Galatians 5:25 “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Walking in the company of Jesus has been a recent recurring theme. Exemplified by many, mastered by few, for those who have disciplined their lives to consistently maintain this standard, greatness in the Kingdom of God is what follows.
“There is not a better evangelist in the world than the Holy Spirit.”Dwight L. Moody
Why is it so important to be led by the Spirit? How does one follow in the Spirit’s leading? These are questions that many ponder and strive to understand better. I have my own experiences and I suppose many of them would parallel other’s experiences as well, since we each have different lives, different ways we see the world, and different ways we respond, the experiences will not look the same.
The One common factor we all share is God. He doesn’t change and His standard of righteousness bears marks that remain consistent. When we share our stories of the Spirit of God working in our lives, we recognize the evidence of the Lord working because HIs work bears resemblance throughout the human race. It doesn’t matter what country, culture, or people we see the Lord working in, we rejoice in hearing stories of God working in their lives because it bears resemblance across cultural divides.
1 Corinthians 12:13 “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”
What are consistent markers in the lives of those who are led by the Spirit?
- Put to death the deeds of the flesh. Romans 8:13 “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.” This process of dying to the flesh is a transitional move from focusing on pleasing me to pleasing God. This is a Spirit led process. The only way to walk in stride with the Spirit’s leading is to be aligned with God’s purposes for you.
- Listen and respond to the Spirit. 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.” John Piper once said “Doing something by the Spirit means being “led” to do it by the Spirit. He is not an instrument in our hands. We are an instrument in his hands. We are not leading him. He is leading us. He is not a mere responder to us. We are being moved and led by him.” This mindset of who we are in Christ is vital to growth and maturity. We have to be reminded that it is the Lord directing our path and not the other way around. When He commands, we must listen and obey, regardless of the directive. If He says it’s time to stop smoking, our continued spiritual growth hinges on us being obedient to that directive. There is a reason the Lord gives us instruction at the time that He does, He has a purpose and process in place just for us.
- His strength must become our strength. Romans 8:26 “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” When it comes to successfully navigating a world of sin and rebellion, it is impossible to do this on our own accord. The warfare that we are embroiled in is a spiritual war. If we can’t see the enemy and his tactics, we can respond in a way that counters the attacks. Recognizing demonic attacks requires discernment, this discernment comes by way of the Spirit revealing it to us. Once we recognize where the attack is coming from we can counter these attacks with the resources God has given us. Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” The Lord will overcome the enemy in our lives, He has the authority and power to do so, but He often waits for us to rely on His power.
- All good ministry is Spirit led.
Psalm 25:4-5 “Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.”
You cannot do God’s work on your own. I cannot emphasize this point enough. When someone recognizes another’s actions and makes the claim “He’s doing God’s work”, I would hope that he is familiar enough with that work to make that claim. I’ve seen a lot of people who think they are doing “God’s work” but were in actuality doing their own work. People will see other’s feeding the poor and want to be altruistic, so they do the same, but not by the leading of the Spirit. When this occurs the fruit being born out is not spiritual fruit but it is rotten because it glorifies that person and not the Lord who supplies. Consequently, the Lord hates this kind of work….don’t agree with me?….take a closer look.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”Matthew 7:21-23
These people Jesus describes in Matthew 7 are doing all kinds of “God’s work”, at least that’s what others who have no insight would think. They look good on the outside but on the inside it’s all about them. They are not being led by God to do these works, they are led by their own selfish ambitions and desire to be praised.
“And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.”1 Corinthians 13:3
How can someone express the love of God if they are not being led by God?
We are His ambassadors. We do His work, not our own. We fulfill His calling upon our lives and act in obedience to His leading. It is when we understand our role in His work that we finally accept our position before the KIng of all Glory. When He is doing the work, God is glorified. When we do work on our own merits, we find ourselves being glorified instead, and that will be all the glory you will ever receive for that work.
5. The Spirit leads us in righteousness. Psalm 143:11 “Revive me, O LORD, for Your name’s sake! For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.” The righteousness of God is perfection. The Spirit of God leads us toward this standard of perfection so that we might exemplify Christ to the world. Upon salvation, the redeemed are already granted the righteousness of perfection in position before God’s judgement, it is in practice that we falter. We bring into our relationship with the Lord all manner of bad works, bad thinking, and baggage from poor decision making from years of living in sin. It is these habits that the Holy Spirit is transforming in us, day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. The obedience we learn by walking in the Spirit is brought to standard by God’s moral law. If we will learn this law we will have insight into which actions are not aligned with His purposes and this insight comes by way of the Holy Spirit of truth.
There is so much more to say regarding the Spirit’s work in our lives so I must continue this for another time. Until then, submit to His lead and you will see your life follow His course….and it will be Good.