For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God (Romans 8:14 NIV).
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves (Galatians 5:16 NLT)
In this message, we want to encourage you to be led by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a good Gift and the Father gives the Holy Spirit to those who are born again and ask of Him (Luke 11:13). The Lord promised us His Spirit to help us and be with us forever if we love Him and keep His commands (John 14:15-16). Although the world does not accept Him, see Him, nor know Him, we know Him because He lives in us and is with us (John 14:17). Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19). We belong to God, not by works, but by His Spirit which He deposited in us as a guarantee of what is to come (Romans 8:9; 2 Corinthians 1:22; Galatians 4:6).
We also receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on us so we can be witnesses (Acts 1:8). Regarding baptism of the Holy Spirit, we see in the Bible is that:
- The Lord Jesus Christ baptizes with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16).
- On the day of Pentecost, the disciples who received the Holy Spirit “saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them” (Acts 2:3). Afterwards, they spoke in other tongues and preached the gospel boldly, leading to many souls being saved (Acts 2:4, 38-41). Likewise, when you repent of your sins and are baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, you receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). The apostles laid hands on believers in praying for them to receive the Holy Spirit, but they never claimed to be the ones baptizing; instead, they gave glory to the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 8:14-17; 19:1-6).
- The Lord Jesus Christ said He drove out demons by the Spirit of God (Matthew 12:28);
- The Holy Spirit sanctifies us (1 Peter 2; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; John 16:13). He also leads us into all truth (John 16:13). In parallel, we read in the Book of Numbers that the Lord provided a cloud which continually was with the Israelites. They only set out with the Lord’s command and if the cloud moved (Numbers 9:15-23; Deuteronomy 1:32-33). The Lord God “spread a cloud for a covering, and fire to give light in the night” (Psalm 105:39 NKJV). “In the daytime also He led them with the cloud, And all the night with a light of fire” (Psalm 78:14). This should build our faith to know that God loves us and chose all His children. He does not leave us alone but gave us a great Helper who is always with us, guiding us in the way we should go, and comforting us day and night (Psalm 139:7-12).
Why Should We be Led by the Holy Spirit?
The Bible says that if we are led by the Holy Spirit, we will not gratify the things of the sinful nature which wants to do evil, contrary to the Holy Spirit who wants to do good (Romans 8:5-7). The spiritual and fleshly desires are in conflict with each other to keep us from sinning (Galatians 5:17). Born-again Christians are called to repent and stop sinning (John 8:11; 1 John 3:8-9).
Being led by the Holy Spirit will help us to avoid falling into the enemy’s traps, for example when temptation arises to commit sin or when people want to argue with you on spiritual matters. We have noticed that some religious people love to argue about food, special days, versions of the Bible, etc. If you give into the enemy’s “bait”, you end up engaging in unfruitful and useless arguments which do not build up but tear down spiritually (2 Timothy 2:23). On the contrary, we are called to encourage one another and build others up (1 Thessalonians 5:11); the Lord’s servants must not argue, but instruct gently (2 Timothy 2:24). As we mature in our relationship with Christ, we are learning not to rush into arguments, quarrels, and squabbles. If a response is not required right away, it is good to first pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you discernment on what to say, then respond as He gives you peace (Proverbs 15:1). In this way, you can avoid talking too much and saying things you will regret later (Proverbs 10:19; 17:28; 1 Peter 2:23).
Have you seen how increasingly the world is accepting sinful behaviors and lifestyles that are contrary to God’s commands in the Bible, and how Bible-affirming Christians are ridiculed and despised? Well, the Lord Jesus Christ forewarned us that a time will come when believers will be hated, persecuted, arrested and brought to trial because of their faith in Him (Matthew 24:9). The Lord Jesus also said that when such times come, we should not worry beforehand how to defend ourselves or what to say, because the Holy Spirit will teach us at that time what we should we say (Matthew 10:19-20; Mark 13:11; Luke 12:11-12). It is therefore important for us to have faith and learn beforehand how to be led by the Holy Spirit.
