Jump Start # 3035
Galatians 5:18 “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.”
Our verse today comes from a section that has much to say about the Holy Spirit. In verse 16, we find, “…walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” Our verse today, verse 18, says if you are “led by the Spirit.” Then we come to the fruit of the Spirit. At the bottom of the chapter, we find, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”
Here in this one section we find, walk by the Spirit, led by the Spirit, and live by the Spirit. Mention the topic of the Holy Spirit, and many folks get real excited and jittery. The indwelling of the Spirit has led some to all kinds of ideas, even though many forget that God dwells in us and we dwell in God. Christ dwells in us and we dwell in Christ. But, it’s that mystical Spirit that seems to get everyone in a fog.
There are those who claim that the Spirit leads them directly to certain passages, certain people and to certain conclusions. Modern authors, nearly claiming inspiration, declare that the Spirit of God told them to write what they authored in books. Strangely, though, these writers seem to keep any proceeds from book sales for themselves, and even proudly display their names on the cover of the books. If God is telling them what to write, you’d think that God ought to get the credit.
Indiana preacher, Z.T. Sweeney wrote a long time ago, “The writer has known many good, honest people that claimed to have an inward monitor to lead them, who at the same time would reject the clear teaching of God’s word. The Spirit of God never led any man to contradict the Word which He has so clearly revealed. The whole Christian life is a life of faith. It begins, continues and ends in faith.”
The Holy Spirit debate and turmoil for decades is whether God does all of His work exclusively through His word or is there a way the Spirit leads us apart from God’s word. This discussion needs to be hammered out in a Bible class and not in a devotional Jump Start. However, there are several things that we ought to recognize and be helped through these words.
First, God will not lead a person away from His word. That simply won’t happen. A person may be lead in a different direction, but it’s not God who is doing that. Our lives are to be consistent with the Word of God. Keeping the commandments is stressed throughout the N.T. Five different times in 1 John the expression, “keep His commandments” is stressed. Ignoring the Bible will not bring a person closer to God.
Second, Paul put the word of God above that of the voice of angels and apostles. The first chapter of Galatians stresses that. God doesn’t whisper new messages to you. If it’s not in the Bible, walk away from it.
Third, it is the Spirit that gave us God’s word. So as you and I follow that word, we are being led by the Spirit. We are going the direction and in the manner that the Spirit wants us to travel. Led by the Spirit is not some hard to describe feeling or sensation that comes upon us. When our conscience is saturated with God’s word, verses will come to our mind, we’ll recall sermons that mirror the choices or situations that we are in, and we can see what God wants us to do. When we don’t follow the Spirit, guilt, shame and consequences are the result. Are we led today by the Spirit? Absolutely. It’s what our passage says. Are we led independently or even differently than what the Bible says? No.
Fourth, far too many put more faith and hope in feelings and what they call ‘divine nudges’ than they do the word of God. The Holy Spirit is God. He is a divine person. He is not a feeling. Feelings were never used as indications of salvation, or which direction a person ought to take in life. Paul told the Corinthians that no one knows the thoughts of God expect what has been revealed. For someone to say, “I think God would like this,” or, “I believe God doesn’t have a problem with this,” is all guess work. Many think that if they like something then God does. We must remember that the Lord’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are much greater than our ways. To walk by faith is to walk by the revealed word of God. To walk by faith is to be led by the Spirit as we follow the Spirit given word.
Fruit of the Spirit. Holy Spirit baptism. Spiritual gifts. The indwelling of the Spirit. The blasphemy of the Spirit. There’s enough here to fill several weeks of deep study and looking into the Bible. And, the more one does that, the more answers he will find, and the more assurance he will have of what God wants Him to do.
God led me…be sure you understand what that means. The Lord said, “seek and you will find.” Stick with what you read in the Bible. Be careful of moderns who claim that God is telling them specifically what to do, say and write. You’d think, if indeed God was leading some of these current writers to specific passages, as they are claiming, then God would once in a while lead them to Ephesians 4 or Acts 2 or Galatians 1. We’d think God would lead them to understand the nature of worship, the purpose of the church, and what is involved with salvation. Those are all “Biggies.” Interesting, that they don’t claim that God leads them towards those things.
Are we walking by the Spirit? I hope so. Are we led by the Spirit? We should be. Are we living in the Spirit? Yes. Don’t be afraid of Biblical expressions just because others abuse them, misuse them and do not understand them. We speak as the Bible speaks!