From my journal:
One warm summer’s day, while working outside, I see out of the corner of my eye a streak of flesh leaping through the yard. That streak of flesh was our six-year-old son running across the yard in his underwear and the dog’s collar around his neck.
Did I mention that we installed an invisible fence for our dog and that the collar was an electrical collar with a fresh set of batteries?
If my dog gets too close to the boundaries, he gets a shock that sends him back. Now Will was running as fast as he could toward the border.
In what seemed like slow motion, my husband caught him and yanked him back just before he would have received a zap. What sweet relief for this mom as I watched my son come back to me with a sheepish grin on his face. When asked why he did it Will replied, “Aw, mom, I just wanted to know what it felt like.” The zap wouldn’t have hurt him but it’s not the kind of thing a mother wants her son to experience.
The Holy Spirit is like my dog’s electrical collar.
Buddy’s zap warns him he’s nearing the border of the yard and that he can’t go any farther. The Holy Spirit’s zap warns me when I get too close to the border of sin.
The Holy Spirit is a helper who comes to dwell within us the moment we put our faith in Jesus Christ. He convicts us of sin and warns us of a potentially sinful situation
Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you: but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.
John 16:7-8 (NKJV)
One day I was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was in a room with many women, and sadly, gossip was flying. Something inside my head said, “Don’t gossip…just walk away.” Some may say that this is our conscience talking. But I now recognize the “something” as the Holy Spirit.
His gentle zap says “Stop now,” and helps us reject our sinful inclination. At the moment of the Holy Spirit’s nudging, we have a choice–to refuse to go further or continue past the border into sin. The zap was nudging me to make the right decision. God gave me the strength and I was able to walk away from the situation.
But there have been times that I didn’t obey the nudging of the Spirit and I grieved Him. The Bible says, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 4:30). We grieve the Holy Spirit when we ignore the Spirit’s pleading and disobey Him. Oh, the many times I’ve grieved the Holy Spirit. Today, I am more aware of His zapping.
In conflict or any difficult situation the Holy Spirit guides, teaches, and brings to our minds the words to say at the right time.
For the Holy Spirit will teach you what to say.
Luke 12:12 (NKJV)
Today we can ask God to help us recognize our inner voice–our conscience–as the work of the Holy Spirit. On our own we can accomplish nothing. But with the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we are empowered and can do all things, including rejecting sin.
Will no longer puts on Buddy’s electrical collar. But nearly every day that I watch my dog stay within the safe confines of our yard, I am reminded that the Holy Spirit works to keep me safe too.