How Does the Holy Spirit Lead Us?
We do not claim to have all the answers on how the Holy Spirit leads us, but we will share a few ways by looking at the Scriptures. Firstly, those who believe in Jesus Christ, receive the Holy Spirit (John 7:39).
- The Holy Spirit testifies about Jesus Christ (John 15:26) and is our Comforter (John 14:26 KJV).
- The Bible says that He is the Spirit of Truth, and one of the most helpful things He does for God’s children is to guide us into all truth (John 14:17; 16:13).
- The Holy Spirit is a wonderful Helper who the Father and Son gave us that He may abide with us forever (John 14:16; 16:7).
- The Holy Spirit is our advocate who teaches us all things and reminds us of God’s precious Word (John 14:26).
- The Holy Spirit also connects us with people who need to hear the Gospel and gives us boldness to share (Matthew 12:18; Acts 1:8; Acts 13:2).
- When we are weak, the Holy Spirit helps us in our prayers and intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27).
- The Holy Spirit helps us to do the work of the ministry and God’s will (Exodus 31:3; Numbers 11:17, 27:18; Judges 6:34, 14:6; 1 Samuel 10:6).
- The Holy Spirit convicts us when we are tempted to sin and we are faced with a choice to obey or disobey the conviction we receive (Ephesians 4:29-32; Luke 22:56-57).
Furthermore, as we submit to the Lord by His Spirit, He is able to guide us regarding what words to say (Mark 13:11; Luke 1:67). In this ministry, we love the Holy Spirit and the way He works with us. It’s with His amazing help through faith that we are able to write messages to share with you.
Having True Discernment of the Holy Spirit
Having the Holy Spirit yields the good fruit of the Spirit in us and love towards others to win them to Christ, instead of abusing them and telling them how lost and demonized they are. True discernment from the Holy Spirit guides you to do right things and make right choices, and He cautions you from sinning and making wrong choices.
In his concern about the faith of the church in Corinthian, Paul said “I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!”(2 Corinthians 11:3-4 NKJV). Likewise, many well-meaning believers are guilty of entertaining another “Jesus”, receiving a different spirit, and accepting a different gospel. This might have been done by entertaining unbiblical teachings or going to revivals full of demonic influence pretending to be from God. Entertaining such teachings and attending such revivals can lead to spiritual blindness and inability to discern error.
If you have had the unfortunate experience of listening to false teachings or abusive ministries, we totally understand how well-meaning Christians can be deceived, and we praise the Lord for helping His children overcome this cunning and devious scheme of the enemy. Let us simply repent and return to the Lord and receive the Holy Spirit! If you are a person who went out chasing after dreams, visions, gifts, entertaining another “Jesus”, another gospel or another spirit and got yourself confused, please repent and allow the Lord to restore your soul (Psalm 23:3). Ask Him to renew a Right Spirit, the Holy Spirit, within you (Psalm 51:10). Repentance, prayer, fasting and being willing to completely surrender and let go of any spirits or sensations that are not of God are very helpful in asking the Lord Jesus Christ to restore a right spirit (His Holy Spirit) and presence. In His mercy, God is able to restore you and give you the discernment of the Holy Spirit and also the sweet fellowship. The more you keep your mind stayed on Him, the more of His presence you will enjoy (Isaiah 26:3). He is able and willing to do this for you! Remember the following Scripture about God’s gift to you.
The Lord Jesus asked, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13 NKJV). Amen!
When We Grieve the Spirit, Does He Still Lead Us?
