Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Spiritual Nudge

There are times when the Holy Spirit moves that I consider it a ‘nudge’. It is similar to a continuous reminder or mental nagging. Many things can ‘nudge’ us not the least of these being our strong, personal will. The strength of our will and its single minded selfishness needs to be recognized and distinguishable as do nudges from many self-serving directions.

A nudge from the Holy Spirit is distinguishable by the very nature that there is no recognizable benefit to us. Most generally it is ignored because the nudge is towards something that will put us out, detain us or, most frequently, is just not about us. It can often be a nudge involving an issue we are in negotiations with God about and are hoping for a different direction. One of my markers to a Spiritual nudge is the immediate desire to ignore it and yet it continues to nag at my disobedience. It is ignored until action is taken or the Spirit moves someone else to do the job.

One of the best examples of a ‘spiritual nudge’ came from an elderly saint in my church that I asked to come and speak to my young ladies Sunday school class. I wanted her to share insights of growth from her long, Christian journey. A particular nugget of wisdom went much like this:

"I never ignore a prompting from the Spirit. There was an elderly woman in my church that I looked after. One particular day I felt the need to give her a call to see how she was doing but I was busy and kept thinking I’d do it after this or that. The next day I thought again I should give her a call but I was busy and let it go. On the third day when the thought came again I decided to just get it over with so I could clear my mind. I phoned her and she was distressed. She said her brother had died two days ago and she didn’t know what to do. She had called the church but the pastor wasn’t in. I said I was sorry for her loss and asked what I could do but she kept saying how upset she was. I finally asked where her brother was and she replied, “In the bedroom.” I immediately went to her home and helped her make the appropriate phone calls. I was sick to think if I had called when the Holy Spirit moved me I would have saved my dear friend so much distress that I have never ignored a prompting since. When the Spirit moves I do too."

This wisdom directed me to prayerfully ask the LORD to nag me until I am obedient and respond to His promptings. It takes practice to distinguish the Spirit from all the other noises but as in any discipline, like Bible study and prayer time, we need to practice listening in order to be sensitive to what God is calling us to do.

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. Isaiah 30:20-22

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  1. What a beautiful post! And I soooo love that verse in Isaiah! It is comforting to know that He is always there, guiding me!

  2. What a wonderful gift this elderly saint gave my young ladies and me. I have used it to guide me several times when I found myself putting things off, ignoring the nudge, so to speak.