Today, we will continue our look at the Holy Spirit’s commission by looking at yet another thing that He has been assigned to do for us, Jesus’ disciples:
Just to pass in review, we have been looking at the things Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would do for us which are located in John chapters 14-16. Thus far, we have seen that He will abide with us forever, teach us concerning all things, remind us of the things that the Lord has already spoken to us, and testify of Jesus.
Last week, we moved into chapter 16, and saw that another thing that the Holy Spirit has been specifically assigned to do is to “convict.” So, we looked at verse 7 and saw how He has come to convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. Then we saw in verses 8-10 why He is convicting the world of these three specific things—of sin, because they do not believe in Him; of righteousness, because He has gone to His Father and we see Him no more; and of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
So, we dispelled a couple of popular beliefs that people have of these verses and about the workings of the Holy Spirit in general: We, first of all, saw that Jesus said that He has come to convict “the world,” and not necessarily the church. And we saw that when Jesus referred to the world here, He was certainly including the unbelievers of this world because, in verse 9, when He goes on to explain why He will convict the world of these three things, He says, “of sin, because they do not believe in Me.” Therefore, this is certainly talking about those of the world who have not yet believed on Jesus. However, we saw that it certainly included those who are in the world but not of the world as well (i.e. believers) because in verse 10 He says, “of righteousness, because I go to the Father and you (His disciples) see Me no more.”
But we saw that the fact that the Holy Spirit is convicting the world of sin is important to understand because how many of us have heard how the Holy Spirit “convicted” one of our brothers or sisters in Christ of their sin—taking them to the woodshed and making them feel horrible for what they did wrong—and they used these very verses to substantiate it? But the fact is that what a lot of Christians say is the Holy Spirit is not the Holy Spirit—which led us to the other misconception people have of these verses: Part of the reason people misunderstand the workings of the Holy Spirit is because of this word we see in the King James version— “convict.”
So, we saw how, in our modern-day terminology, the word “convict” has more of a negative tone to it. To us, the word “convict” paints the picture of a courtroom and carries the idea of some judge who is looking down on the guilty and condemning them for their wrongdoing. Therefore, a good portion of the church teaches that the Holy Spirit’s ministry is to constantly hound us—condemning us for all our various faults and shortcomings. Saints, this is not what the Holy Spirit is commissioned to do!
So, we looked at what the word “convict” actually means? We saw that the Greek word translated as “convict” carries more of the idea to “convince or to prove” than it does to “condemn.” In fact, we saw that the Greek word that the apostle John used here literally means “to bring something to light, and thus to expose it.” So, don’t get stuck on the word “convict” and let that word paint a negative picture of the Holy Spirit’s dealings with the world.
So, we made the point that if the Holy Ghost is not condemning people but is simply convicting or convincing people of their sin, then neither should we. We certainly should not be condemning people, but we shouldn’t be trying to convict them either. Why? Because that is the Holy Spirit’s job, not ours. No, we are not “Holy Ghost Jr.”
In fact, we learned that we are not called to be “convicters”; rather, we are called to be “witnesses” (see John 15:27 & Acts 1:8). And there is a big difference between someone who simply a witness and someone who does the convicting. We made the point that a witness is not the judge or the jury. A witness just simply testifies of what they have seen, heard, or experienced. And we saw that just as sometimes a witness is needed to convict a lawbreaker in a court of law, a witness is needed to open the door for the Holy Spirit to convict an unbeliever of their sin in the kingdom of God. We, as witnesses, are not to point our finger at them; we are just to tell people what we’ve experienced and then let the Holy Spirit do the convicting. Amen! So, the Holy Spirit exhorted us to not leave the witness stand and let Him do His job of convicting. Amen!
We then looked specifically at what the Holy Spirit is convicting the world of. And I am so glad that He did not just leave it up to us to figure out how and why He does this. As we’ve seen, Jesus went on in verses 9-11 and answered those questions for us.
Notice again that Jesus said that the Holy Spirit convicts the world “of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”
Now I do not want to spend too much time this week reviewing these three things, but I will say that Jesus covered the three basic areas of conviction: The Holy Spirit convicts the world of what is wrong (i.e. sin), what is right (i.e. righteousness), and last but not least, He convicts the world of the outcome of doing what is wrong or right (i.e. judgment). So, this is what the Holy Spirit is convicting the world of: He is ever in the process of convincing those in this world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. Yes, He convicts them of sin because they have not believed on the One who died as payment for their sin. He convicts them of righteousness because Jesus is not here to display the way of righteousness to them. And He convicts them of judgment because the penalty of rejecting Jesus and His righteousness is the same penalty as that of the ruler of this world.
