The Leading of the Spirit
By C. M. Becton
There are abundant reasons why we should seek to learn what the Scriptures mean by “spiritual leading.” There are few subjects so intimately related to the Christian life of which the meaning is so distorted. To some it is a mystery into which it would be well not to study about too closely. And as a consequence it has come to bear a flavor of fanaticism.
The apostle Paul wrote, “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” The definition of the sons of God can be recognized when you find an individual who is truly and genuinely led by the Spirit. This is the very characteristic of the children of God.
The leading of the Spirit is not some peculiar gift reserved for special sanctity and granted as the reward of great achievements. It is the common gift given to all God’s children to meet their common need, and it is the evidence of their common weakness and unworthiness. It is not the reward of special spiritual attainment; it is the condition of all spiritual attainment. In its absence we would remain hopelessly the children of darkness; by its presence alone are we constituted the children of God. It is only because of the Spirit of God shed abroad in our hearts that we are able to cry, “Abba, Father.”
To be a son is to be a partaker of the immortal life of God. Paul wrote of the Spirit that leads us it is in us as “a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” A son has Christ in him, the hope of glory. He is an heir of God, a joint heir with Jesus Christ. To be led by the Spirit is to enter and grow in the spiritual life and become a brand new creation in Christ Jesus.
“God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we ‘have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin’ (I John 1:5-7).
Salvation is more than an emotion or a feeling, more than a happy mood; it is a life principle, deep, pure, strong and eternal; happy feelings and pleasures of spiritual emotion are but experiences the Spirit brings into our lives.
Often we sing, “To be like Jesus, to be like Jesus, on earth I long to be like Him.” To be like Jesus is the result of the leading of the Spirit. The Spirit leads us away from fleshly affinities, to enter into moral affinity with God. We and God become like-minded by the Spirit. Sometimes we remark that a young man is his father made over. We mean more than appearance, although that may be a part of our thinking. But the young man has his father’s spirit, his habits, and his tendencies.
Jesus once said, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:4445).
There is a law of unconscious assimilation. We become like those with whom we go. Without being conscious of it, we take on the characteristics of those with whom we live. Their actions and attitudes become ours. We are not playing or merely acting like a Christian; by the Spirit we have become the real character because living with Jesus we have become like Him.
The leading of the Spirit as expressed in Romans 8:14 is not merely being directed in the way a person should go, or merely guided by one who points out the path and leads by going before him; nor does it mean merely being upheld while he himself finds or directs himself to the goal. The idea appears to go beyond these ideas to include having control over a person’s actions. It has the connotation of the person being totally yielded to such a point that he is no longer sufficient to resist. It is a compelling inner urge that constrains a person to follow-a prevailing determination of action.
Being led by the Spirit means that every spark of light in the soul is kindled by the Holy Spirit. Every moment of the divine life in a person is under the Spirit’s control. Every heavenward desire, every yearning of the love of Christ, every keen spiritual judgment cutting through the fallacies and self-seeking evasions of the world, is from Him and by Him.
It must not, however, be misconstrued, or misunderstood that the idea of Spirit control takes away the ability of the individual to elect to go in another direction. We are not robots but free moral entities, making our choices by our own wills-we can select to follow the Spirit or go our own way. Neither should it be thought that the Spirit replaces the written Word of God; rather He illumines our hearts to believe the Word and to discover the truth that God has expressed in His Word.
Unfortunately, not every doctrine embraced by Christianity is truth. For example, the truth of the oneness of God has been compromised by the human concept and dogma known as “the holy Trinity.” Deuteronomy 4:35 states, “Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him.” And this truth of God’s oneness carries throughout the entire Scriptures. Matthew 1:23 states, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they call his name Emmanuel, which interpreted is, God with us.” The one true God came into this world in Jesus Christ. Moreover, the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of this one God-God with us and in us.
The great move of the Holy Ghost in the world today is opening spiritually blind eyes to the truth of the absolute deity of Jesus Christ, that He is God manifested in flesh. But while many are accepting this biblical truth, others are rejecting it, preferring tradition and doctrines of men to the teaching of the Scriptures and the leading of the Spirit.
Are you going to exert your power of choice to refuse to believe in one God whose salvation name is Jesus?
Every day people are being enlightened by the Word and Spirit to their need of being baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of their sins. This was clearly the practice of the Apostolic church as recorded in the Book of Acts. (See Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5; 22:16.)
Being led by the Spirit is not a mystery to be ignored or a matter to be treated as fanaticism. The Spirit will open the Scriptures to you if you will allow Him, for He is here to lead and guide you into all truth. The decision is yours to refuse His leadership or to follow Him as sons of God. Why not turn your life over to Him now?
This article is from: The Pentecostal Herald, October, 1994.
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