My co-worker and fellow blogger shared this article with me in which the columnist challenged people, in the new year and the new decade, to look at a few things through fresh eyes. The writer listed 52 suggestions, one for every week of the year. This week’s topic is the Holy Spirit.
“… Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” — I Kings 19: 11-12 (KJV)
When I think about the Holy Spirit, that’s what it is to me: the still small voice that is with me all the time. I hear it in my heart and in my mind. It’s not audible, per se, but it might as well be because it’s that real. I talk to it, carry on conversations with it, sometimes debating and other times in agreement. It’s the one that convicts me when I wake up on Sunday morning, tired from being up late the night before, and try to talk myself into staying home from church. The still small voice is the one that encourages me to go anyway and corrects me for being willing to stay out late doing what I want but not get up early to praise and study and learn.
The still small voice is there when I wake up every morning, telling me to pick up my Bible, read, and come talk with the Father. It’s there when I pray, comforting me and bringing to mind Scripture and song as I talk to God. It’s with me throughout the day as I make decisions. It’s the one that I ask, “Should I do this? Should I not?” and it’s the one that answers. It’s the one that impressed upon my heart to volunteer to go on a mission trip, telling me so strongly that it was nearly audible, “You can do that. I want you to go.”
It protects me by guiding and shaping the way that my heart leads. It’s the one that resists and fights me when I, the flesh, want to do something I shouldn’t. It’s the one that lays on thick guilt when I do it anyway. It’s the one that gives me peace when I am doing right because it is peace. The Holy Spirit is God in me.
As I thought about those three words — still small voice — collectively they describe one thing. But each word has it’s own independent meaning too.
Still — unmoving, steady, confident
Small — succinct, gentle
Voice — words and sentences strung together from a real person
One commentary I read about this verse said, “The message of these verses seems to be that God need not appear to men embodied in great natural forces — though he certainly can do this — but may also reveal himself directly, softly, and personally, like a voice in the mind.”
That’s what the Holy Spirit is to me — God’s voice in my mind.
I often find myself clinging to the “still” part of this description because I am usually so un-still and crave stillness. But in meditating on this the last week or so really latched onto the voice and the fact that the Holy Spirit speaks.
I started looking for other verses about what the Holy Spirit does and it turns out speaking is one of, if not the, primary function.
In Isaiah 30:21, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
In Acts 11:12, “The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them.” In Acts 13:2, “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
In Acts 16, verse 6 and 7, “Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.”
In NIV the still small voice is called a gentle whisper. Shhh …. Imagine hearing a whisper. To hear a whisper you have to be very, very quiet and listen intently. Sometimes you have to lean in to the speaker, getting closer to where the sound is originating, to hear what is being said. I think hearing from the Holy Spirit can be like that too. Sometimes to hear it, we may have to be quiet and draw closer.