Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:4-7)
I can’t see the Spirit in me anymore than I can see my heart inside me. In both cases, though, I can feel the action: my heart beats and God’s Spirit pulses.
I don’t usually notice my heartbeat unless it’s doing something out of routine: pounding, skipping or racing. That gets my attention. Otherwise I take it for granted that if I’m conscious and breathing, my heart is operational. I don’t worry about it. I don’t really think about it at all.
That can so easily happen with my consciousness of the Spirit within me. Once I’ve managed to grasp the truth that yes, God’s own Holy Spirit has been given to even me, and lives in me to guide and guard my heart — once I have really understood that and accepted it with amazement — it starts to become normal. It also becomes easy to proceed without thinking about the Spirit’s presence until He starts doing something to get my attention.
In my personal experience, the Spirit doesn’t pound, race or skip. He’s not pushy. But He does manifest HImself in ways I’ve come to recognize. Sometimes a person will drop into my thoughts out of the blue — a nudge to pray or make a contact. I’ll be in a situation that requires a decision or an intervention, and a Scripture will spring to mind that relates exactly. I’ll be on the slippery ground of judgment about someone, and suddenly flash back to a similar past act or attitude on my own part. Suddenly, judgment becomes repentance and compassion leading to prayer for the person. Often as I write in my devotional journal a scripture that has jumped out at me, the Spirit seems to take over and a scripture verse becomes an Inkling.
After so many years of apprenticeship, I’m well acquainted with my own thought patterns. These “drop-ins” of people, Scriptures and flashbacks are outside those usual patterns. They’re an “inside job,” the wonderful working of the Spirit in me. His guidance is perfect; my response isn’t always. But as the saying goes, God is still working on me. And in me. In fact, He works on me by working in me. That’s cause for rejoicing!
Another way I’ve experienced the manifestation of the Holy Spirit isn’t with words. It’s a sensation I can’t really describe and probably shouldn’t try. It’s happening right now as I write these words — a sense of complete peace, wellbeing and quiet joy. It’s full of affirmation, confirmation, and only happens when my thoughts are on Him and His Word. It’s His gentle and consistent validation that I’m in His presence. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it comforts me beyond telling. It quiets my mind (which has a marked tendency to pound, skip and race). It brings me to a place I’d like to live permanently, awash in His love, but that time is not yet.
Thank You, Father, for the incredible gift of Your Spirit for all who believe. Lead me, Lord, more and more out of myself and into You. In Jesus’ name I ask it. Amen.