How do we know when the Holy Spirit is guiding the church and how do we know where the Spirit is leading? It is an important question that is not always easy to answer. There are times when the presence of the Spirit feels like holding Jello– it’s there, we can feel it, but it sure is difficult to get a firm grip on it. Couple this with the fact that Christians all too often equate the movement of the Spirit to having a warm, fuzzy feeling and/or getting what we want. If we feel warm and fuzzy or if we get our way the Spirit is leading; if not the Spirit is being resisted. We never resist the work of the Holy Spirit, only others who disagree with us do. Just as many attempt to manipulate Jesus to serve their own contemporary agendas, we often justify our own feelings and/or understandings by chalking them up to the movement of the Holy Spirit.
Then he [Jesus] called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.”
When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. He said to them, “Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “It is what comes out of a person that defiles. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person ” (Mark 7:14-23).