Led by the Spirit

The Holy Spirit is promised to believers who repent and are baptized.  Act 2:38-39 “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.’”  The Holy Spirit is given to those who obey Him.  Speaking of Jesus, in Acts 5:31-32 “Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

To belong to Christ, we must have the Spirit of God within us.  Romans 8:9 “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” It is by the Spirit that we put to death the deeds of the body.  Romans 8:12-13 “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors — not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”  It is very important for the Spirit to be within us.

If the Spirit is working within us, He will produce His fruit in our lives.  Galatians 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” We need to live in the Spirit and walk in the Spirit.

With the Spirit within us, we should seek His leading.  If we are led by the Spirit, we are children of God.  Romans 8:13-14 “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” When the writer is telling us to be “led” by the Spirit, I believe he is referring to the fact that we should be open and receptive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

One may ask “How am I led by the Spirit?”  Some have reported being visited by a heavenly visitor.  Others report to have heard a voice or received a physical sign or had a dream.  It is not necessary for these to happen for you to be led by the Spirit.  Jesus told His apostles in John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”  Notice that Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would bring to their remembrance what He had said.  In the some way, I believe that the Holy Spirit will bring to our remembrance things that we have read from the Bible.  We are told that the word of God is the sword of the Spirit. Ephesians 6:17 “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”  It is clear to me that the Holy Spirit uses the word of God.  He can bring to our remembrance the word of God that instructs us to do something or that instructs us to refrain from doing something; we should take that as leading of the Holy Spirit.  There are other ways that the Holy Spirit can lead us.  He may open or close “doors” of opportunities. He may bring people or circumstances into our lives that influence what we do.  He may bring thoughts to our minds of things we should say or do.   We need not limit the ways that the Holy Spirit can lead us in our lives.

Someone may say “I was led to do this” or “I was led to do that.” How does one know that the leading that one receives is from the Holy Spirit?  The Israelites had a similar problem with prophets.  How could they know if a prophet was true or false?  God was speaking to Moses in Deuteronomy 18:20-22 “’But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ — when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” In a similar way, I believe we should test any leading we receive to see if it is from the Holy Spirit.  If we think we are being led by the Spirit but we are walking according to the flesh, we deceive ourselves. If the leading is in any way contrary to the word of God, then the leading is not from the Spirit.  For example, if the leading we receive requires us to deceive another or is not a manifestation of love, then we should conclude it is not from the Spirit.

I believe that the Spirit within us prompts our spirit.  If our minds are filled with too many things of the world, we won’t hear Him. I believe that the Spirit has given me promptings – “say this”, “call her”, “help him”, “forgive”, or “speak or write about this”.  When you go to God in prayer, do you ask for leading and guidance?  Do you also have quiet time and listen for the Spirit to prompt you? We are encouraged to ask for wisdom from God.  James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”  I see wisdom which comes from God as essentially direction from God.  When we use the wisdom He gives to make decisions, I believe we are led by His Spirit.

The more you draw near to God, the more He will draw near to you and lead you with His Spirit.  James 4:8 “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”  I encourage you to draw near to God.  Cleanse your hands from sin and purify your heart. Seek to increase your faith, and be open to the leading of the Spirit in your life.

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