God . . . bore witness by granting them the Holy Spirit.

The elders of the Church had gathered in Jerusalem to discuss whether Gentile converts needed to be circumcised to be saved. The matter was causing confusion and division among the people. But when Peter pointed out that the Holy Spirit had fallen upon the Gentiles just as it had the Jews, the apostles realized that this was a sign from God (Acts 15:8). God was guiding the early Church through the action of his Holy Spirit.

Even today, the Holy Spirit often speaks to us through signs and circumstances. Sometimes those signs are very clear. Perhaps you are praying about whether to switch jobs, but the position you are considering is filled by someone else. Or you are sensing that it’s time to move, and an apartment opens up in the exact place where you want to live.

But more often, discerning where God is leading you involves a process. For example, it wasn’t easy for the apostles to understand what the Holy Spirit was calling them to do regarding the Gentile Christians and circumcision. They needed to meet together to discuss the issue. As they listened to one another and prayed for guidance, they began to realize that God didn’t require that the Gentiles be circumcised before he sent them the Holy Spirit. The gift of the Spirit was the sign to them that Baptism, not circumcision, was the one necessary key for entry into God’s kingdom.

So if you are facing a decision or need guidance from the Holy Spirit, go ahead and look for signs, but be patient about the process as well. You may have to spend some time discussing the issue with a trusted friend or your pastor. You may have to “try on” your decision for a time. Above all, you will have to pray. As you go through these various steps, you will become more and more confident of where the Spirit is leading you.

The Holy Spirit really does want to guide you. It may take time, as it did for Peter and the early Church. There may be some twists and turns along the way. But believe that one way or another, the Spirit will help you find the right path.

“Come, Holy Spirit! Lead and guide me today.”

Psalm 96:1-3, 10
John 15:9-11
Acts 15:7-21


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