Look for the Spirit

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Years ago, God gifted me with the ability to sit with, pray for, and comfort sick family members who were in the process of passing. In many ways, it gave other family members encouragement. It started with my grandma, then my dad, my mom, and then my brother. It was undoubtedly the hardest thing that I’ve ever done.  It was also the most humbling. I couldn’t understand why God chose me, but I followed my heart and really believe that I had the privilege and honor of walking each one home.

When my aunt got sick, I didn’t even try to see God working. I did the “responsible” things but not the “spiritual” things. She passed away, and I was left feeling like we’d both been cheated. I wasn’t focused on what God was doing, I wasn’t looking for the Spirit to lead me, and I wasn’t being obedient.

This weekend’s bottom line is obey God and trust him with the consequences.

Proverbs 29:18 (MSG)
If people can’t see what God is doing,
they stumble all over themselves;
But when they attend to what he reveals,
they are most blessed.

When our spirit is made alive through Jesus, we need to attend to what he reveals. We take steps in obeying him, and we can be focused on seeing what God is doing in our circumstances. Obeying and trusting God is easier said than done.

Thankfully we have someone to help us learn and see what God is doing. We read in the gospel of John, Jesus’s promise to send us the Holy Spirit.

John 14:15-17          
15If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.

He will never leave. He will lead you to the truth—he lives within you. He will teach us to trust him.

John 14:26
But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.

So, I am learning to live, trusting in God’s spirit, because the consequences of living without that trust, in my experience,  have been so much harder to bear. Through God’s will, things just simply fall into place, but when I exert my own will, it’s often like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It NEVER works out! I guess that’s really how I know if what I’m doing is his will or mine.

Questions:
Have there been times when you knew you were working according to God’s will. How did it make you feel?  How do you feel when you know you are not following the will of God?

Next Steps:
If you haven’t already, join in the 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting. Set aside time daily to be in the presence of God: reading, praying, and listening to praise and worship music.

Here’s a good song to start with: You’ve Got This by Love and the Outcome

21 Days Prayer:
Day 9 – Surrendering to him (Romans 12:1)

Heavenly Father, thank you for all you have given me: all the time, resources, relationships, and abilities. I now give them back to you. I surrender it all. For I am only a steward—it all belongs to you. God, guide my actions. Teach me to use what you have given me according to your will. Help me to listen for and obey your directions. May your will be done in me and through me. Amen.

For today’s prayer focus for parents click here.


This post was written by Julie Estep, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.


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10 replies
  1. Jeffery Ovens
    Jeffery Ovens says:

    Julie, I love your heart and compassion for people, especially the gift you share with your relatives.
    The paragraph you wrote this morning deserves repeating:
    “So, I am learning to live, trusting in God’s spirit, because the consequences of living without that trust, in my experience, have been so much harder to bear. Through God’s will, things just simply fall into place, but when I exert my own will, it’s often like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It NEVER works out! I guess that’s really how I know if what I’m doing is his will or mine.”
    Last week my 34 year old son asked me “how do you know when it is God that is working in your life ?”
    My answer contained snippets of the paragraph you wrote.
    You are spot on with that Julie, and it is so comforting to know that God is always with me and He will never leave me.

  2. Sarah Bucher
    Sarah Bucher says:

    What a great comparison between God’s will and our will. Our will can feel forced, like we are trying to make something happen right? I love when God connects all the dots and weaves everything together in a “good, pleasing and perfect” way. He is so much better at being God than me!

  3. Bryan Bockert
    Bryan Bockert says:

    What a great reminder for me that I’m times uncertainty that we pray for God’s will and to trust Him.

  4. Amy Crofts
    Amy Crofts says:

    Great reminder Julie! Coming from a self-proclaimed “control freak” learning to allow Gods will to let things just fall into place, is in fact harder said than done. Thanks for this!! 💛

  5. Nathan Campbell
    Nathan Campbell says:

    When we we start to begin to Trust God and leave all the consequences to him you can’t lose. You win every time because it is the will of God. I had the privilege of actually hearing Charles Stanley himself talk about this and it was truly amazing to hear how he uses this motto in everything he does in life. He told us this is the solution to every problem in life. It takes tremendous faith but in the end it will never fail. Thanks Ben for the reminder of this truth.

  6. Marna Ward
    Marna Ward says:

    How you laid out these promises of God was so encouraging – “He will never leave. He will lead you to the truth—he lives within you. He will teach us to trust him.” Resting right in those today.

  7. betty hughes
    betty hughes says:

    I have been their,which started with my friend of many years,she told me she was scared so we prayed and she repeated after me for asking for forgivens in JESUS name,years latter I through Jesus did the same for my Mom and then years latter my husband. Ever night I ask for forgivens for my sins ,for you never know if He wants to take you as you are sleeping.

  8. Luke Shortridge
    Luke Shortridge says:

    It’s easy to forget what it’s like to try to do life completely without God…and therefore it’s easy to try to do things on our own and not follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit! Today’s post was a great reminder of that for me. Thank you!

  9. Devin Cooper
    Devin Cooper says:

    Sometimes I have a hard time discerning between things working out because it’s God’s will, and things just working out. God’s will could be for me to do something out of my comfort zone. If I stay in my comfort zone and things just happen to work out because it’s easy, we can often be mislead by our own successes or shortcomings into thinking we’re right whether God wants us, doing what He wants.

    As I learn more and grow in my relationship with God, my hope is that it’s prayer, and alone time with God, giving us the opportunity to hear from him in the quiet stillness and in His word that will make the difference and bring discernment.

  10. Rebecca Roberts
    Rebecca Roberts says:

    I like how you said, “when our spirit is made alive through Jesus we need to attend to what he reveals.” It’s like saying that Jesus is the reason for why we exist and that gives us life. We are just required to be present to what Jesus shows us.
    I think that when we have that understanding, it allows the spirit to work in our lives to reveal Gods will and to have the boldness to take obedient steps.

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