But we did see that this does not mean that the Holy Spirit is not dealing with us—God’s children—on things as well. No, just because Jesus only addressed “the world” as being subject to the Holy Spirit’s conviction here, does not mean that He does not fulfill this in a certain measure to the church. We are in the world as well, just not of the world, and I am thankful for all of the times that the Holy Spirit has shown me when I am missing it and what I ought to be doing. And we saw that this correction is not a negative thing; it is a positive thing because He is an exhorter and an encourager, and not a condemner. So, while He certainly does “convict” us when we do something wrong in the sense that He simply brings it to our attention, He does it in order to teach and train us to become more like Jesus in our attitudes and conduct, and not to make us feel bad. Yes, He is a convicter, and not a condemner!
So, as we saw, when we sin and fall short of the glory of God, the Holy Spirit does not beat us up over it, but He simply brings to light what we need to see and then gently encourages us to get back up and believe on Jesus. You see, just as He would convict the world of sin because they did not believe on Jesus, likewise, He likes to draw us back to that place of believing on Jesus—which is at the root of all obedience and disobedience.
But we also saw that the Holy Spirit does not just convict us of the ways that we miss it; He also is commissioned to convince and persuade us of other things pertaining to God’s righteousness. In other words, He will show us what we ought to do—what is right and in agreement with God’s standards. And again, this is the difference with conviction: It does not put the attention on what we shouldn’t have done, but will point us to what needs to be done. For example, it will not beat us up for the mistake we already made, but will show us what to do now that we’ve already done it. Amen!
So now, this week, I want us to move into the following verses of John chapter 16:
In John 16:12, Jesus went on to tell His disciples— “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” And if you recall, we saw how the word “bear” here literally describes taking something up with the hands. Therefore, you could translate this phrase as— “I still have many other things I want to tell you, but you cannot handle them at this time.” And the reason they could not handle these other truths Jesus had to share with them was because they were still carnal and could not handle these spiritual truths. In other words, this describes their inability to receive certain spiritual meat because they had not been regenerated and reborn spiritually.
That is why Jesus goes on to say in John 16:13, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth…” So, when Jesus starts off by saying “however” in verse 13, He was again pointing them ahead to the ministry of the Holy Spirit coming in His place and picking up where He left off. So, while they could not handle the spiritual truth that Jesus desired to show them because they were still unregenerate and unspiritual, the Spirit of truth’s soon arrival would unlock all of these truths for them. What this shows us is that the Holy Spirit is our key in being ushered into spiritual things. Without Him, we will be severely limited in understanding spiritual things—which is what I believe the Lord wants to teach us about today.
WHAT IS TRUTH?
Now, first of all, notice that Jesus calls the Holy Spirit here “the Spirit of truth” and said that He would guide us into all truth. So, the question that needs to be answered here is the same question that Pilate asked Jesus just prior to His crucifixion (see John 18:38)— What is Truth?
Several years ago, after asking the Lord many times to define truth for me, I finally got my answer. On my back porch, during a time of prayer, the Lord spoke to my heart the following statement: He said, “Truth is—that which is not hidden, which makes God known.” So, let’s consider this definition for a moment: First of all, He told me that truth is that which is not hidden. What that means is that God is not concealing it. It is on full display. For example, like with the reality of God and His existence—while people might say that He hides Himself, His glory is revealed in the glory of His creation. If people will simply open their eyes to His reality and not shut up their hearts from Him, they will know Him. Secondly, He told me that truth is that which makes God known—meaning, truth will always point us to Him. When we are hearing truth, we are directed to the One True & Living God. And when I heard this statement in my spirit that day, I immediately saw a few things from the Scriptures where “the truth” is described to us. Let me explain:
Number one, Jesus is the Truth: In John 14:6 He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” Ephesians 4:21 also says that the truth is in Jesus. So, if Jesus is the truth, then the Holy Spirit would be “the Spirit of Jesus.” This would definitely coincide with what else we have seen that Jesus said that the Holy Spirit was commissioned to do—to testify of Him (see John 15:26). Amen?
You see, the Holy Spirit’s primary objective is to glorify Jesus and make Him known throughout the world. He is here to bear witness of Jesus’ lordship and redemptive work. So, this is a major reason He is called “the Spirit of truth.”
