What Is The Right Thing To Do?
Galatians 5:16 (TLB)
I advise you to obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions. He will tell you where to go and what to do, and then you won’t always be doing the wrong things your evil nature wants you to.
In my day-to-day walk with God, there are times when I am not certain as to where to go and what to do. Other times, my senses and feelings tell me to go to places and to do things that may not align with God’s intentions for me.
God gives us a mandate in His Word to “obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions”. This tells us that we have other sources that also tell us what to do and where to go. God clearly commands that we “obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions”. This is because only the Holy Spirit can instruct and direct us to act and live according to God’s ways.
A few days ago, someone sent me a phone message filled with sharp and cutting words. I thought that was totally uncalled for especially as what this person was relating was a matter we already had sat down to talk through the day before. During the talk, he expressed agreement with what I shared and I happily left thinking that the matter had been resolved.
All of this was dashed when I received that phone text from him the next morning. My human intellect told me to respond with telling him how wrong he was in saying all those things. My intellect told me to write back a message to shut him up and put right my reputation. My feelings told me that I did not have to put up with such verbal attack from him.
Yes, in spurts of anger and frustration, I wanted to respond with equally harsh words and animosity.
At the same time, God’s Word in Galatians kept resonating in me – “obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions”. I knew that what my intellect and feelings were telling me certainly opposed the Holy Spirit. But they were real – I thought that way and felt that way.
I had to consciously silence my thoughts and still my feelings, in order to obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions. I did not respond to the person’s text right away. For the Holy Spirit was instructing me, “You may be angry, but do not respond in anger.” My mind wanted to retaliate to say how sending a text to justify myself seemed reasonable. I had to determinedly silence what my mind was telling me. My feelings were screaming, “Unfair! Fight back!” I had to intentionally calm those emotions down lest they drowned out what the Holy Spirit was saying to me.
Only when I determined not to follow what my mind and feelings told me, was I able to fully embrace the Holy Spirit’s instruction to me. As I obeyed and did not respond to the person in anger, the Holy Spirit continued to direct me in the next course of action – “Give the person a phone call. Do so with a listening ear, compassionate heart and a spirit of love. Speak in gentleness.” I can honestly tell you, no part of my fleshly mind wants to do all these things after receiving all those cutting and accusatory words from the person.
I held on to Galatians 5:16 which says that when I obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions, then I would not be doing the wrong things my evil nature wants me to.
I called the person the next evening. It was tough for the first few minutes as the person put up a very hostile front. I persisted with all that the Holy Spirit instructed me – listening ear, compassionate heart, spirit of love, gentleness. The Holy Spirit began to give me just the right words to say to encourage the person to open up.
Thirty minutes later, the hostility was broken, mutual understanding established and our relationship not only restored but strengthened. The person acknowledged he was being immature to send that text and apologized. He asked me, “Aren’t you angry? I mean, I said those terrible things to you!” This gave me an opportunity to share with him how I felt and how I chose to act and behave as the Holy Spirit would have me to, instead of what my mind and feelings told me to.
Praise God for the Holy Spirit Who speaks to us intimately and personally. Yet, it is so important that we realize it is not ‘automatic’ that we hear Him each time. We have to silence what our mind says and calm what our emotions tell us. Then, we are able to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to our spirit, and choose to obey His instructions.
Let us quieten our hearts and pray.
“Dear God, I thank You for the Holy Spirit who dwells in me, showing me the way to go and directing me to do the right things. I want to obey Your instructions, O Holy Spirit, so that I do not do the wrong things that my natural flesh, mind and feelings want me to do. I commit to daily surrender my thoughts and feelings over to You, O God. Help me each day to be still amidst the various voices telling me what to do, so that I listen to and obey only what the Holy Spirit instructs me. I thank You that as I daily live this way, others will also come to see the power of Your Holy Spirit and glorify Your Name. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.”