The Holy Spirit is very gentle, loving, and always willing to lead us in good and righteous paths (Exodus 13:17; Psalm 143:10; Matthew 3:16). However, if we are walking in rebellion and disobedience to God, we grieve Him (Ephesians 4:30). In this way, we allow ourselves to be led by the flesh and are not able to do God’s will (2 Samuel 11:2-17; Romans 8:7). We are therefore called to have repentant hearts so that we do not allow a wrong and evil spirit to be leading us (Psalm 51:1-12, 17; 1 Samuel 16:14). You may be a person who often experiences being in the Spirit one day and in the flesh the next. You may ask yourself, “how do I avoid from switching back and forth?” It does take effort through self-discipline and willfully choosing to do right, but we must seek the Lord first daily (Matthew 6:33; 1 Corinthians 9:27). We must die to ourselves daily (Luke 9:23), otherwise if we don’t resist sin and keep doing wrong, our conscience may be seared and we will end up deceived and lost (1 Timothy 4:2).
We have heard some Christians claim that they get guidance from the spirits of dead relatives. Since the Holy Spirit is so generous to guide us, why would we need to ask for or get guidance from a dead mother’s or grandfather’s spirit? Consulting the dead, by any means, is contrary to God’s Word! (Deuteronomy 18:10-11). This is false teaching and it grieves the Holy Spirit because God’s Word clearly condemns the practice of attempting to communicate with the dead (Leviticus 19:31). There are also denominations that teach their members that they will go to heaven if they just obey certain commandments. These members look down upon other Christians and often try to force them to conform to their doctrines. The Holy Spirit doesn’t force or coerce but wants us to serve God willingly and cheerfully, and He is full of gentleness (Deuteronomy 30:15, 19; Galatians 5:22-23).
Experiences in Being Led by the Spirit
My young children are early risers, and after tiring days taking care of them and homeschooling, I (Janet) often used to struggle waking up before them in the morning. I realized that after they were up, I did not have sufficient time to do my morning devotion, prayers, and Bible reading. As a result, I would feel rushed and behind on getting the day started. I would also be more irritable and easily get frustrated, yell, complain, respond rudely, or sin in some other ways (Galatians 5:17-20). The Bible warns us that those who practice works of the flesh will not inherit the kingdom of heaven (Galatians 5:21). I now make effort to wake up earlier before my children and seek the Lord, committing my family and the day’s activities to Him. This is so that I can enter God’s rest and allow the Holy Spirit to lead me (Matthew 11:28). With this, the Lord keeps me occupied with His presence and I am now more likely to be joyful, loving, patient, gentle, kind, self-controlled, and peaceful (Galatians 5:22-23). The Lord also gives me the strength to lovingly take care of, talk to, play with, teach, fellowship, worship, witness with my children, take them to parks and field trips, and also discipline them when they need it. I am able to handle the good and tough moments with much grace while remembering to pray and ask the Lord for help and the Holy Spirit for guidance or discernment. Being led by the Spirit causes you to bear the good fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-24).
Additionally, I was taking a sewing class in the summer and after some time, my husband and I decided to buy a sewing machine. We searched online, found one, and proceeded to order it. But for some reason, I did not have peace and had an uneasy feeling that we should not have bought it. Later that day, I was talking to other mothers and sharing with them that I have been learning to sew and showing them pictures of what I had made. Suddenly this sweet sister that I had never ever met before said something like “Do you need a sewing machine? I have one in my closet that I have not used for years that I can let you have!!” Wow! Of course, I joyfully accepted and was totally amazed and humbled by the Holy Spirit’s leading. We asked for forgiveness for disobeying His leading and canceled the order we had made. So in being an awesome Helper, the Holy Spirit helped us save some money and taught us a lesson about obeying Him. Soon after, I met the generous sister and she gave me the sewing machine along with accessories for sewing and it’s working very well for us! Praise the Lord! The Bible says “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them” (1 Corinthians 12:4 NIV) and “to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7 NIV). As an example, some Christians do sense a warmth and a sweet presence of the Holy Spirit when reading the Bible, praying, interceding, worshipping, preaching, ministering, casting out demons, and doing anything good and right.
