Have you ever gotten the feeling that the Holy Spirit is trying to tell you something through your “sixth sense” or your intuition? What was He telling you to do? Did you listen to it or ignore it? And what was the result of your decision?
Cale Clarke spent a recent segment on The Cale Clarke Show discussing the ways that the Holy Spirit communicates with us, the “nudges” we feel, and how we should respond to what could be God speaking to us.
Cale wanted to discuss this topic because of a passage that you can find at the end of Chapter 3 of Mark’s gospel. After the Pharisees had witnessed Jesus drive out demons, they accuse Him of possessing and using the power of Satan.
“Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables, ‘How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand; that is the end of him.
But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder his house. Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.’
For they had said, ‘He has an unclean spirit.’” (Mark 3:23-30)
When Jesus says that the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is an unforgivable sin, people often begin to get scared. “Have I done that? Am I going to Hell?” But Cale explained that the interpretation of Jesus’s words is not as black and white as that. If it were, there would be a lot of people who are permanently damned to hell still walking the earth.
Cale compared the idea of the unforgivable sin to a person who needs a heart transplant to save their life. And imagine that they’re about to get wheeled into the operating room with the anesthesiologist and surgeon, but they jump up from the gurney and they start accusing the doctors of trying to kill them.
“I don’t trust them! They’re going to take out my heart and not give me a new one! They’re going to kill me!”
By falsely accusing the one who can save their life of treachery, that person has effectively sealed their own fate. They have doomed themselves to the very thing that they were afraid of: dying. In a very similar way, when one is to accuse the power of the Holy Spirit of being unable to cleanse and purify us, we are keeping our souls from being saved. So naturally, our sin is unforgivable if we do not believe that we can be forgiven.
The Holy Spirit is the saving grace by which we enter heaven. It acts in the sacraments to make sure that we are purified in baptism, anointed in confirmation, and forgiven in confession. In other words, the Holy Spirit is “God’s action in the world.” Even outside of the sacraments, the Holy Spirit acts with and within us to guide us in the right direction, even “nudging” us if need be.
Cale told the story of one of his wife’s friends who had said she experienced a nudge from the Holy Spirit recently in a hardware store while picking up some supplies. While walking along one of the aisles, she passed a woman who was looking among the shelves. The friend said she felt a voice telling her to approach this woman and tell her, “God loves you.”
She thought to herself, “That’s ridiculous. She’s going to laugh at me, or maybe call security.” She tried to suppress the feeling and ignore what she was sensing. But the feeling grew. It grew so large in her mind that it was impossible to ignore any longer. It was not an audible voice, but rather an intuition that she was supposed to make this small, albeit odd gesture to this perfect stranger.
Finally, she acquiesced. She determined that there wasn’t much that could go wrong by talking to this other woman. She walked up to her and said, “Hey, I don’t know who you are, and you don’t know who I am, but I feel like I have to tell you: God wants you to know how much He loves you.” The woman burst into tears, sobbing uncontrollably. Once she was able, the woman replied, “You have no idea how much I needed to hear that right now at this moment.”
This friend didn’t know if it was the Holy Spirit instructing her to make this gesture of kindness, or if it was an alternative force, or if it was even really a nudge at all. Maybe it was her subconscious. But the Holy Spirit works in many different ways, some more direct than others, and we’ll never realize He is speaking to us unless we open up our hearts and minds. See what wonders God has in store for you when you practice humility and obedience.
Tune in to The Cale Clarke Show weekdays at 5pm CT