How To Be Led By The Spirit-Part 1

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
Romans 8:14 NKJV

I want to say first of all that this is by no means an exhaustive study on being led by the Spirit. This is such a vast subject I am only giving a representative overview to get you started in the exciting, fulfilling life of being led by the Spirit. We spend our life learning to be led by the Spirit and developing sensitivity through relationship with the Holy Spirit. Paul tells us that one of the primary marks of our sonship is the ability and willingness to be led by the Spirit of God. It is possible to know the principles of redemption, faith and confession and not be led and still fail. Many believers are trying to override God's leading with confession (don't get me wrong, confession is a vital part of walking in victory). I heard a good example of this from Bro. Keith Moore. He was working for Kenneth Hagin Ministries taking calls for prayer. A lady called and said that she claimed Psalm 91 over herself and got mugged anyway. She wanted to know why her angel did not protect her. After questioning her for a few minutes he found out that where she was mugged was a rough part of town. He then asked if she felt she needed to go there, to which she responded not only did she not feel she needed to go, she actually got a check in her spirit about going from the Holy Spirit. Please understand me, I am not being critical, I have done it. Many of us has done it. But let us not kid ourselves. We cannot override God's leading with confession. This is why some people go home to heaven early.

We Are To Be Led By The Spirit And Not By Need

Many ministers in particular wear themselves out because they are not led. They never have time for their own families because they are not led in to whom they minister to. I realize I am not called to help everyone. We would be a lot more effective if we were led. Many bankrupt themselves ministering to the poor. Jesus said that the poor we would have with us always (Matthew 26:11). So if we are led by need there will never be enough. There are also many worthy causes that need millions of dollars of support. So the answer is be led. If everyone does what God leads them to do, God's purpose will be carried out in the earth. God himself is not and cannot be moved by need. Jesus is touched by the feeling of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15) but not moved by them. God can only move through our faith in the Word of God. If God was moved by needs there would not be a need in the world. Our need moved God 2000 years ago when He sent His Son to the cross. In that act of redemption every need of ours was met in the mind of God. We have to appropriate it by faith. So if we are going to be led by the Spirit we cannot be led by need.

We Are To Be Led By The Spirit And Not By "Fleeces"

Many believers are "putting out fleeces before the Lord". If you are not familiar with this line of thinking it comes from a misappropriation of the story of Gideon in Judges 6.
So Gideon said to God, “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said—  look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said.” And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water.  Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.”  And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground. Judges 6:36-40 NKJV
Although it is true that Gideon did ask to be led by wet and dry fleeces and God honored it, we have to view this story in light of its historical context. First of all the Bible is progressive revelation.
But the word of the LORD was to them, “ Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little,”... Isaiah 28:11 NKJV
Simply put the characters in the Old Testament did not know everything we know under the New Covenant. Both Paul and Jesus said they were revealing mysteries kept secret from the foundation of the world. So we cannot get away with doing some of the things people did under the Old Covenant because they were walking in all the light they had. We, however, should know better.
The second thing to consider about Gideon, as well as all other Old Testament believers, is they were spiritually dead. The New Birth was not available as we know it until Jesus presented His blood on the Heavenly Holy of Holies. That is why God had to deal with His people in such drastic ways. They did not have the Spirit of God residing in their spirit to the same degree we do under the New Covenant.
He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:38-39 NKJV
The Holy Spirit would come upon the prophet, priest, and king to accomplish a particular task. Jesus had the Spirit of God come upon Him and remain.
And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.  I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’  And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.” John 1:32-34 NKJV
Jesus also said when we receive the Holy Spirit under the New Covenant, that He would remain with us.
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—  the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:16-17 NKJV
Now that we have the Holy Spirit we should flow with God's process under the New Covenant which is being led by the Spirit.

The third fact about Gideon is that his whole nation was out of fellowship with God. The whole reason God called upon Gideon to deliver His people is because they had gone into captivity because of their rebellion.