So, in that definition the Lord gave me of truth, I saw how Jesus perfectly fit that description of the truth because Jesus was not hidden. He came from heaven to earth to show us the way to eternal life. So, He was not hidden, but came for all to see—and He came to make God known so that we could see the true nature and will of our Father. As Jesus said, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father” (John 14:9). Therefore, Jesus was not hidden and He most definitely made God known.
Number two, God’s Word is truth: In John chapter 17, Jesus was praying for His disciples and in the middle of His prayer, He states— “Sanctify them by your truth. Your Word is truth” (John 17:17). So, if God’s Holy Word is also the truth, then the Holy Spirit would be “the Spirit of the Word.” And this certainly does not contradict the fact that Jesus is also the truth because Jesus is the Word (see John 1:2). Therefore, when Jesus said that when He—the Spirit of truth—has come, He will guide you into all truth, you could say that He will guide you into all of God’s Word.
So, I saw how God’s Word also perfectly fits the description of truth that the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart because the Bible certainly has not been hidden and it also makes God known to us. Yes, the Scriptures which contain God’s truth have stood the test of time and are readily available to whomever desires them. Not to mention, they also reveal to us God’s will, ways, and thoughts—making Him known. Amen?
But, as we’ve seen, we have yet another description of truth when Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit a couple of times as “the Spirit of truth” (John 14:17 & 16:13).
You see, the Holy Spirit came to bring the revelation of God the Father and God the Son. As Jesus said, He speaks not of Himself but came to glorify Him (Jesus). So, His intentions are certainly not hidden. He is here on the earth today to make the truth Himself known to us. Amen!
So, the Holy Spirit’s commission to “guide us into all truth” means what? It means to guide us into all of Jesus, as He is the Truth. We have seen that it also means to guide us into all of the Word, as His Word is truth as well. But one could also say that the “truth” that the Holy Spirit guides us into is the opposite of the “lie”—meaning, if we are walking in the truth, we are not walking in a lie. Therefore, the truth we are being guided into is the LIGHT itself. Yes, the Holy Spirit guides us into the light at all times. Amen?
WALKING IN THE LIGHT
The definition that the Lord gave me of truth is that it is that which is not hidden, right? So, the polar opposite of walking in truth is walking in darkness where things are most certainly hidden. The darkness is where the lies and deception occur. It is where people hide the truth—outside of the light.
And do you know who certainly walked in the light? Jesus! Jesus lived His life in the light—being the Light of the world himself. But do not be mistaken in thinking that He lived His life this way because He was the Son of God and had some advantage over us in this respect. No, for the last three years of His life on the earth, Jesus operated as a spiritually alive man who had the Holy Spirit guiding Him every step of the way.
One of my favorite examples of this is in the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead: In this familiar story located in John chapter 11, news was brought to Jesus that his friend Lazarus, whom He loved, was sick. Now if this would have been most Christians in Jesus’ shoes here, they would have immediately gone to heal their friend. But not Jesus! We are told that He stayed where He was another three days! And why did He do this? Well, I believe it was because the Holy Spirit simply led Him not to go the first three days, knowing that this was a scheme of the devil.
You see, Jesus just came from this area and, just before He left, the Jews sought to stone Him there. So, I personally believe the enemy was trying to set Jesus up to return out of an emotional response so that he could have Him stoned by those same Jews. But thank God for the Holy Spirit who led Him to stay where He was for a few more days and then, after Lazarus died from that sickness, released Him to return there.
You see, I can see those religious leaders who wanted to stone him just waiting around Lazarus’ home for those three days, waiting for Jesus to return because they just knew that if He was going to come heal anyone, He would certainly come heal His friend. But then, when Lazarus died, they left figuring Jesus was not going to come after all. And this was when Jesus came in and pulled off the biggest miracle of His ministry to date! Glory to God!
And did you know that Jesus explained precisely why He was “led” to not go to Bethany initially? When Jesus’ disciples asked him— “Why are we going back to Judea seeing that the Jews sought to stone you there?” (see verse 8)—Jesus responded in John 11:9-10 with— “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”
So, His answer was basically a proverb about walking in the daytime versus walking in the nighttime, and the key to this parable is found in one “seeing the light of this world” and that light being “in us.” You see, daytime travel doesn’t guarantee a hazard-free trip, but the light does allow us to see the hazards coming and being led around them. At nighttime, it’s inevitable that we won’t see these hazards and will continuously stumble and even hurt ourselves.
