Picture yourself about to take your 4-year-old son, or grandson (or daughter/grand-daughter) on a walk. So, you start to drive to the park. As you are driving, some other driver cuts right in front of you. You can almost sense the angry words coming out of your heart about to make their way out of your mouth and then you stop those words from coming out. Why? It’s because you don’t want to expose the precious young one in the car with you, to your harsh words. It wouldn’t be a good thing for them. Right?
Finally, you get to the park, and as you start your walk in the park, you see two young people having a very, very public display of affection. Again, what do you think your first instinct will be? My guess is that like most people, you will veer off your course and go a different direction so the child with you doesn’t have to see something that they won’t understand and that is not a polite or respectable behavior in a public setting.
So, what’s my point and what’s the tie-in to the Holy Spirit? It’s this. In a fairly similar way to my awareness to exercise self-control and discernment to shield a child from an inappropriate behavior, I believe I need to grow much more in exercising that same discretion because of the awareness of the Spirit of God’s presence in my life. But the deeper level motivation is different though in one major way between not exposing a child to something harmful and not exposing the Spirit.
Shielding a child from negative behaviors is a protection for them. Shielding behaviors from the Spirit isn’t about protecting Him, but really about protecting me. It’s about looking for, depending on, and obeying His instruction. Afterall, the Holy Spirit is the one who identifies that certain behaviors are not holy. I’m thinking of activities, such as swearing, or losing my temper and cursing someone, or watching people take off their clothes and commit acts that should strictly be between a husband and his wife, etc. But, I’m realizing it goes well beyond that. For instance, if I do something for someone with a selfish motive, the Holy Spirit is right there, witnessing my plans play out, trying to help me realize my motivation for doing what I’m thinking about.. He gently seeks to speak truth to me. If I find myself staring longer at a pretty woman than I should be, again, the Spirit is there to whisper to me “do I really want to be doing that?” and “right now, are you thinking more about your self, or respecting the other person?”
I am learning that the Holy Spirit is wanting to help me understand His purity and the goodness that can come from following Him and His loving and wise ways. He wants to protect me. He desires to warn me of behaviors that are not good for me to be exposed to and that will bring about consequences and impressions that are not good for me. Best of all, He is there every step of the way with me.
To understand that God Himself, as the Holy Spirit lives within me is just so awesome!
It is so cool and then again, such a struggle. Why? Because just like a child wants to not always listen to their parents and assert their independence, I too, have a nature that craves power. I want to do my own thing. I want to do what I want, when I want, and how I want.
The question for me (and you) is that of trust. Can I, can you really trust the Heavenly co-pilot to give us directions throughout our day, every day and acknowledge, look for and submit to His ways?
The thoughts in this post today are challenging me in a big-time way. I hope they challenge you as well.
One final thought I felt led to share.
All I have written about up to now has been to those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ and now need to learn how to walk in a closer way with the Holy Spirit.
However, there may be some of you who have never really given up control of your life to Jesus in the first place. As of yet, you have never accepted from Him, the forgiveness of your sins because of the shed blood of Jesus on the cross.
You might believe there was a person in history called Jesus Christ, but to be honest, your belief in Jesus Christ as a historical figure is no different from your belief in the person of George Washington. Neither one is really making any difference today in the way you live your life.
My friend, if you are in the place where your belief in Jesus might be academic, without any real heartfelt knowledge or experience of His working in your life, I would encourage you right now to get alone with Him.
The thief on a cross next to Jesus understood that he was a sinful man, deserving of justice and punishment. However, as the thief observed the behavior of Jesus (and maybe, was aware of His godly reputation), the thief could sense that he was in the presence of deity. In great desperation, the thief sought grace and mercy from Jesus. 2 And he (the thief) said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he (Jesus) said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43 esv).
Have you ever spoken words of humility to God asking for His forgiveness, and mercy to you? If not, is it time?
I believe its time for God to have the rightful place in all of our hearts (not just our minds) and for us to live our life “all in” trusting Him with our lives.