Led of the Spirit

Rom. 8:14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” It is evident that this verse teaches us that being led of the Spirit of God is not the cause of one being a son of God, but is the evidence of one being a son of God.

To the elect child of God there are two types of leadership of the Holy Spirit. There is the “effectual” leadership and there is a timely guidance of the Holy Spirit.

All of the elect of God are drawn of the Holy Spirit in regeneration or the new birth. We read in John 6:37, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” There are some who will argue that this coming to Jesus is something the sinner must do thru his efforts. However, John 6:44 tells us, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” The word “draw” in this verse comes from a Greek word meaning “to drag.” This would be similar to a horse drawn carriage. The carriage does nothing to move itself. The horse does all the work and puts forth all the effort to move the carriage. Similarly, we come to Jesus in regeneration, because the Father draws us to Jesus. The Father in the person of the Holy Spirit draws or drags us to Jesus thru the new birth. In this work of God we are completely passive. God does all the work.

As Spirit born children of God we need something in our lives that can only come thru the timely guidance or leadership of the Holy Spirit. We are all faced with problems, trials, tribulations, persecutions, failings, and shortcomings and often have not the knowledge or understanding on how to deal with our problems. These problems can be relationship problems, workplace problems, church problems, family problems, or health problems. Thanks be to God that he has not left us comfortless.

The children of Israel were led throughout there wilderness journeying. Ex. 13:21 read, “And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:” Whenever, the cloud came and abode above the tabernacle the children of Israel made camp and rested in their tents until such time as the cloud removed from above the tabernacle and went forth. Then the children of Israel broke camp and followed the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. This continued for the 40 years of their wilderness journeying.

Today we are not led by a cloud or a pillar of fire, but the leadership of the Holy Spirit that we have today is even better than what the children of Israel had. God’s people are each led by the Holy Spirit. A wonderful illustration of that leadership is found in Gen. 24:12, “And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and show kindness unto my master Abraham.

13 Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water:

14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast showed kindness unto my master.

15 And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder.” The servant had the experience of his prayer being answered even before he had finished his prayer.

There are several ways that we can see the leadership of the Spirit in our lives. Before we explore those ways, we need to remember to ask for that leadership. The Lord said, “Seek and ye shall find, Ask and it shall be given you, and Knock and it shall be opened unto you.” James said, “Ye have not because ye ask not.” One of the great reasons that we don’t see more of the leadership of the Spirit in our lives is because we fail to ask for it. James also said, “Ye ask and have not, because ye ask amiss, that ye might consume it upon your lust.” Often we ask for things selfishly and don’t receive the leadership of the Spirit. If we ask for things unselfishly, but for the benefit and furtherance of service in the kingdom of God, then the Lord has promised he will give it to us. Thus it is important that we pray that the Lord’s will be done.

One of the ways we see the leadership of the Spirit in our lives is thru the circumstances of life. We need to remember that the Lord opens doors and no man can shut and he closes doors and no man can open. Young people should remember this when seeking a spouse. We should also remember this when we are seeking employment or where the Lord would have us live or what Primitive Baptist church the Lord would have us attend. Many of God’s people have found that when seeking a job and praying that God would direct them, that all job possibilities but the one that the Lord had in mind for them was closed and the one was opened especially for them.

Next, we find the Spirits leadership in the preaching of the gospel. I know of no preacher that knows what each member of the congregation needs. However, God knows what we need better than even we know. How many times I have experienced and I am sure many of the readers have experienced that when I have had questions or problems that I was seeking answers to that the preacher was led to preach on the very thing that I was needing help with. This happens many times with the Lord’s people and is an assurance of the leadership of the Spirit in their lives.

The most common way that many of God’s people are led by the Spirit is thru the word. Ps. 119:105 reads, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Also Ps. 73:24 reads, “Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” David believed so strongly in the leadership of the Spirit through the word of God that he said in Ps. 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Job believed in this principle also as he wrote in Job 23:12 “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” It has been my experience that when faced with the problems and troubles of life and when needing to make decisions that I was uncertain of that often after I had prayed about the problem or decision that the answer has come to me thru the Spirit directing my mind to a verse of scripture. Obviously the more that we know of the word of God the more that we will experience the Spirit’s leadership through the word in our lives.

There are means by which we see people in the scriptures led by the Spirit such as through dreams and trances, etc. These, however, would seem to be the exceptional cases and not the rule. There are, therefore, several ways that the Spirit leads us and we should be thankful for each one and for each time the Spirit has led us, for it is indeed a blessing to us to be led of the Spirit.

Vernon Johnson