we’re willing to say, “Yes!” to God. The curriculum taught by the Holy Spirit is a step by step highlighting of the things that stand between us and God. If we are aware of his “still, silent voice”[1 Kings 19:12] that thinks in our thoughts, we then have the choice to follow what He suggests to us. If we ignore his promptings, then we stay deeply rooted in the world. If we choose to follow his ideas of what we should do next, we will be guided along a healing path wherein our attachments and pain and suffering will be highlighted and healed, greatly transforming us over time. In this way we can come to live what we believe.

The Holy Spirit can speak directly to us as in these words He once asked me in my thoughts: “How can I say I love God when I cannot love my mother?” Now I had never admitted to myself how I held her at arm’s length. I had never admitted that I was not listening to anything she said. I was in my early 40’s when this thought came to me; I was still a teenager in the relationship with my Mom. And so I tried to become an adult in the relationship with her; I felt like a total bitch, because I was taught never to talk back to or challenge my parents. This went on for quite a while until one weekend my husband and I were visiting her. Again, trying to be an adult, to insert my opinions into the conversation, engage her in a new way, but it felt awful to me. But at least I was trying. She saw us off at the railroad station in town. As we waited for the train on the platform, we were surrounded by a cloud of love. That’s what I experienced.

All the way from Delaware to Connecticut all I could do was exclaim this: “I can’t believe that God took my bitchiness and turned it into love!” That cloud of love changed everything: she changed from complaining about everything I did as not being enough to being grateful for everything I did—for the rest of her life! And I could love her as she was! In listening to God and just wanting to follow what He was suggesting, He transformed both of us where we were stuck.

As these experiences out of our past of guilt and shame, pain and suffering are healed, we find that we are affirmed deeply in who we are—that is our true self, the soul, is affirmed, while our ego begins to recede gradually until it finally comes under the direction of the soul, the home of the Indwelling Spirit of God within us. That is the process of becoming who God created us to be—peeling away the layers of acculturation and worldly thinking that we grew up in, allowing us to become the people God created us to be.

This spring I was reading a book about a young missionary couple who had an incredible love story in which the wife died young. After fifty pages I put the book down; I couldn’t read anymore. I thought I had thoroughly grieved my husband’s death sixteen years previous, but I now was full of grief and love, unacknowledged and forgotten. Once I saw so clearly what was brought to the surface in me, I could own my sorrow and live with it.

These are two ways that the Lord highlights our next lessons. And it is important that we learn whatever the current lesson is, so that we can be healed of that and move on to the next one. This is how the spiritual life in Christ is meant to go. We have a God who does not violate our free will. He invites us to consider issues that we have, but never forces Himself on us. When we are willing to do as He suggests, then we are inviting him in to heal us of that particular issue. And then we are ready to face to next step in this life-long journey into his arms.

Being human beings, as inconstant and rebellious as we can be, we often miss the issues between us and God that need to be addressed, because we are unaware of them or maybe we are refusing to look at them. Our part in the relationship with God is to be faithful to Him, to do what He asks of us, to answer His invitations with a resounding, “Yes!” As we are faithful and persevere in the path He lays out for us, we experience more and more healing, more and more freedom to be who we truly were created to be, freedom from all that we’ve carried that is not ours, free to look at our lives from a broader, truer perspective, free to feel God’s love for us at our very core.

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Questions to ponder over the week: what is the Holy Spirit underlining or highlighting for you in your life? Are there Biblcal passages or verses that you are continually drawn to? And what are you to learn from those passages? Is there something the Holy Spirit keeps suggesting that you do? Do you notice the “coincidences” of hearing about the same book or idea in two or three different places within a day or two? Do you have recurring themes in your dreams? Do you pay attention to what the Spirit may be saying to you and act on his suggestions?

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Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who are healed and transformed. May we each listen to the voice of the Indwelling Spirit of God and do exactly what it says. May we attach ourselves to the kingdom of God.

 

Check out the archives on this page of my blog going back to 2011 at bythewaters.net/blog.html.

There are two new videos now on my FB page, By the Waters: “The Essence of Christianity” and “I Am Free.”

 

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