For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (ESV)
A while back I was asked to speak at two different churches in two different cities on the same Sunday morning. Both of these churches were located in fairly remote farm land just outside where I live. Since my GPS wouldn't work in these areas, I was given turn by turn written directions by the pastor for the first church that I was to speak at.
I only had 15 minutes to get from the first church to the second church and it was a 15 minute drive to get there! With no idea how to navigate the country roads and no written directions on how to get to my next speaking engagement, I was feeling a little stressed. One of the elders in the first church saw my stress level rise when she was trying to verbally give me directions to the next church, so she kindly offered for me to follow her in my car and she would lead the way. I gladly accepted her kind offer to lead me.
It was a beautiful Sunday morning, the sun was shining, we were driving past beautiful corn fields, everything felt perfect. I wasn't stressed because I knew that the lady driving in the car in front of me knew where she was going. I didn't have to watch out for street signs, I didn't have to worry about speed traps, all I had to do was follow her. Because I was confident that she knew where she was going, I had the opportunity to enjoy the rich scenery that we were driving through. This feeling of bliss contrasted the stress I felt earlier in the morning as I was trying to follow my turn by turn directions to get to the first church.
Since I was being led, my only responsiblity was to simply follow. It was at this moment that God spoke to me and said these words... "Barry, this is how it feels to be led by the Spirit". I immediately understood what the Lord was saying to me. When we are led by the Spirit of God, we do not have to worry about where we are going. We do not have to try and chart out the turn by turn directions in life. All we have to do is to simply follow. When we are following the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we can enjoy the scenery along the way because we do not worry about getting lost.
In this week's blog, the passage of Scripture from Romans 8:14 tells us that one of the signs of sonship is learning to be led by the Spirit. It might sound simple enough, but in an orphan world system that celebrates independence, the idea of allowing ourselves to be led, can be quite a challenge.
If someone else is leading us, then our only responsibility is to follow. When the Spirit moves, we move. When He stops, we stop. In order for us to be led by the Spirit, we must surrender our own agendas and independence and simply trust in God's goodness to take us where He wants us to go. When we are led by the Spirit, we simply settle in to being the branch that Jesus speaks about in John 15, where He tells us that He is the vine and apart from Him, we can do nothing.
In my own life, I am learning how to follow the Spirit's lead. It has not been easy for me, I am slowly learning what it means to be led. Having a 'type A' personality, I have always believed that initiating is always better than waiting. But the truth is, to be led by someone, is to learn to live in a posture of waiting to be led.
The first part of verse 7 in Psalm 37, says... Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him. Verse 34 in the same chapter King David says... Wait for the LORD and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off. (ESV) Isaiah 40:31 tells us that those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will even mount up with wings like eagles and never tire!
My question has always been... How long do I wait? The answer that I have always heard from the Lord is... "As long as it takes!" For that reason, I have struggled to yield to the process of being led. If I allow myself to be led by the Spirit, then I will need to embrace a posture of waiting to be led. When He moves, I move. When He stops, I stop.
While this has been a difficult and painful process for me to learn, I am slowly but surely, grasping the glorious freedom found in being led. Being led by the Spirit frees up my mind carrying the responsibility of trying to discern the road map for my life. Being led by the Spirit frees me up to be able to live in the moment rather than in the future. Being led by the Spirit allows me to embrace a simple life with the heart of a child who calls out to his Father... "Are we there yet?"
My prayer today is that we would all see the amazing benefits of being led by the Spirit. My prayer is that the Lord will restore our ability to trust in His leading and not to lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). May we all find the courage to lay down our own agendas today and surrender to the loving leading of the Holy Spirit that lives within us.
May we all find a new freedom in our hearts today that allows us to live in the moment, rather than to live in the future. May we be able to embrace the heart position of learning to wait on the Lord so that our strength can be renewed. May we all see the glory and the fruitfulness that awaits everyone who simply takes their place as a branch that has unlimited access to the richest, life-giving vine imaginable (John 15).
1 John 2:27
As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him. (NIV)