This past week I was responding to a post on a discussion board for one of my classes at Liberty University in Evangelism. The lady who posted a message mentioned that in her opinion, one of the most pressing needs is for pastors to be led by the Holy Spirit. I could not agree more. In fact, the Holy Spirit is the very presence of God in our lives. Yet so often, it seems that individuals seek out their own agendas or their own concerns instead of what the Holy Spirit desires. Paul warns us that it is possible to “quench the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19). So what are some ways that we can become more in tune with the Holy Spirit’s leadership?
1. Follow the Spirit by Spending Quality Time with the Lord in Prayer.
Several times it is reported that Jesus went away to spend quality time with the Lord. Jesus, the Son of God, needed time to rest in the presence of God. In Matthew 14:13, it is written that Jesus “withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.” In Mark 1:35, we learn that Jesus “got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Here is the point that must be learned: if Jesus needed time alone with God, we need even more time alone with God. So many times our spiritual reserves are drained by the problems of life. However, we should know that God provides us rest in the Holy Spirit. Find a time in which you can spend with the Lord and defend that time adamantly. Wilson and Hoffman write in their book Preventing Ministry Failure that one “must maintain strong boundaries around our inner life, for as soon as we relax them we may be attacked by an enemy who sees us as the gateway to hundreds if not thousands of souls” (Wilson & Hoffman 2007, 167). Find a time and place where you can get away with God and spend that time with Him. Leave your pagers, phones, and Facebook accounts in a different place. Jesus said, “But when you pray, go into your room and pray to your Father, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen” (Matthew 6:6). You may find this time with God the most relaxing time you have spent in some time.
2. Follow the Spirit by Spending Quality Time with the Lord in His Word.
Part of your time with God needs to be spent in the Word of God. Do you have a regular Bible reading plan? Even more importantly, do you look and hear what God may be telling you? If you do so, it may be that the Spirit of God convicts you in some ways or perhaps changes your perspectives. If He does, know that you are in good company. Jesus said of the Holy Spirit that He would “teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26). The Spirit would also convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8ff). The Holy Spirit inspired the writings of Scripture in their original form and works through its words to convict, teach, and lead. Not only should one read the Word, one should meditate on the Word asking the Holy Spirit to guide them into the truth.
3. Follow the Spirit by Spending Quality Time with the Lord Resting in the Promises.
I made a startling discovery the past few weeks. Many of the health issues with which I have been struggling have been directly related to anxiety and worry. I found myself recently undergoing a gastric emptying test to check the functioning of my stomach. While in the waiting room, I spoke with two individuals who were in for the same kind of testing. They spoke of their conditions. Admittedly, they have suffered with far more than I have. Yet, a common trend was noted. All of us had undergone stressful events in our lives and none of us had coped with the events very well. Then it hit me…it’s not supposed to be that way. Did not Jesus say “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)? We can find rest in God through the Holy Spirit if we call upon Him.
Much more can be said, but this article would become a book if I did. The Holy Spirit of God should have impacted us in a mighty way. But, this spiritual awakening does not have to be a one-time experience only. A Christian should have constant communion with God through the Holy Spirit. A Christian should be led by the Holy Spirit of God and directed in His paths. If the modern church would let go of the things that they cannot change and focus on the things that they have been called to change, then it might just be that we could be on the verge of a Third Great Awakening. That is my prayer. But understand, the Spirit of God cannot be controlled, maintained, and does not operate by the vote of the majority. The Spirit of God is like an untamed lion. Perhaps that is why the Spirit has been symbolized in Scripture by a fire. In fact, God is said to be a “consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). Allow the Spirit of God to take control, you may find yourself speaking to people you never thought you would, doing things you never thought you could, being enlightened to new truths that were previously misunderstood, and seeing former bad things miraculously transformed into good. Because our God can “do immeasurably more than we all ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20). Are you ready for Holy Spirit leadership? I certainly am!!! Take control Holy Spirit and lead us into the paths of Jesus our Savior.
Scripture taken from the New International Version. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011.
Wilson, Michael Todd and Brad Hoffman. Preventing Ministry Failure. Downers Grove: IVP, 2007.
© Pastor Brian Chilton 2014.