To be led by the Spirit is much more than just finding the will of God in times of making big decisions or when the circumstances of our lives are not what we want them to be. Being led by the Spirit is a lifestyle.
Paul wrote that those that are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.1 What a privilege it is to feel the nudges of the Spirit, to “see” things in His Word (not just understand, but to “see them”). What a joy to experience how the Spirit reveals things to us as if a light were turned on whereas before there was only darkness when we studied the Bible or listened to a sermon.
And what He reveals to us in that moment may or may not have to do with the thing we were studying or the sermon we were listening to. I am sure this has happened to you. But the great thing is that you can live daily in this intimate, personal relationship with God. Often, however, other things take the place of the Spirit’s guidance: I tell you that from my own experience.
In my case, one thing that took the Spirit’s place and became my guide was reason, or we might say, logic. Many other Christians who had been saved longer than me encouraged me in this error saying things like “God gave us a brain for a reason” or “God does not want us to park our thought process or our mind when we give our lives to Him”, etc. But the Spirit was being quenched and grieved in my life.
God opened up scriptures to me like “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.”2 And that is what I want! I want Him to direct my paths but I had no idea of how to obtain that.
It is just like God says when He tells us that His thoughts are not our thoughts nor are His ways our ways.3 So my reasoning is NOT His. His thoughts are so much higher, like the heavens are above the earth. So what I need, beyond my learning and my experience, is that my mind be renewed,4 that the Lord will give me understanding in all things.5
I was also encouraged to allow circumstances to guide me. But this didn’t last long as I saw clearly in my life and in the Bible that many, many times circumstances were totally opposite to what God wanted and that the Lord used them to try me or to give Himself the opportunity to do a miracle. In 1 Samuel 13, King Saul let himself be led by circumstances and lost his kingdom.
Another mistake that I made was to put the guidance of His Word in the place of the guidance of the Spirit.
The Word of God is totally important for every believer, but the Spirit of God is more important still. The Spirit inspired the Scriptures. They are His. I believe that the Bible is the Word of God, infallible, totally inspired and as 1 Timothy 3:16 says “profitable for teaching.” But it is a tool that the Spirit uses to lead us into all truth. The Word of God is subservient to God.
The Scriptures do not say “I leave you my book which will lead you into all truth.” Nor do they say “They that are led by the Bible, they are the children of God.” He did not say “You need not that any man teach you as the New Testament itself teaches you all things.”
I know the Bible, from Genesis to maps. I have taught it many years in the Bible school here in Spain — especially the Old Testament. I read the Bible every single day and I feed from it. But Paul himself said, “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”6
The Spirit uses the Word to talk to me. How many times have I been reading the Bible and realized that it was dry or incomprehensible to me that day. But when the Spirit gets ahold of it, it goes right down to my joints and marrow and discerns the thoughts and intents of my heart.7
So, I am fighting to keep the main thing the main thing. I want the first thing to be first. I want my relationship to be with the Lord.
I want everything to point me back to Him who loved me and gave Himself for me.8
1- Romans 8:14 2- Proverbs 3:5,6 3- Isaiah 55:8 4- Ephesians 4:23 5- 2Timothy 2:7 6- 2 Corinthians 3:6 7- Hebrews 4:12 8- Galatians 2:20