Want to Love Others? Seek the Voice of the Spirit

     I have started a journal to trace acts of agape. That ability to remove yourself from a situation and hear the voice of the Holy Spirit speak. It is difficult to clear our hearts and heads of all the misconceptions about “good” and “best” we have learned from family, school, books, cinema, social media, friends… The world cannot understand agape love because it is of God, and we cannot deliver it apart from the Holy Spirit.

     “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT

     But the Holy Spirit can give us a heavenly perspective, provide a fresh outlook. We often say, “I never thought of it that way.”

     When I learned that incorrect information was being passed on about an incident that had occurred at church, I immediately became indignant. How did this seemingly inconsequential exchange become so twisted? In my flesh I became annoyed and defensive.

     Yet amid my anger, I saw that this person was struggling, caught in the grips of all the traps Satan can lay when we are vulnerable. Traps like self-pity, hopelessness, doubt, and fear. Spiritual insight into a situation can only come from the Holy Spirit. At these times all our fleshly responses dissipate and the good of the other person becomes the desire of our heart.

     Best was prayer for this person, seeking guidance on how I might truly help rather than allowing Satan to drive a wedge between myself and another Christian with thoughts of unforgiveness for slander or malice. The Holy Spirit caused me to step back and consider the feelings of another. What would cause her to slightly alter the details of the story about a situation?

     Satan immediately came to mind. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. [1 Peter 5:8] He is a deceiver and all of us succumb to his deception from time to time.

     No foothold for Satan here. Instead, I look for the loving act this person needs. I do not yet know what God will require of me, but I am willing.

     I loop back to the start of this blog. With my new perspective on the situation, free from all animosity, my tendency is to just leap into action with “acts of kindness.” But that is self, doing what “I” think is best. Working on my timeline, my schedule, my wisdom. There is no power in acts of the flesh no matter the motivation. It’s not our idea of kindness that makes a difference but God’s idea.

     And thus, we must quiet the outside voices in our heads so we can hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. Make sure there is no competition. The outside voices often enter our thought processes attached to self. But the Holy Spirit introduces another point of view, the possible reason for the actions of another and points us to a loving response.

Let’s Talk:

1-When have you been surprised by the Holy Spirit with a completely different perspective, which was selfless?

2-How do you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit when so many voices offer direction?

©2022 Susan Cort Johnson *All Rights Reserved

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