Discover how you can reach a little further in the Spirit and challenge your instinctive nature according to the Word of God.
There are moments in life where the way I act, speak or react to something is slightly off spiritually. The problem is that only afterward do I look back and think: how could I have acted that way? Where was my spiritual awareness? Where was my God-filled wisdom to know what to do according to the Bible? It's like my mind goes blank and my heart simply acts on instinct.
You might say, trust your instinct. But that's intuition you’re talking about. Your intuition is the one you should trust, for it bears the obvious truth. But I'm talking about instinct: what our mind instantly goes to, or how we act on impulse. It's the action you take before you get a chance to think.
Our instinct does not follow the word of the Lord.
Unfortunately, on average, our instinct doesn't follow the word of the Lord. It's flesh. And flesh likes to do its own thing, to follow its own desires, which according to Galatians 5, we should work not to gratify but to walk in the Spirit. If we were to always obey our 'instincts' and fleshly desires, that means working with "sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these", and what's worse is that whoever does "such things will not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:19-21).
Scary isn't it? But it's a relief too. When we are honest and intentional to please God in every situation of our lives and we do not want to be blind or deaf to His word or will, it's a relief knowing that these things do not come naturally. It certainly was for me.
It's easy to let the works of the flesh control your instinct. This is something to train and refine day by day.
I've definitely grown spiritually in the last year of my life in Madrid. The Lord took me through hills and valleys to strengthen my faith and develop my spiritual gifts. And I am so grateful for the awareness this has built in me spiritually. It's certainly more than I had a year ago. However, now that there are spiritual things easily noticeable to me, I tend to assume that it'll be like that all the time. But there are still many situations I find myself in where it is not as obvious, and if I'm not completely intentional in what I'm doing, it's easy to let the works of the flesh control my instinct.
This is something to train and refine day by day. Our all-time desire should always be to please the Lord with our lives, hearts, thoughts, relationships, decisions and so on. Every single step we take is a direct testament to our level of faith. Some say, 'oh that doesn't matter', or 'God doesn't care if I do this or not'. But each time we deny the word of God over our lives -- even in the little things -- we disappoint our Heavenly Father. It clearly states in Romans 8:8 that "those who are in the flesh cannot please God".
This thought made me think. It made me wonder and meditate on what it means to be a spiritually-inclined person all the time in order to please God in everything. Not just in church, or in bible study, or with your christian friends. Always.
Then, a small thought occurred to me. It came with a small lie wrapped around its neck and said to me, ”If you're not truly spiritual, then how can you be sure that you are spiritually connected to God even in the church, even in those obvious moments? What if all that you are doing is a lie, a façade to be who you think people want you to be? What if you're nothing but an imposter?"
Am I nothing but an imposter spiritually?
Having a background in low self-esteem, the enemy knew just where to hit so that I would hear these words and give them just enough attention to plant a seed of doubt in my mind. But don't worry, it didn't last long. If I've learnt anything, it's that when you genuinely seek God with all your heart and place Him as your life priority, He does not abandon you. And He certainly doesn't allow lies to shape your mentality anymore. The Holy Spirit came over me with peace and total assurance that I am a child of God. The Truth resounded in my mind and destroyed this obvious lie for it is "God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). So every time Jesus used me to encourage someone, to give them a word that fits into their destiny, to prophesy to them the plans of the Lord: it was always God working through me.
This sounds strange but the way I put it is, I'm not smart enough to come up with the words uttered. Or to bring the power that my prayers may induce. I'm incapable of such abilities. At least alone. But when Jesus comes down and changes the atmosphere, when the Holy Spirit moves and speaks louder than my own thoughts or ideas, then I know that it's not me that is working, but it is our powerful God and eternal Father.
In humanity, we have a tendency to compare ourselves to others. We compare how beautiful we are, how talented, how successful, how rich, how famous, how capable, how smart. The list goes on and on. Society has created this natural tendency to compare ourselves with what we see before us. Personally, I don't think this was an instinct to begin with, but something the world created; for when we are children, we don't notice if someone has what we don't or the other way around. We may struggle to share our apple juice, but we certainly don't jump to compare. At least not initially. So if we compare ourselves in the physical, we compare ourselves spiritually also.
The only person we should ever compare our spiritual ability or understanding to is Jesus himself.
Yes, the Lord uses people to inspire us sometimes and propel us forward in the spirit, showing us what He is capable of and how our relationship with Him can improve. But that does not cancel out who you are, and how far you've already come. And yes, there are times when you can gain reputations that aren't always accurate. For example, sometimes I have people talk to me and telling me how close I am to God, but all I can think is, 'wow, I am no where near as spiritual as they think I am. I still have such a long way to go and so many gaps in my life'.
First of all, we should work not to compare ourselves with others, even if our flesh tempts us to, for no one is perfect. Second, keep in mind that whoever you're judging will always have more to grow in, so don't take their word as written in stone. Let the word of God and the voice of Jesus be your moral compass.
Personally, my instinct is one of those gaps I have in the spirit. I want my instinct to immediately scream Jesus in every situation: if I'm in a moment of danger, I want my instinct to be peace and faith as I pray for God's protection. If I see someone who is sick, I want my initial reaction to be to pray and not panic. If I'm confused or feeling depressed, I want my instinct to be to trust that the Lord has total control over my life. I pray that God replaces the instincts of panic with peace, fear with trust, confusion with clarity, anxiety with love, insecurity with boldness.
Jesus, I pray that you become my instinct from this day forth.
We should all have the similar desire to have God become our instinct, to ultimately remove all doubt that He isn't working through us and to trust that He helps us grow when we earnestly seek Him.
The following prayer is one that the Holy Spirit gave me when writing this post, I prayed it over myself a few times one night and the very next morning, I already sensed a new vision of life and a new awareness of what’s around me. So don’t take it lightly. If you mean every word with an honest heart, things can start changing in you today!
Pray with me:
Dear Lord Jesus,
I come before you as I am, and I thank you for showing me the truth. Thank you for showing me that I am a work in progress and that you love working on me.
Jesus, I pray that you become my instinct from this day forth. Come and transform me into someone that is completely and utterly aware of your presence, or lack thereof. I want to have the understanding to see the spiritual truth behind every situation or person, and not just trust what I see with my eyes. I want to listen to you and only you, and know the difference when you speak and when a person speaks.
I believe that the Holy Spirit lives in me and I pray for my ears to be open to the truth and for my eyes to see what the enemy wants to hide from me. Make my mouth into a garden that only produces your fruit and echoes your words, and turn my actions into direct reflections of who you are in me.
In the name of Jesus, I pray for the ability to see in the spirit and walk in it faster, clearer and smoother than ever before.