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A Gift Often Left Unopened: the Holy Spirit

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A Gift Often Left Unopened:

the Holy Spirit

Thanksgiving always begs the question, what are we thankful for? One gift our Father gives us is the Holy Spirit to teach, help, guide and counsel each one of us. John 14:15-17, 1 John 2:27

For years, I felt like God forgot me on this account. There were several reasons for this, but a couple were I really didn’t ask (Luke 11:13) and I wasn’t making an effort to listen. The Spirit is given to help us, but if we aren’t seeking and listening we’ll believe He isn’t there at all.

This gift we have been given is tremendous. If you’ve never stopped to listen to His counsel you may wonder – what is it like? Here is a quote I pulled off a fellow blogger’s site, RunHoly, from a woman and her experience of this gift;

“I know when the Lord is speaking to me because literally the air around me changes. There is a stillness that settles all my raging emotions and questions and simply bids me to be silent, listen, and consider what I hear. And then it’s almost as if it comes from the center of my being–the answer, the revelation, the instruction, and it is sealed in this definite place inside of me that I can’t describe. I only know that I must do what I’ve been prompted to do. If I resist, I can’t breathe, but when I say yes and obey, the most incredible sense of knowing and peace overtakes me, and the matter is settled once and for all.” –Michelle Mckinney Hammond

To learn to listen to the Spirit’s leading in our lives is an art especially these days with all the noise around us and in our heads. Cultivating this habit of being still and hearing the Spirit’s counsel is critical for several reasons:

The Spirit’s counsel:

• Is contrary to man’s wisdom
• Brings God’s power into our actions
• Has fruitful outcomes
• Is different from man’s wisdom

The Bible is loaded with examples of these points but here are two that I recently read. In Luke 5:5, fishermen had been casting their nets all day and catching nothing. Jesus told them to cast the nets out one more time. But what would another cast do when all the previous ones turned up empty? According to the wisdom of the world, it would be stupid to waste time and energy doing exactly what you had done before and what you proved doesn’t work, right? But at Jesus’ word, they cast their nets one more time and caught so much fish that their boat started to sink. The Spirit’s counsel is contrary to the world’s and at His counsel things happen. When He tells us to do something it’s for a reason and when we act according to His instruction, we are acting in a power beyond ourselves. We accomplish what we could never do on our own.

If the Spirit tells us to do something and we don’t or we aren’t listening, we will miss out on the blessing. What if those fishermen just ignored Him? What if they listened but said – you’re crazy there aren’t any fish I’m tired and going home? Often, when we do hear His instruction, we don’t realize it was His instruction and/or we talk ourselves out of following it because it doesn’t resonate with the wisdom we know and miss out on the blessings. God’s ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts and that is why it’s so important to develop the art of listening to the Spirit. God wants to do so much in our lives, but many aren’t listening. And we have to listen to Him because His counsel is different from most counsel we receive. Many are praying and crying out to God, but are they listening to the instruction that will be an answer to their prayer?

Another great example is Joshua who sought and listened to God’s counsel and the accomplishments in his life showed it. The time he didn’t seek God’s counsel in Joshua 9:14 and acted on his own judgment he was defeated. But when he sought God’s counsel and obeyed it, God prospered all his efforts. It was tremendous the nations he conquered and the battles he won. But look at the crazy instructions God gave him, Jericho being a great example. Walking around a city blowing trumpets in order to conquer it? Doesn’t seem like a very effective strategy by the world’s definitions of logic. However, it brought the walls down and the Israelites took over the city. What unique counsel; not something man’s wisdom would suggest. But the oddity of God’s guidance brought glory to whom glory and praise are due – God. There was no doubt it was God’s doing. Listening to His instruction is for our good and His glory. Joshua 23:10, Judges 7:2

A main point of these two scenarios in Luke and Joshua and MANY others in the Bible where we see the uniqueness, contrary nature, power and outcomes of God’s counsel is that we should seek His counsel and not our own. We need to learn to listen to the one He gave us to counsel us, the Holy Spirit. He uses different strategies and if we aren’t listening we won’t know what they are and we’ll act in our own judgment and we will live the consequences of it.

What does it mean to be lead by the Spirit? To listen to the Spirit? To seek His counsel? It means abiding in the entire Word of God to become personally aquainted with His voice to be able to discern it in our lives. It means cultivating the habit of being still in His presence, seeking His counsel, understanding confirmation and acting on it. I’m finding this practice has MANY rewards as I’m learning to listen. When we are listening to His counsel for our lives and walking in it then we are doing His will and not our own of what we think we should do. We are walking in the spirit – literally walking according to His words.

God gave the Spirit to reside with us always to teach, counsel and guide. But if we never stop and listen, what’s the point of this incredible gift? It is like having a present that you never open and use. He has given us the Spirit for our good, to help us and lead us where we need to go, and to fill our lives with actions done in God’s power not ours.

This holiday season take time to consider this awesome gift and show true gratitude by cultivating the art of seeking and listening to His counsel. You never know what will happen – perhaps your nets will break or you’ll conquer those seemingly impossible giants. Whatever it is you’ll be acting in His power that is bound to blow your socks off.

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Author: Rachel

My passion is cultivating a deep relationship with God and helping others to do the same. I LOVE sharing with others insights that God has taught me and hearing what God has taught them... thus my blog, Stirring the Deep. My focus is on a relationship, not a religion. Life is in the relationship. I believe in a balance and unity of body, mind and spirit. I feel it's important to nurture all three for they all affect each other. I try to live in the present, where the Holy Spirit is. And I try to do all with the motive of love. I've come to believe life is a journey and not a destination. It isn't about perfection, is it about growth.

