Suggested Reading: Acts 20:17-38
I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me.—Acts 20:22-23
When we have the Holy Spirit abiding or dwelling within us, we have an onboard spiritual warning and detection system present that is awesome, and the more we are sensitized to him the more we will benefit in particular ways and overall. Because of the Spirit testifying to Paul, Paul was never taken off guard or unprepared for the persecution he faced in any city he was witnessing Christ. He did not do anything unaware because the Spirit had warned him, told him in advance there would be trouble, attacks, even imprisonment.
Very recently we were traveling back home from Detroit Michigan where my husband had officiated at a funeral service. As we started back home and headed toward the interstate, I turned on Google maps because we were in an area that was not familiar to us. As we drove along, we were happy the roads were unusually clear for that time of day and anticipated making good time. Admittedly, our speed might have been a bit above the legal limit but since we were going with the flow of traffic we did not think much about it. However, at a certain point Google said, “Warning: There is a speed trap ahead.” Did that caution my husband to slow down a bit! Afterward Google gave us the all-clear and away we went.
We probably do not utilize the power of the Holy Spirit in this area nearly as much as we could in life. Perhaps for the big things, our crisis, and problems we will remember he is here for us, remember he is that immensely powerful, divine presence God has sent to aid us in life. But he is also a wonderful spiritual warning system as well.
Sometimes we call him our intuition. You know, that feeling we get inside our gut that is telling to do, and especially common, not to do something. That feeling that comes when we are about to make a decision about something and it’s not the right decision for us to make, one we may later regret. That feeling that cautions us not to push that payment button another time when we are paying or purchasing something online; that gnawing feeling we have right before we say something that should not be said; that feeling that says, “pause before you go further, say more, do this or that”…You know what I mean! That is God’s way of directing and guiding us as he has promised. The Spirit will warn us about every day things, but also testify to us about the activity or plans of the enemy which are meant for our destruction or harm.
Jesus said, “When the Counselor Comes, he will lead you into all truths.” (John 15:26). All truth includes testifying, warning, and advising; that is what a skilled counselor does also. They don’t just listen and say, “Hmmm, or “Well, what do you think you should do?” They also advise us not to do that thing we are considering or warn against the dangers of putting something into motion in our life that they know from experience will turn out badly; caution us what to look out for. They are not ordering us to take their advice or heed their counsel. We always have the option of following what they have shared or ignoring their words of wisdom and doing it our way, but they have done their job and leant their expertise to help our life go smoother or avoid danger or pitfalls.
I appreciated Google’s warning that day. It made us chuckle but also made me remember the power of the One the Lord has sent to us daily. As he did for Paul, the Spirit partners with us to warn and prepare us for what’s ahead.
Praise God our spiritual Companion and inner warning system does not give up on us but is faithful to do what God has sent him to do in our life. We can make it our daily goal to pay closer attention, but even when we fall short God is faithful to send him again the next day, giving us another chance to deny the enemy victory, and us to grow in knowledge and execute wisdom for living in the Spirit’s power and ministry. Let’s Pray,
God, each day we learn something new or are reminded about the things we already know such as the awesome guidance and work of the Holy Spirit and the way he comes to warn us. Forgive us for not heeding as often as we should, for talking over him, for persisting in doing things our way and in our time. We always regret when we do this. Grant us, we pray a more obedient spirit and attitude. We may not be able to live this life perfectly, get by without any mishaps or mistakes, but with your Holy Spirit guiding and warning us we can come mighty close! In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
Reflection: How are you encouraged and inspired to pay closer attention to the Spirit’s testifying and warning you of approaching danger?