During a study last night, we studied how to tell the Holy Spirit is moving in a Christian’s life. When the bible doesn’t give us a specific answer to a question in life – what college do I choose, when to have a baby, what career should I begin – listening to the Holy Spirit can reveal the answer.
Trouble is, we often don’t want to listen. To do so means confronting our own self-deceptions, our own pride, and our own sinful desires. Often the best way to tell if you’re not listening to the Holy Spirit is a sense of unease, a discombobulation in your life, that things don’t quite feel right. We have many ways to keep from hearing God’s voice, including unrepentent sin that we don’t want to give up, our own self-will in deciding that we already know and do not need advice from God, or just being impatient and not wanting to wait for an answer.
So how do you intentionally go about looking for guidance from the Holy Spirit? Here’s an exercise that’s worked for me. First, I read Mark 7:21-23,
For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’
Refelct on each one of them. Then get a piece of paper and a pencil. I don’t know why manually writing this down is so powerful, but online in a notepad doesn’t cut it, nor does just thinking about it. Write it down and then ask the following questions from a study called Essential Christianity and then… just wait. Wait for the Holy Spirit to give you guidance.
- Is there any action or behavior in my life that You want me to stop?
- Is there any action or behavior You want me to begin?
- Is there a person I have wronged? If so, how should I approach that person to ask forgiveness?
- Is there a person who has wronged me I have not yet forgiven?
- Is there a person You want me to care for, to serve, or to show love? What would You have me do?
- Is there any sin in my life that I need to confess and change my actions?
Most of the time, we already know what our problem is, we just don’t want to talk about it because we don’t like the fix. But when the Holy Spirit talks to you, He expects a response.