If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
As Christ followers, we love to help others—it makes us feel like a good Christian! However, God tells us He doesn’t look at the outside (our actions). He looks at the heart behind them (1 Sam 16:7).
Many years ago, I discovered I have people-pleasing tendencies. I worked hard to be generous with my time and resources, but I didn’t realize until later that my loving actions were actually done so I could feel like a good person. I never even considered if those actions were where God might be leading me. I was just functioning from my own need for human approval.
Thankfully, at age 38, I sensed that He wanted me to give my life to Him. I did, and so began my journey to a really special relationship with my Heavenly Father and His Holy Spirit.
God became my constant companion. My heart grew to want to please Him, over pleasing myself or others—and slowly, I began to notice in my body the gentle, subtle ways that His Holy Spirit was leading me. Then, each time I decided to take a loving action, such as giving or serving, I began doing a heart-check—asking myself, am I trying to please Him, me, or others?
When we are in an intimate relationship with our Father, having offered our life to Him, we can become instinctively motivated by our love and heart for Him instead of what we want for ourselves. This is called “dying to self,” or “foregoing the selfish, physical, and egotistical desires of this world and wholeheartedly seeking the kingdom of God.”
It is in this state, fully given over and looking to be led, that we can best sense the inner movement of God’s Holy Spirit as our guide in this loud, chaotic world (Romans 8:14).
God, thank you for Your infinite patience with me as I do my best to follow you. I am so grateful that You are delighted that I want to lay down my own ways to pick up Yours. Thank you for Your Holy Spirit to help guide me. Strengthen my senses to perceive You and Your leading in all things. Amen
The next time God’s Holy Spirit leads you to read your Bible, consider taking note of the many verses referencing Jesus being guided by that same Spirit. If you are having trouble sensing the leading of God’s Spirit in your life, ask Him for His help. Consider partnering with a Spiritual Director or a pastor to help you strengthen this important relationship.