Likewise, walking in the light of God’s direction and guidance doesn’t mean that there won’t be bumps in the road, but the alternative of “doing our own thing” (which is walking in darkness) is guaranteed to get us into trouble.
So, Jesus was obviously obeying the leading of His Father to return to Judea. He could see exactly what was going to take place, and He was going to walk in the light that His Father had given Him. Likewise, our decisions should not be based on whether or not we will be hurt in some way as a result of our actions, but we should discern God’s will and do it regardless of the cost.
Both the day & night that Jesus was talking about was a defined timeframe or season on the earth to do His work. In their time, the night was a time when no one could work—obviously because they did not have electricity. All of this indicates the short time we actually have to do His will on earth before we are gone.
Also, in both John 8:12 & 9:4, Jesus refers to those who follow Him and have the light in them as not walking in darkness. What this teaches me is that even though the night has indeed come, when Jesus is no longer physically with us, we can still avoid walking in the darkness of the night and walk in the light. And why? Because although the Light of the world ascended to heaven, we have been endued with power since Acts chapter two. Therefore, we have electricity now! Yes, we have power! And when we walk in this light of the world (i.e. Jesus) we can produce the fruit of the light, which includes being led and guided by the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Yes, church, when we are in the “dark” on something—say, you were lost traveling somewhere—we have THE Guide living on the inside of us—the One promised to lead and guide us to our destination. And when it comes to walking in the dark, what is particularly helpful is having a guide with a light. Amen? And that is what we have! The Guide with the light! Amen!
HOW TO BE GUIDED
Now unfortunately most Christians are like many of us men—we don’t like to ask for directions. We would rather waste an hour trying to find it ourselves rather than simply stop and ask someone who has been there for directions. Humility will acknowledge when it needs guidance.
So, it all goes back to asking for directions and inviting the Holy Spirit to lead & guide us into all truth. But another important truth that Jesus gives about the Holy Spirit’s ministry to direct us is found in the word “guide.”
Notice John 16:13 does not say—the Holy Spirit will “drive” us into all truth, or He will “drag” us into all truth. No, Jesus said He will “guide” us into all truth. To guide someone carries more of the idea to lead them. On top of that, you cannot guide something or someone that is not already moving!
Take for instance, a boat: You can turn the rudder one way or another, but if the boat is not already moving it will not make a difference in the direction that the boat goes. Yes, you can turn a rudder as far as it will turn, but if the boat never leaves the dock, it will remain pointed in the same direction. Likewise, we have to be “moving” in order for His guidance to become effective. What do I mean by “moving?” I mean that there must be cooperation on our part because some of the responsibility has been given to us. Say, for instance, if we desire to know the truth of God’s Word. Well, we can’t just sit back and do nothing and expect the Holy Spirit to guide us into the truth of His Word. No, we must seek the truth through reading, studying, and meditating God’s Word. When we get our “boat” started in that direction is when the “Rudder”—Holy Spirit—can guide us through teaching us and bringing things to our remembrance. The Holy Spirit is the ultimate study guide!
But this is what we must understand: The Holy Spirit’s job is to guide us, not to drag us. In other words, His ministry is to help us stay on God’s path, not to tell us every little step to take.
You see, He is not interested in “making” us do anything. He is not “the good cowboy”—driving and corralling His flock and making them go in the direction He desires. No, the Holy Spirit—similarly to Jesus’ proclamation of Himself because they are one and the same—is the Good Shepherd. Yes, like Jesus, the Holy Spirit is commissioned to lead us beside the still waters and into greener pastures. But, just as a shepherd does, He leads us, but we are responsible for following Him as He guides us.
This describes the Holy Spirit’s ministry toward us! His nature is to gently guide us in the direction that we need to go—whether that be leading us into a fruitful, abiding relationship with Jesus or leading us into increasing in our wisdom and understanding of the Word. He guides us into all the truth!
GUIDED FROM SAMARIA TO ETHIOPIA
This word for “guide” is also used in Acts chapter 8 in the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. You remember the story: Philip was in Samaria preaching Christ in many villages and an angel spoke to him to go south, to the road which goes from Jerusalem to Gaza. And when he went, he saw this eunuch travelling in his chariot, reading the Book of Isaiah (vs. 28). So, as he saw him, the Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake the chariot.”
So, we pick up now in verse 30: “So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. The place in the Scripture which he read was this: ‘He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His justice was taken away, and who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.’ So, the eunuch answered Philip and said, ‘I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?’ Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.” (Acts 8:30-35)
Philip’s question to the eunuch is very practical to what we are talking about today—for I have come across many Christians who do not feel like they understand what they are reading. Well, just as the eunuch answered Philip, I believe this is true for all of us as well— “How can we, unless someone guides us?”
