In 1977, I read an article in TIME magazine about a town in Wyoming that was booming. Coal and oil were turning a sleepy cow town into a thriving little city, full of young workers. I was familiar with Gillette, WY. My Dad, before entering ministry, took us there each summer when he was buying lambs for his sheep company. Reading that article, I sensed the calling of the Spirit to go there. I went to prayer and, after a week or so, I broached the subject of a cross-country move to my wife. Late August found us traveling to Wyoming. We had no job waiting for us, very little money to sustain us, and a big dream pulling us westward!
The next 12 months were full of HUGE life lessons that helped mature me, growing faith in me. The ripple effect of that decision changed the course of several other lives as well. Then, one year later we returned to New Jersey where I became an Associate Pastor. Our year in Wyoming looked like a fool’s errand to many but there is no doubt that God led Bev and me to that little town. It was not for the purpose which we thought. God used that place to develop our spiritual maturity.
Do you live in a way that lets God lead?
Christians should be led by the Spirit. Paul says that “those who are led by the Spirit are children of God.” (Galatians 6.14) Before claiming that God is telling us to go here or there, buy this or that, to make some major life change, we need to recognize the voice of the Lord and understand what discernment means. Too many times Christians claim to be “led by the Spirit” when in reality they are just following a feeling or responding to some emotional impulse. There is no substitute for wise counsel and submission to the revealed Truth of the Word as we walk with God! In our nation many value feelings over thinking especially when it comes to the practice of faith. Knowing God for some equates to “having an emotional experience.” One author points out that letting go of doctrine and accountability leaves us adrift on “the vast sea of subjectivity … carried by the turbulent winds of half-truth blow onto the vicious crags of confusion and mindless spirituality.” – Full Gospel, Fractured Minds? – Zondervan, 2005
In 2020, given the upheavals in our lives brought about by COVID19- grief over losses, angst about health, coping with government restrictions on our lives and economic losses – the value of knowing that we can be led by God’s Spirit is inestimable. Personal peace and the witness of faith become evident in those whose minds and hearts are guided by the Lord. Yes, Christian, God speaks today. He says, “Come now, let us reason together.” Isaiah 1:18 (NIV) Spirit-led people live with a deep, life-shaping faith but not a blind one! Paul encourages us to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1 (NKJV) Note the word, “reasonable.” We need not ‘lose our minds’ to be led by the Spirit.
It is not a lack of faith to examine the claim of that person who says she is being ‘led the Spirit.’ Asking God to give for a discerning mind is not the same as refusing to follow His lead. It is a humble recognition that we are imperfect, that we can get it wrong. Christian history is replete with stories of charismatic leaders who were given too much credence, who led God’s people into foolish and destructive situations. John gives us this warning: “do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.” 1 John 4:1 (NLT) The passage goes on to say that the primary test to determine who is a genuine ‘prophet’ – that is one who is claiming to hear from God and speak for God- is the way he conducts himself day to day. Is there clear evidence of submission to Jesus Christ as Lord? Rebellious rogues who recognizes no authority bring disrepute to Christ’s Church.
There is great boldness for the believe to be found in knowing what God says and following His lead! It’s time for mature disciples to ‘wait on the Lord’ and having heard His voice, to stand courageously as they invite others with Paul’s words – ” Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1, KJV) Have you heard the Spirit’s call? Are you letting Him lead? People of the Spirit, led by Him into works of faith, make His name glorious and build His kingdom. He leads, I’ll follow.
Here is a word from the Word. “If you need wisdom—if you want to know what God wants you to do—ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking.” (James 1:5, NLT) “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.” (James 4:7-8, NLT)
He Leadeth Me
He leadeth me O blessed thought
O words with heavenly comfort fraught
Whate’er I do where’er I be
Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me
He leadeth me He leadeth me
By His own hand He leadeth me
His faithful follower I would be
For by His hand He leadeth me
Sometimes ‘mid scenes of deepest gloom
Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom
By water’s calm o’er troubled sea
Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me
Lord I would clasp Thy hand in mine
Nor ever murmur nor repine
Content whatever lot I see
Since ’tis my God that leadeth me
And when my task on earth is done
When by Thy grace the victory’s won
E’en death’s cold waves I would not flee
Since Thou through Jordan leadeth me
Joseph Henry Gilmore | William Batchelder Bradbury
© Words: Public Domain