You may say, "Well brother that is all well and good, but I have never put out a fleece." There are different variations of the fleece that believers use all the time. The underlying principle of the fleece mentality is trying to determine the will of God through natural circumstances. Some say, "Lord, if this is Your will, open the door, if not close it." That is a fleece prayer. We are led by the Spirit, not opportunities. Satan will always offer a shortcut to your divine destiny. This is what satan did when he offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world. Jesus would ultimately gain authority over the world through His death burial and resurrection. Satan was offering it to Him without having to pay the price for it. So if we require evidence in the seen realm to follow God's leading Satan can compensate us with a counterfeit. On the other hand we are not to be led by "closed doors". If you are led this way, all satan has to do is throw up a few roadblocks and you will say, "well, it must not have been the will of God after all". No! If we have God's Word and leading on it we should keep standing and keep knocking until the door opens.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-9 NKJV
Another example of a fleece prayer is, "Lord, if this is really you, let three men with red hats walk by."  Once again, if you are looking in the natural seen realm, you are opening yourself up for deception.
For we walk by faith, not by sight.

2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV
Satan can cause three men with red hats walk by to deceive you. Especially when you are not cooperating with God's principles of how to be led. Some say, "well, my aunt Nellie prayed that way and God led her that way".  Many times in people's babyhood stages He honors prayers like that. That is not a testimony of the validity of that kind of prayer, but rather the willingness of God to speak to us. Once you have learned God's processes then you are responsible to walk in them.
Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, - Acts 17:30 NKJV
If you want to be in position to expect to receive God's leading, you must be led by the Spirit.

Another way God led his believers that was valid under the Old Covenant was casting lots. This is how the apostles selected Matthias.
And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles. - Acts 1:26 NKJV
This was a valid way to be led prior to the day of Pentecost.
The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the LORD. - Proverbs 16:33 NKJV
However, after the day of Pentecost (when the Holy Spirit was poured out) the apostles were led by the Holy Spirit

...these are sons of God.

This part is a little blind to us in English. In the Greek the word "sons" is the word "Huios" (pronounced whee-os). It literally means mature sons. Contrast that word with "children" in Romans 8:16.
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, - Romans 8:16 NKJV
The word translated children is the Greek word "teknon" which simply means offspring. In Hebrew culture when a son reached maturity his father would take him to the city gates, where all the business of that day was carried out (much like city hall or the courthouse of our day), and would say, "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. Hear him." From that day forward when the son spoke it was as if the father was speaking. He carried all the clout of the father. He would give him his signet ring that acted as a stamp that is just like the fathers signature. This is when he transitioned from a child (teknon) to a son (huios). So according to Paul, being led by the Spirit is one way we are released into greater measures of responsibility.

Not Seeking God's Leading Is A Manifestation Of Pride.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”  But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. - James 4:13-17 NKJV
When we refuse to seek God's direction we deny His Lordship which is the height of arrogance thus causing God's grace to wane off of our life.
But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “ God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. - James 4:6-7 NKJV
It is also not wisdom to not seek counsel from someone eternal when we are finite (see James 4:14).
God's Provision Is Tied To His Leading.
The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
Psalm 23:1 NIV
To the degree we submit to God as our Shepherd is to the degree we can expect to walk in His provision. We see this illustrated in the life of Elijah in the time of famine.
“Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan.  And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.”

1 Kings 17:3-4 NKJV
The provision was at the Brook Cherith. Had he not gone there he would  not have received God's provision. Just when he started to get settled in God led him to move again.
“Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.”
1 Kings 17:9 NKJV
Abraham's provision followed God's leading.
Now the LORD had said to Abram:“Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you.  I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you;  And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”   So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. - Genesis 12:1-4 NKJV
Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. - Genesis 13:2 NKJV
God is looking for those yielded to His Spirit to funnel His resources through to bless hurting humanity. We see this pattern mirrored in the life of Isaac.
There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, in Gerar.Then the LORD appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. Then Isaac sowed in that (where God had told him to stay) land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the LORD blessed him. - Genesis 26:1-2,12 NKJV (Parenthesis mine)
We notice from the life of Abraham and his son Isaac that one was led to go and the other led to stay. We must have a fresh leading for each generation.

This message will continue in the next article, "How to be led by the Spirit "- Part 2 Developing Sensitivity.

-- Rev. Travis Johnson was born again and Spirit filled in May of 1994. He accepted God's call to ministry in 1996. He graduated from Faith Bible Institute in 1997. He is recognized as an anointed Bible Teacher. His desire is to, along with other ministers of the Body of Christ, empower believers to interpret the Bible for themselves and make the Word of God applicable to be successful in day to day life. Travis currently lives in Arkansas with his wife and daughter.
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