Most of the time God speaks to me through nudges, or promptings. They’re little ideas that pop into my head about something I might say or do, a gentle push to step outside my comfort zone. I have learned to understand the prompting of the Spirit, typically, as a sense of direction or a strong conviction that I ought to act in this way or not that way.

In our backyard we have an electric fence dug into the ground for our Bernese Mountain Dog. It’s attached to a device on the collar he wears, and if he ever crosses the threshold of the fence, the device vibrates on his neck. The closer the dog gets to the boundaries of the fence, the more the device begins to beep a warning. When the dog is warned, he backs away from the boundary marker because he doesn’t like what happens when he crosses that line.

In many ways the conviction of the Holy Spirit is like the warning beep on that device. The Spirit speaks to us, reminding us of who we are and what we’re supposed to do in this world to shadow God. If we disregard the Spirit, we inevitably end up with results we don’t like. He doesn’t zap us or shock us or hurt us, but the consequences of crossing God’s boundary lines are always unpleasant and include things like broken relationships, broken dreams, and broken hearts.

In reality, the Spirit is working in us to change who we are completely. That usually begins with small changes that grow into larger ones. You will discover all kinds of nuances, too, the more attentive you are to the Spirit. You will make discoveries and observations about the world that are God’s unique gift to only you. Pay attention to them. You’re meant to share them as your gift to others.

Adapted from Why God Died