Saturday, September 23, 2017 hundreds of people took part in the “Walk Like MADD 2017” fundraiser at Riverwalk Park here in Bakersfield. As we were walking, I was praying and thinking about Romans 8:14. “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” I was thinking, what was “leading” all these people to get together and walk? There were people from so many backgrounds and there isn’t enough space for me to talk about it all. People who had been hurt as the result of a drunk driver or a family member who had been hurt in the hands of a drunk driver. As I looked at the people around me I felt the comforting hand of God encouraging and caring for the people there.
What was leading me? I fell into the story of having a loved one injured at the hands of a drunk driver as well as being “led by the Spirit of God.” But what does being led by the Spirit of God really mean? The Apostle Paul tells us in 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.” Thus, being led by the Spirit would be the putting to death the deeds of the body. How does that look practically in the life of a Christian?
Paul says, “All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Rom. 8:14), and in Galatians 5:18, he says that Christian believers as those who are “led by the Spirit.” In both verses the present tense form of the Greek verb for “lead” implies an ongoing, regular pattern of activity in the lives of believers, and in both verses such leading is connected to living in obedience to God’s moral standards: “in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit,” Romans 8:4. “So then, brothers, 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,” Romans 8:12-13. Lastly, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” Galatians 5:16.
The point I want to spend some time on is that this leading is an “ongoing” situation. A relationship that takes time, intentionality and the heart and discipline to be living consistently under the control of the Holy Spirit, the direction of the Word of God and the compelling love of Christ. One that we will never, as Christians, reach until we are in the presence of God. However, if we are discipled each day, God willing, we will learn how to live closer to God’s will for our lives.
To begin with we must surrender our lives to Jesus. John 1:12 says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” So you see the foundation of this relationship starts with putting your trust in Jesus, allowing God to open your heart to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The following are simply a few disciplines that I have found helpful in my “ongoing” pattern of being led by the Spirit.
A commentator said this: “Walking with, following, being led, submitting, and obeying all involve an absence of resistance to Christ – of laying down our arms and ending our rebellion. They all involve acknowledging that the tour guide is truly in charge. Our task is not to strike out on our own, but to allow ourselves to be led. Over time, being led leads to a trusting, personal relationship with the Guide. We get used to hearing his voice and recognizing when we're straying off the path. If living the Christian life can best be compared to allowing ourselves to be led by the Spirit, then we can do this!”
The bottom line is we cannot be led by the Spirit if we do not spend time with the Spirit. We must decide today what/who is going to be directing my decisions each day and become committed to a life that is “led by the Spirit.” God Bless.