There is also a manifestation of the Spirit to caution, warn, or stop children of God from sinning against God, not doing His will, or making mistakes (Acts 16:7; 17:16). Have you experienced a “feeling” of discomfort when doing something that is worldly, watching a TV program or movie, reading something, writing something wrong or engaged in a conversation that is not pleasing to the Lord? Sometimes the Lord will use our conscience to convict us when we are doing something wrong, and at other times the Holy Spirit speaks to us in our hearts with strong nudges and cautions. If our spirit is in tune with the Holy Spirit, our identity is secure (Romans 8:16), we are better able to sense and follow His leading (Acts 5:32), and are better equipped to detect and resist Satan’s counterfeit plans and deceptive schemes (James 4:7). My husband and I have made a few bad decisions where we had warning dreams, a lack of peace, and a restless spirit, but because we followed our inclinations or were impatient and felt desperate, it turned out that we had made a wrong decision and we faced the painful consequences! We have now learned not to be more prayerful and patient, and proceed with a decision when we have peace and agreement (Amos 3:3; Matthew 18:19).
Is Physical Manifestation the Only Evidence that the Holy Spirit is in You?
Some people claim that if one is filled with the Holy Spirit, there has to be a physical manifestation, such as some sensation or speaking in tongues. Fellow brethren, just because you have not received or ‘feel’ a physical manifestation of the Holy Spirit or do not “speak in tongues”does not mean He is not in your life (1 Corinthians 12:30-31; 1 John 4:4). He is in every believer who hears and believes the good news about Jesus Christ (Acts 10:44) and in those who ask for the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:2-6). Every believer has the ability to hear and follow God’s voice (John 10:27)! When we genuinely repent of our sinful ways and choose to trust and believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we get born again and are changed (John 3:5-8). We receive a new heart and a new Spirit — God’s Spirit! (Ezekiel 36:27). The Bible says, “…God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). We receive the Holy Spirit when we are born again, in order to help us in our walk with the Lord (Acts 2:38). However, the manifestation of the Spirit involves the gifts of the Spirit and tongues is one of the gifts (1 Corinthians 14:22; Acts 2:4). We’re encouraged to desire it and ask God for it (Luke 11:13; 1 Corinthians 14:5). There are many Christians, spouses, and family members who pressure other believers to speak in tongues but as we have shared before, the Lord’s way of dealing with His children is based on choices and consequences, not by pressuring, manipulating, forcing, or coercing. We receive gifts of the Spirit from the Holy Spirit who distributes as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:11). Also, it’s good to remember that as we seek and serve the Lord, He will prepare us, equip us, and give us the gifts and talents necessary to complete the work He allotted us to do (Philippians 2:13; Exodus 31:3; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11).
Finally, we receive the Holy Spirit through obedience to Christ (Acts 5:32; Galatians 3:2) and our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. He is in us and is much greater he (the devil) who is in the world and no weapon formed against us shall prosper (1 John 4:4; Isaiah 54:17). Therefore, let us not give into the desires of the flesh or Satan’s temptations, but rather let us yield to God’s Spirit. If you are a born again, remember that the Holy Spirit is with you everywhere, including while you’re on the Internet, watching a program, on the phone, shopping, at work, in class, at the park, driving, resting, sleeping, and anywhere else (Psalm 139:7-12). So, be holy in all your conduct and don’t grieve Him! (1 Peter 1:15-16; Ephesians 4:30-31). Knowing that God’s goodness should lead us to repentance (Romans 2:4), should we keep on sinning and grieving Him? If you choose to harden your heart and ignore the Holy Spirit’s call and conviction, there are dire consequences – you will not enter God’s rest! (Psalm 81:12; Romans 1:21-34; Hebrews 3:7-11).
In conclusion, God loves you immensely and the Bible encourages us that the same Spirit who raised Christ Jesus from the dead is the same Spirit who will raise us up also (Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 4:13-14). Therefore, let us yield to the Godly words, thoughts, and decisions that the Holy Spirit puts in our hearts even as He reveals God’s purpose for our lives, so that we may bear good fruit and inherit the Kingdom of Heaven!
But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).
If you would like to have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, we invite you to start with this Prayer of Salvation. For any questions or comments about this article or our ministry, please feel free to contact us.
Abundant Grace and Peace in the Spirit,
Brother Abes and Sister Janet.