I see a process in our spiritual lives. We start off being fleshly minded, thinking and doing the things of the flesh. Then, as Christians, we crucify the flesh, with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24). We seek to walk according to the Spirit, with our minds set on the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:4, 5). As Christians, 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.” We receive the Spirit when we are baptized, according to the apostle Peter. 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.’”
Ultimately, in this spiritual process, we should seek to be led by the Spirit. Romans 8:12-14 “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. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” Can we really be led by the Spirit today? I believe we must, if we are to be the true children of God.
I don’t consider myself an expert in being led by the Spirit. Too often in my life I do what I want and what I choose to do. But there are also many times when I go to God in prayer and ask for direction and wisdom and blessing. 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.” Is not asking God for wisdom the same as seeking to be led by the Spirit? Jesus even taught His disciples about praying for leading in the “Lord’s Prayer”: Matthew 6:13a “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
In our search to be led by the Spirit, we must be into the word. If we are really into the word, reading and studying the Bible frequently, it becomes a part of us. Psalm 1:1-2 “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” When the word becomes a part of us, and as we live our lives and situations arise, scriptures will come to mind, guiding us in what we should do and how we should react.
We should not expect to hear a loud voice of the Spirit, speaking in our ear. Often it is a small voice or a prompting. Remember when the prophet Elijah was filled with fear and ran away from Queen Jezebel and went into a cave (1 Kings 19). There was a great wind, an earthquake, and a fire, but God was not in these. Then there was a small still voice – the voice of God. In the same way, I understand that the Spirit can speak to us in a small voice or prompting. Perhaps His Spirit within us prompts our spirit. If our minds are filled with too many things of the world, we won’t hear Him. But many times, 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 also have quiet time and listen for the Spirit to speak to you or prompt you?
I believe that the more we draw near to God, the more He will draw near to us and lead us 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.” Let us cleanse our hands from sin, purify our hearts, seek to increase our faith, and look for the leading of the Spirit in our lives.