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.
1. GOD LEAD BY PROVIDENCE
All things are under the rule of God. He directs all things according to His will and, therefore, if we are thoughtful and prayerful, we can learn God’s will through the circumstances of our lives. The account of Saul becoming King is worth reading in detail and reveals how God rules over the circumstances of this account in 1 Samuel 9.
‘Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed this to Samuel: “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him ruler over my people Israel; he will deliver them from the hand of the Philistines. I have looked on my people, for their cry has reached me.” When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the Lord said to him, “This is the man I spoke to you about; he will govern my people.”’ (1 Samuel 9:15-17)
From Saul’s perspective, it was a series of random events that transpired for Saul to meet Samuel etc. But, God was leading through circumstances (providence). God says of all of us,
‘All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.’ (Psalm 139:16)
In the mystery of God’s sovereignty, we can make real choices on whether or not to listen and obey Him. These choices, whilst being real, are also, somehow, ordained and ruled over by God!
Sometimes, if we will stand back, we will see God speaking through the circumstances of our lives.
2. GOD LEADS BY PROPHECY, VISIONS ETC.
The bible is replete with examples of God speaking, through prophets, in order to guide His people. God continues to lead His people through the gift of prophecy, Here are a couple of examples,
‘Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.’ (Acts 16:6-10. See also Acts 9:10-12)
‘Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went…’ (Acts 14:1-4)
Our vision from John 7:37-38, we believe, to be God-given. Our vision to 'Bring people to Jesus: myself, one another and my community' was birthed from prayer and, what we believe, to be the Spirit's guidance.
Terry Virgo wrote of the kind of church that takes prophecy seriously,
‘God wants us to weigh prophecy. True prophecy never condemns or crushes us. It is instead something which edifies, exhorts or comforts us. It is always biblical, glorifies Jesus and has an “upward” theme. It builds us up, stirs us up or cheers us up! If we want to be a prophetic people we must respond to the prophetic word. Once the prophetic stream is moving, God will keep speaking into it. We must take care that we do not throw in defensiveness, hostility or cynicism and thus break the flow. When we hear from God, we need to act and not be taken up with the difficulties that may result. God told the Israelites to go into the Promised Land, but they were more concerned about the giants. Many churches are wandering in the wilderness today because they resisted the prophetic and focused on the problems. There may be difficulties, but we must respond to the word. God wants to speak to His people and then through them to the world. We need to be captivated by what He says and swift at putting it into practice. Our church should be throbbing with prophetic life and motivated by prophetic vision.’ (Virgo, Terry. The Spirit-Filled Church)