In the Christian tradition, the Holy Spirit is nothing less than God manifested inside us—a gift bestowed on us when Christ rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:16-18). In other scripture, the Holy Spirit is called the Comforter.
The reality and presence of the Holy Spirit is a core piece of my faith and of my experience as a seeker. I believe Spirit loves, guides, and supports me in seeking God and seeking Truth. I believe if I am open, Spirit can check my actions if I am beginning to go astray.
Unfortunately, the world is not all goodness and light. There are forces of evil that wreak havoc with us in small and large ways. We have thoughts that can sometimes be positive and nurturing, but at other times, they can be negative and destructive. The same is true of voices we hear from other people, in person or through various media channels. How can we be sure we're hearing the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit amidst all the noise and competing voices in the world?
Maybe we can begin to answer this question by knowing what messages we'll never hear from the Holy Spirit. In a recent sermon, the Very Rev. Alexander D. MacPhail, a Connection Messenger who has been featured on this blog before, said something that made me whip out my pen to write it down:
Beyond your emotions, beyond your thoughts, beyond even your faith, the Holy Spirit is still present. It will never leave you. It will never say to you that you are not loved. It will never tell you that you are not enough. It is there within you to give you peace and strength and daily communion with God, whether you feel it or not. So take courage, be vulnerable with God, and trust.
Think about that. Let it seep deep down into your soul.
If you ever hear a voice—even your own self-talk—that comes from a place of scarcity (e.g., “I'm not good enough.” “I'm not thin enough.” “I'm not rich enough.” “I'm not smart enough.”), know that this is never going to be the voice of the Holy Spirit. Therefore you can reject it as a lie and claim, instead, the true promise of God: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
How do you discern the voice of the Holy Spirit? Your comments are valued and cherished.
To read the entire sermon by The Very Rev. Alexander D. MacPhail, CLICK HERE.