This week, as we continue to study the person of the Holy Spirit, we will be looking at the way that He wants to actively lead us.
'We’re all for praying in a crisis. But praying first thing in the morning with a list of tasks stretching ahead of us… Well, we’d rather get on with the day. Or what about late at night? We opt to switch off the light and go to sleep. The key issue is not how you organise your time. We all find time for what really matters to us. The issue is how you think about reading your Bible and praying. It’s all too easy to think of them as primarily about a transfer of information. We read our Bible hoping to learn some new truth about God that will add to the sum total of our knowledge. And we pray to convey information to God: a list of things we’d like him to do. But reading the Bible and praying are much more than this. And if we can embrace that “more”, then we’ll look forward to them with anticipation. The secret is to see them as opportunities to enjoy a relationship with God.' (Chester, Tim. Enjoying God: Experience the power and love of God in everyday)
If we want to be led by the Spirit in our lives. If we want to know His will. If we want to hear the Spirit’s voice, it’s vital that we listen to Him in His word. The Bible is our map and compass. The Bible tells us everything that is of most importance to know. We must ask: “Is what I’m seeking to do in line with the clear teaching of scripture?” The bible has something to say on everything that is important and it’s vital that we do the work to study what it teaches on things like:
Where to live and why to live there
How to get and use money
Relationship with your church
The Spirit and His gifts
Many of us equate the leading of the Spirit with our feelings; If it feels inspiring then it must be of the Spirit! Feelings are God’s gift and are involved in our relationship with Him. However, feelings must be weighed against God’s word.
HE SPEAKS AND LEADS THROUGH SCRIPTURE
Billy Graham wrote about how the Spirit uses the word,
‘Through the Bible the Holy Spirit not only gives us doctrinal and historical truth; He also uses it as the vehicle for speaking to our hearts. This is why I constantly urge people to study the Scriptures—whether they fully understand what they are reading or not. The reading of Scripture itself enables the Holy Spirit to enlighten us and to do His work in us. While we read the Word, its message saturates our hearts, whether we are conscious of what is happening or not. The Word with all its mysterious power touches our lives and gives us its power.’
Tim Keller wrote,
‘If prayer is to be a true conversation with God, it must be regularly preceded by listening to God’s voice through meditation on the Scripture.’ (Keller, Timothy. Prayer)
‘Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.’(Psalm 119:105)
God wants to lead us as we humble ourselves and believe that the Spirit wants to speak and lead us from His word.
ALWAYS THE WAY BUT NOT ALWAYS THE WHAT
We regularly wonder, “Is this God’s will for me, them or us?” The Spirit does not always clearly lead us in what to do, but He always leads us in the way that we are to do things.
‘So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.’ (Galatians 5:16-17)
This text is sometimes used to mean something like, “Walk by the Spirit and as you walk down the street the Spirit may prompt you to share your faith…” Without nullifying such leading, this text is about doing things the Spirit’s way rather than living according to our flesh which are our appetites that are opposed to the Spirit. As a Christian, you know what the Spirit wants; Pauls says in 5:19 ‘The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality…’ Before we were Christians, we were not wandering around in circles worried about whether we had found the ‘will of the flesh’! likewise, as a Christian, you know the kind of fruit that the Spirit is wanting to lead you into. As Paul goes on,
‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.’ (Galatians 5:22-25)