1 Thes. 5:16-19 "Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
"Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Keep away from every kind of evil."
The first part of these verses, I have read numerous times. The second part... not so much. How is it that one stifles the Holy Spirit? Is it when we know that which we should do, yet don't? Is it when we fail to pray and then wait for God's lead? Is it when we are sure we know what God wants us to do and plunge ahead only to later wonder whose "will" it was, ours or His? If our own plans are so perfect, why do they so often crumble at our feet. Why do we wait for that moment to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and then hope God "cleans up" our mess while sending instructions for what to do now. I am finding that more and more, spending time in God's word is the only way to harness the Holy Spirit in my life. I'm re-reading the words of the prophets, looking for the warnings as well as the promises. When I'm making a decision on how to respond in a situation, I'm seeking the experience of those who have walked before me. I am attempting to respond, not react (read, overreact), by remembering the trials of the believers before me. Life is difficult and we learn from our trials. When life is wonderful, we forget. I choose to be thankful for the difficult times, because it is then that I am being refined. I am choosing to hold onto that which is good, true, and honest. I am choosing to let go of anything that stands in the way of my ability to hear the Holy Spirit, that can be anything from bad habits to releasing people from my life that God didn't put there. We become what we surround ourselves with. Choose Good. Choose God.