It’s not mysterious or spooky. You don’t have to be super spiritual or carry a 20-year-salvation card. To follow the Spirit of God, all you have to do is follow the Word of God. “It can’t be that easy!” you say? Yes, it’s that easy. Right off the bat you must understand that God’s will is His Word and His Word was written by His Spirit. Peter wrote that holy men of old were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Peter 1:20-21). All scripture is God-breathed according to second Timothy 3:16. Walking by the Word is following the Spirit. As you do this, the Holy Spirit is able to direct you on specific details of your life. Take the following steps and enhance your ability to follow the Spirit of God:
Step One. Pray the Word. It is the perfect will of God. Hearing the Word of God not only builds your faith, it sows the Word directly into your heart and enables the Spirit to speak. Many times you will be reading/praying the Word and get your answer.
Step Two. Pray in the Spirit. It is another form of perfect prayer. Your natural mind is unfruitful and can’t hinder your prayer (1 Corinthians 14:14).
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
Step Three. Live by the Spirit. Galatians 5:16 says, “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” Verses 22-23 later list the following fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. If you intentionally personify these traits everyday, when the Spirit does give you a command you know it because there will be no mental clutter.
Step Four. Listen and obey. We have the secret! In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3). All we have to do is obey. Imagine a person who lived their whole life totally committed to God’s Word—obeying it to the letter. This person, however, never actually “heard” from God. He only did what the Bible taught. What are the odds that his life would be successful? You get the picture.
Of course the scenario in step four is impossible because a man or woman of that stature would surely hear from God many times. Even sinners on occasion hear from God—it’s called a conscience. We are spirit beings. Now the conscience can be seared (1 Timothy 4:2) and therefore become ineffective. But, it was put in every human by God. So the more you discipline yourself to follow His Word, you will inevitably be following His Spirit. Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice (John 10:27).” You learn to know His voice by knowing His Word.
Clues that Expose the Enemy’s Voice
- If the voice is talking about killing, stealing or destroying, it’s not of God (John 10:10; Jeremiah 29:11).
- If you can’t verify it in the Bible, it’s not from the Lord (1 John 4:1). Any voice you hear should line up with Scripture.
- If it’s negative, it’s not God (Psalm 145:13). Even in chastisement, God is gracious.
Tips for Following the Spirit in Decision Making
- Go in the direction of peace, even when your flesh is unsure. Know that your steps are ordered and it’s all working out for your good (Psalm 37:23; Romans 8:28).
- Don’t stop moving. If you’ve not gotten a clear answer, just keep doing the right things and stay prepared. My natural father always tells me, “Stay ready so you won’t have to get ready.” This way when God speaks you’re nimble.
- Have a short memory—forget past mistakes. So you flubbed a decision, who hasn’t? Psalm 138:8 is true concerning you. Don’t get deterred from following the Spirit just because you miss it.
Again, follow the Word and you’ll always be in line with the Spirit. My goal in this series of articles is to simplify the processes of life by the Spirit and prayer in the Spirit. I give Scripture references to encourage you to seek these things out for yourself. It is the best way to start following the Spirit of God. It’s just like following a recipe. You may not get it perfect the first time, but the more you tweak your life by the Word, the better it becomes.
Be blessed friends, and have the perfect day everyday!