ISSUES OF FAITH: Let the Holy Spirit guide you in all things

“WITH GOD, YOU are never alone.”

If you are a Christian of any stripe you have probably heard this a hundred or more times.

When you hear something many times, it can lose its meaning, or you simply take for granted the meaning of words. You may come to a point where you say, OK, prove this to me, or how does this affect my life right now?

When you hear the words, “With God you are never alone,” you have the right to question this, but you also need to have a mind open enough to listen. I want some evidence, you may say — but first, you must open your heart or there is nothing God can really do to manifest himself and give you that awesome feeling of peace.

The greatest hindrance to peace is doing what we want instead of doing what God wants us to do.

Sometimes our will and God’s will collides, and that makes for a good day. But if God is so distant or nonexistent in our lives that indecision, anxiety and stress are our daily companions, then maybe we are not allowing God to shape us and mold us and we are that swimmer going against the tide, exhaustively fighting, ebbing energy, when it could be so much easier.

The Holy Spirit (the what, you say) is the quiet guide in our life.

A Christian man was walking across the street in Aleppo, Syria, when an internal voice compelled him to stop. At that moment, a bullet whizzed by, so close to his face that he could feel the heat. “I was saved,” he said, tears in his eyes.

This is the voice of the Holy Spirit. We have trouble trusting in a God that we don’t see sitting beside us because we are the kind of people that need that.

We aren’t unique that way; we are simply that latest in a long line of generations that, kind of like the Apostle Thomas, must see to believe. Oh, but Jesus said, blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.

I can almost guarantee you that prayer will interfere with your life. It may change your life and lead you, like Peter, to places you don’t want to go.

There is a big difference between “want” and “should” — I want to do this, but maybe I should do this. If you are a human being, then this quandary is probably a daily thing.

This is where the Holy Spirit enters (actually, the Holy Spirit is with us always) and provides us guidance and protection, but infinitely more so when our hearts are into it.

We see the Holy Spirit very much alive and tangible in the Acts of the Apostles. As someone once said to me, “This isn’t the intention of the Apostles, but Acts.”

Paul and Timothy were traveling at one point from city to city, sharing the love and truth of Jesus, but were “prevented by the Holy Spirit” from preaching in certain cities (Acts 16:1-10).

We don’t know how the Spirit manifested itself in this particular instance, but we know it was clear to Paul and Timothy at that time.

Our walk with God begins at baptism. The catechism states that baptism gives us “the power to live and act under the prompting of the Holy Spirit,” and when we follow the Spirit, we become “free collaborators in his work in the Church and in the world.”

This means we can’t always do our own thing, what we want to do, but what we should do. Why? Because life, like truth, is not always easy.

God desires personal holiness in us, not a continual replay, or slide, into our own, private type of margaritaville. Think about it.

If you want to know how the Holy Spirit affects your life, then that is most likely something between you and God. God is not a showoff. He does, though, try to create his awesome image in each of us. God expects you to work for this, but he rewards effort.

I can’t help but think of all the new graduates at all different levels of schooling and wish them well. God is their sponsor, their godparent, their advocate all in one, and in the end, he offers peace.

Money can’t buy that, but folks chase it with dollars anyway. With prayers for our world, we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in all things.


Issues of Faith is a rotating column by five religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. Mike Acheson is director of religious education at Queen of Angels Roman Catholic Church in Port Angeles and St. Joseph Parish in Sequim.

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