You stubborn people! You are heathens at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That’s what your ancestors did, and so do you! [Acts 7:51 (NLT)]
Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. [1 Thessalonians 5:19 (NLT)]
Starting with that annoying ding that sounds when we’ve failed to put on our seat belts, we have all sorts of accessories on our cars that are supposed to keep us safe and make us better drivers. There are collision warning devices that sound when we get too close to another car and some vehicles even have forward collision systems that do the braking for us when that happens. Lights on our side mirrors flash to alert us of cars in the blind spots. When in reverse, a backup camera shows what is behind us and the car beeps if anything is approaching from either side. There are rear-parking sensors that sound when we’re getting too close to something behind us. To keep us from speeding, the GPS screen posts the speed limit. Some vehicles have over-speed warning devices that sound when a predetermined speed set by the driver has been exceeded and most cars have a cruise control that can be set for the desired speed. Of course, whether we keep our foot off the accelerator or heed any of the other safety features is entirely up to us. As the driver, we can choose to ignore any or all of these warning devices. Because nothing forces us to use those features or abide by their alerts, we can still get speeding tickets and have accidents.
Like traffic laws, God’s laws set the standards for our behavior and they help us know right from wrong. On our own, however, we’re incapable of perfect obedience. Just as we tend to nudge that speedometer a few miles over the limit, we tend to push the limits when it comes to the rest of our behavior. Fortunately, Jesus left us with a warning system in the Holy Spirit. Unlike some of those car safety devices, the Holy Spirit isn’t a luxury option; when we accept Jesus, the Holy Spirit is part of the deal. Similar to our cars’ safety devices and controls, He wants to keep us safe and within God’s will. Belief in Jesus doesn’t mean we’ll never yield to temptation. Unfortunately, our free will and sinful nature occasionally (OK, frequently) decide to take over. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit is our advocate, comforter, guide and counselor. He always is present—teaching, guiding, warning, encouraging and convicting us. He doesn’t speak with audible words nor does He sound an annoying beep or flash a warning light; instead, He guides us through our consciences and in other subtle ways. When we make a point of listening for Him through prayer and Bible study, we’ll hear His voice. Coming in loud and clear, He’ll never lead us into sin. Like obeying the speed limit, however, abiding by His voice is always our choice.