Do you find that…
…it’s easier to have a list of dos and dont’s than to listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit?
…it’s easier to belong to a group with a specific set of standards and expectations than to listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit?
…it’s easier to do what someone else expects you to do than to listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit?
…it’s easier to do your research and develop opinions, standards, and convictions than to listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit?
…it’s easier to do it the way you’ve always done it than to listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit?
For many years I have pondered the struggle I have when it comes to yielding myself to the Spirit of God, and walking by the Spirit. I desperately want to do this; I don’t always do this. The spirit (my spirit) is willing; the flesh (my flesh) is weak. Like the Apostle Paul in Romans 7, I cry out in frustration at my inability to sustain a life characterized by “Christ in me, the hope of glory”.
Is it really easier to do one of these things listed above than listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit?
In the “short” run, yes, it is.
Why? Because God’s ways are higher than ours and seem foolish to us sometimes.
Remember when Peter rebuked Jesus…and then Jesus rebuked Peter by saying, “Get thee behind Me, Satan”?
What Jesus had been telling His disciples hadn’t been quite to their liking. They wanted a Messiah who would immediately deliver them from their Roman oppressors and grant them sovereignty as a nation, not this disturbing talk about going to Jerusalem to die, of all things! Not what they were looking for.
And how about the time Jesus’ brothers practically taunted Him, asking Him if He was going up to the feast (implication: “You’re such a hot-shot and seem to have such an inflated opinion of yourself…aren’t you going to go promote your “cause” and continue to gather adoring fans at the feast?)? And what was Jesus’ answer?
He said something like, “It’s not my time; you go on up.” And, then, after they left, He went, also! Now, what did that look like? It looked like He was dishonest, or sneaky, or wish-washy.
So what gives, there?
Someone pointed out to me once, when I mentioned what Jesus’ words and actions seemed like, that Jesus listened constantly to the leading of the Holy Spirit. When His brothers had goaded Him, the Holy Spirit had not yet told Him to go to the feast. After they left, however, it was time to go! Interesting.
Of course, just being different from everyone else in no way qualifies as being led by the Holy Spirit.
So what DOES it mean to “listen to the Holy Spirit”, or to be led by Him? And why should we be?
Romans 8:14: “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.”
Are you a child (daughter) of God? Then you have and are being led by the Holy Spirit.
Gal. 5:18: “But if you are led by the Spirit, then you are not under the law.”
Since the Holy Spirit is leading you, your salvation is not based on anything you do, but on what Christ has done for you.
Gal. 5:16: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”
Gal. 5:25: If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”
If you are Christ’s, and live by and are led by the Spirit, then walk along with Him.
Eze. 36:27: “I will put my Spirit within you, and will cause you to walk in my statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.
If God has put His Spirit in you, then 1) He will cause you to walk in His statutes, and 2) You will be careful to obey what He has instructed you to do in His Word.
Rom. 8:4: “So that the requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
Easier said than done? On the one hand, yes; we die to ourselves, and yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit.
On the other hand, Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
This is, I believe, one of those things that is spiritually discerned, and must be obeyed by faith. In other words, we obey our Lord Jesus whether we feel like it or not, based on our belief that He has put His Spirit in us, rather than waiting until we feel like it (Hmm. That sounds an awful lot like something we might tell our recalcitrant children!).
And in the long run, following the leading of the Holy Spirit is the only place where we can truly be at peace, resting in Him.
Hard? Well, yes. In our own strength, impossible! But with God, all things are possible.
Blessings to you, Sister!