20 thoughts on “A Gift Often Left Unopened: the Holy Spirit

  1. I love Michelle McKinney Hammond’s description of how it feels when the Lord speaks to her. Exactly how I feel. There is nothing as wonderful, calming, peaceful and special as hearing from the Lord when we listen. I really have to be intentional to take time to listen to Him during this busy season. Other things, even good things can trip me up if I’m not intentional.

    Lee Ann

  2. Yes,
    This is really good Rachel. Seeking Jesus and walking with Him are definitely free will decisions. We cannot passively expect to know Him, we do not simply inherit the knowledge of God, or else He would not have said
    “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
    Matthew 7:7 KJV
    He has given us the key and the tools, and the invitation. The key is the Holy Spirit, the tools are His Word, and the invitation is directly from Him. It’s time for us to respond.

    • Nathan – so very well stated! Often we just assume that we know Him, but until we truly seek it is an image we hold not a true relationship.

  3. Hi Rachel
    Um-umm this is good stuff and I did so enjoy the read,there’s nothing like quiet time with the Lord and hearing from him is much like I read in your post there is a knowing deep inside then I keep hearing the same word over & over it’s just such peace then the more we listen and obey the more the Holy Spirit reveals our God to us! Oh yea I’m listening and I’m waiting for God to bless my sock’s off just like he said “Hallelujah”!!!!!

  4. Hi sis,
    I was blessed to see that you stopped by today to share your heart. I know how important it is to be still and alway the spirit to minister to my soul. Even during times of anxiousness I know he speaks to my spirit because there is such a peace within, and I start to calm down as he quiets my spirit from all worry and fear.
    love this post!!!

    hugz Lorie

  5. This is an excellent post. As Christmas draws near, the media will turn up the buy now message. However, silent night speaks to this awesome spirit of The Lord. The words of Jesus should be close to our hearts and souls. You have a gift in terms of communicating God’s Spirit. Let those with ears to hear: Hear what The Spirit has to say.

    • Dr. Lee – what a great reminder to be especially attentive to the Spirit during this holiday season when the world tries to consume our minds and actions. Thanks.

  6. Good post. Glad I took time to read it.

    I have often thought that the same creativity that God used during creation is still very much a part of His nature. One outlet for that creativity today is the making of a way out in whatever difficulty we are facing. For a God who longs to show Himself able, He is often bound by our lack of faith/trust. Too often we are too quick to agree with Satan’s suggestion that He can’t, that we don’t take the time to let God say that He can. We don’t take the time to ‘Be still . . . and know that He is God’.

    Mike

    • Mike – I’ve was thinking about a similar thought this morning – how our lack of belief has prohibited the power of God to act in our lives. Many Christians are trusting in man to heal, provide and protect and not God – and that is their downfall. They aren’t abiding in the Word of God which gives them the faith to live according to His ways and promises. We are to live by faith – faith activiates the power of God in our lives. Thanks for a point well made.

  7. I am reminded of Psalm 1 which starts with, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night”. Seeking God’s counsel is always the way to start. As King Asa found out, when you try to do things apart from God, you will always fail.
    I believe that as we take time to meditate on God’s word and listen for his counsel, we learn most of all the sound of his voice. ( My sheep know my voice) Then when the attacks from the enemy come in, that lovely voice of God’s will be heard loud and clear to take us to victory.

    • Marianne – so true and how important to learn and know His voice. Without truly knowing it we lack discernment from the other voices – especially those of false teachers and prophets. In addition when we know His voice, when He calls us in a new direction or one different from the masses we will follow – and how important especially in these days when many will be deceived by a strong delusion.

  8. Thank you, Rachel, for the thoughtful post. I believe the Spirit has been working with me a lot this year, teaching me and guiding me!

    You said, “I’m finding this practice has MANY rewards as I’m learning to listen.” I know what you mean. I’ve had so many special moments, and the Word has reached me as it never has before. It’s still very much a process; I still have so much to learn about discerning His answers and then heeding them. To use your description… I’ve been still in His presence – it’s such a glorious thing – and I am seeking His counsel. I pray I will understand His confirmation and be full of His strength and love to act on it.

    As always, thanks for sharing these truths and encouragement!

    • Ruth – it is so wonderful to hear how God is speaking to you. And you are right it is very much a process. I’m learning more all the time what it means to listen to the spirit. And even once we understand certain aspects, cultivating the habit sometimes takes time after living in a whirlwind state for most of our lives. But it is journey to abundant life.

  9. Rachel, Your post confirms many issues in my personal walk with God. The ONLY way to enjoy and please God – (in His amazing love, they are one and the same thing) is to realize your complete inability without Him but instead of feeling deprived you gladly and wholeheartedly receive the help of the Holy spirit and the difference is clear. Your prayer becomes – Lord please put me on a leash and pull me anytime I start believing the lies of the enemy again and wander away from the help of the Holy Spirit. Greater is HE who is in us than He who is the world! Thank God for your ministry and your willingnes to share. May You continue to be a fertile soil for His many manifestations. May you be blessed accordingly too.
    I am currently reading ‘The Spirit Of Christ’ by Andrew Murray, an ancient author who IMO was led by Him too. Sometimes it makes me just break down and sob….God is really good!!!

    • Roz . . . this is such an important area of lives – the state of our minds. Our minds are so powerful in what they create and all the more reason they need to be inline with His will and truth. thanks for your comments – I truly enjoy hearing what other people are learning and experiencing in their relationship with God.

  10. Pingback: The PERFECT Counselor « Stirring the Deep

  11. Hey Rachel, as I hear you speak, I know the feeling. It is the hidden(for ages) mystery of God that was reveled with Jesus!

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