Sometimes being a disciple of Jesus means listening first.
I am a disciple of Jesus. So, where does that leave me with the Holy Spirit? In some pop theologies, if I don’t talk about the Holy Spirit, praise the Holy Spirit, etc. all the time, I am being unfaithful and will undoubtedly miss some great blessings. Others say I don’t even have the Holy Spirit unless I manifest some miraculous indication that He is in me.
But is that true?
The disciple of Christ has an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit as “the one called alongside” (John 14). He is with us as counselor, confidant, conscience, teacher, encourager…so many things embodied by the image of one called to stand/walk alongside another as they go through life. He is with us and guiding us in every situation. Let me share an example.
A few days ago Donna and I were headed home after the blessing of watching four of the grandkids while their parents were out for some married people time. We live only 7 miles from them, but the gas tank was approaching empty and I decided I should fill it so that we wouldn’t feel rushed the next morning as we prepare to go to the worship service.
As I gassed up I noticed an SUV pulling in to the other side of the island. It was packed solid with household belongings and had a pile about three feet high strapped to the top of the vehicle. The driver got out and went into the gas station. As I was preparing to leave, he came back out and I said “Hi” to him. He smiled and returned my greeting. I said “Have a safe trip—looks like you’re pretty loaded down”, and he replied that they were moving to Amarillo having been driven from their home by the flooding of Barry in Louisiana. They had 4 ½ hours more to go (at 10 pm) but, he said, “the Lord will see me through”. His weariness and grief were written on his face.
That’s when the one alongside me (not Donna) said so clearly, “Get up and pray with him. Encourage him.”
To those who don’t know the Lord this part sounds strange, mystical or just delusional. It must be what I think He was saying to me, or what I think He would say if He were talking to me. But to those who are disciples, that clear voice is no mystery. It was familiar and unmistakable.
I got out of my car and said, “I serve the Lord who is seeing you through, and I just want to ask Him to strengthen and encourage you and your wife. Would it be ok if I prayed for you?” He was very receptive and grateful. As we prayed, I could feel Donna walking around me and joining in the prayer. When we finished praying, both he and his wife were in tears, and expressed their gratitude and encouragement that someone would stop and pray for them. We talked for about 20 minutes, encouraging them and letting them know our prayers would not stop there.
I don’t know how important that encounter was to them. It seemed pretty important and they said it was very beneficial. What I do know is that the Holy Spirit knows, and that listening to Him and obeying Him is part of my following Jesus. Each day I pray that my children and grandchildren will be part of God’s solution in the world, and not part of the problem. Of course, that’s something I want for myself as well. But since I can’t see the impact of what I do in everyone else’s life, if I am to be part of that solution, I have to be willing to listen, and to follow the guidance of the one who walks with me. It is part of being a disciple of Jesus.
If you follow Jesus, listen today to the guidance of the one He has given us and follow that guidance.
Know Jesus and Be Faithful.