Monday, May 28, 2018

"His Spirit was Provoked"

Acts 17.16 NKJV

“Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols.”

Something inside me longs for order. I become agitated when things begin to fall apart. My insides sound an alarm: “Quick! Get this thing fixed!” My antennae are up and poised to receive the ‘things are not as they should be’ signal. I am alert to any sound of advancing chaos and I am ready to re-order as necessary.

This quality can be troublesome for me and others. It indicates a tendency toward perfectionism. I’ve heard it said “a perfectionist is someone who takes great pains… and then passes them on to everyone else.”

While there is a downside to the need for order, there is also an advantage. When under the control of the Holy Spirit, the longing for order may be the gift of discernment in operation. The voice of discernment presents immediate solutions to future problems when others are only vaguely aware of impending trouble. Quick attention to disturbing inner feelings may help avert small issues before they become big ones. I am learning to trust my instincts and respect unsettling thoughts when they arise. It could be a warning by the Holy Spirit.

I am inspired by Paul who, when “his spirit was provoked within him,” instantly engaged a plan to right the wrong. Lord, thank you for those times when I am uneasy in my spirit and sense the provocation of the Holy Spirit. Help me to listen carefully and respond quickly. ____________________

The black and white photo of a person in a reflective mood is called "thoughts..." and used by permission of photographer Simran Kaur. You can view her excellent photography at

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