Your spiritual instinct

THE HUMAN SPIRIT is fierce and strong. You know this intuitively. How many times have you seen someone endure a tremendous struggle? How many difficult moments have you faced yourself?

You might have forgotten about past events — but at the time, you fought the good fight. You held your ground. You might even be going through a rough patch right now.

The characteristics of the human spirit can vary in type. Some show their strength on the outside while others have a quiet ferocity that burns within. Either way, it takes a lot to break us. Mysteriously, others seem to give up without any fight at all. 

One of the greatest examples of the strength of the spirit is a mother who defends her child. Mothers are fierce advocates for their children. The maternal spirit thrives on deep roots — it’s an indestructible combination of instinct + love.

How many moms give everything they have when their child is sick, suffering, or injured? Even if their son or daughter ends up in prison, it’s quite often the mother that stands by their side — no matter what. For a mother defending her child, threats of harm or shame cease to exist.  

What happens though when you reach the limits of your strength? You’ve given all you have, fought courageously, but you’re stuck. And the problem continues or even gets worse. So where do you turn to? To whom do you go?

When your own strength and resources end — that’s where faith begins.

But wait. There is a condition.

You decide if you want to accept the gift of faith. Even God can’t force it on you. You are free to say, no, I do not want to believe. Maybe your struggle has gone on for too long. Or your losses have been very steep. Maybe your hurt runs too deep. Or perhaps you still think you can do it all on your own.

Remember, being sad does not mean you have lost your faith. Not at all. But the total rejection of faith can lead to bitterness. It can make your heart a cold, lonely place. 

The human spirit is exactly that — it’s spiritual. And God’s Spirit speaks to your spirit — if you choose to listen. And what does he say to you? The Spirit says if you let him dwell within you, if you let him lead you, then you are a child of God (Romans 8:14).

And from there, your spiritual instincts begin to take over. What does that look like? Like Saint Augustine said, our hearts are restless until we find rest in the Lord. Deep down, your soul desires and rejoices in God.

Humans differ from animals in that we can intentionally go against our instinct — even in horrible ways. You can choose to resist. You can decide to hurt yourself or the ones you love. But when you embrace your spiritual instinct, and let it be infused with God’s love, the result is a powerful faith.

Then when you face a need or a struggle, you seek the Lord relentlessly. You throw yourself at his feet, fully trusting in his goodness.

In faith, we may ask for concrete things. We pray for healing, liberation, and miracles. And sometimes it happens exactly as we ask. Even more blessings might be heaped upon us. But our prayers aren’t always answered in the way we want, are they?

People with strong faith may ask for things that don’t come to pass. We may be disappointed, we may grieve, and we may even doubt our faith. But on a deeper level, our spirit continues to communicate with the Holy Spirit.

What does our spiritual instinct say? It says, “It’s not so much that I believe in what you will do for me — it’s more that I believe in you.” 

. . . . . . .

Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

Matthew 15:28

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