You see, the reason many believers do not understand the Word like they can is because they have never taken advantage of this particular commission of the Holy Spirit—to guide us into all the Word. In other words, the Holy Spirit is the key to understanding the Bible.
I have heard from countless Christians that after they were baptized in the Holy Spirit, the Bible just came alive to them and they started getting more out of it. And this should not surprise us—for the Holy Spirit’s job is to teach us the Word and guide us through the truth of His Word. Amen!
So, as we’ve said, being guided into all truth would be (and is) being guided in all the Word of God, based on John 17:17. Which we know is at least part of what Jesus was saying here because how these verses parallel what we saw in part two of this series when we learned that the Holy Spirit will teach us all things.
So, when we read our Bible, we don’t have to do it alone. We ought to ask the Holy Spirit to guide us throughout our reading and studies—inviting Him to unfold the truth that is behind every passage of Scripture. Amen.
For example, we wake up in the morning, get our cup of coffee, and sit to read, but before we do, we might say, “Good morning, Holy Spirit! Thank You for being my teacher, and I thank you one of your assignments in my life is to guide me into all truth. Well, Your Word is truth. So, as I read Your Word—Your Truth—this morning, I thank you for guiding me. YOU are my study guide! Amen!”
Again, would it make any sense for me to expect the Holy Spirit to lead me through the truths contained in the Bible if I never occasionally read my Bible? No, if I want to capture a spirit of wisdom and revelation of God through His Word, then I must first seek to grow in knowledge which comes through reading and studying (Ephesians 1:17). While certainly He could reveal the truth to us through some sort of miraculous revelation if we were in a situation where the Word of truth was not readily available to us, this is not the common way He will reveal His Word to us. I would be foolish to expect God to instruct me this way if I have the Word of God sitting on my nightstand collecting dust because I never take the time to read it. No, in order for me to take advantage of this ministry of the Holy Spirit, I must give Him something to work with. I must begin reading, studying, and meditating the Holy Scriptures. Then, and only then, will I be in position for the Holy Spirit to guide me through the Bible’s books, chapters, and verses and into all the truth contained in them.
But there is also another lesson regarding being guided by the Holy Spirit in the account we are looking at: How was Philip guided by the Spirit to have this encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch. It began as Philip was busy about his Father’s business.
We see earlier in this chapter, as Saul was persecuting the church and the saints were scattered, that Philip went down to Samaria and preached Christ to them (verse 4-5). So, what was Philip doing here? Obeying the mandate given to all of the Lord’s disciples in Mark 16:15 to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”
So, let me ask you a question—when is it ever appropriate for a Christian to not do this? Never! If Jesus told us to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, then it is always appropriate to share the good news with every person.
And this is a problem so many of God’s children have: They are waiting on God when, in fact, God is waiting on them! God has already told us to go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation! God has already told us to lay hands on the sick and they will recover! God has already told us to do all of these things, yet the majority of the church is sitting on their hands waiting for a sign from God to begin doing these things. Well, God has already spoken because it is already written!
You see, God is a God of the green light, not the red light! What do I mean by that? I mean, He is not a God who wants us sitting at that proverbial red light, waiting on Him to turn the light green for us. No, He wants us moving on the green light already given to us in His Word while being open to the red lights that the Holy Spirit might give us in certain situations. This is a big difference in mentalities.
For example, if Jesus healed them all, then that ought to tell us that God certainly is not going to be leading us to not pray for the majority of sick people that come across our path. No, it should actually be a rare thing that the Spirit not lead us to pray for someone who is sick and ailing! The Spirit and the Word agree! So, if you are consistently being “led” to not pray for someone who is sick, then I question what you are being “led” by—because it is not God’s Spirit.
My heart is not to condemn in saying these things. It is just my observation that we, as the church, are missing our “God moments.” We are passing by those that are lame like the man at the gate called beautiful, and are denying them their moment to receive God’s will for their life. And at the same time, we are denying God’s moment to be glorified! My brothers and sisters, we need to get off our hands and start putting those hands on people!
Now not only was Philip preaching the gospel and doing his part in fulfilling the Great Commission, but when the angel spoke to him and told him to go even further south to the “deserted place,” he went. It was then that the Holy Spirit gave him the reason for this particular assignment and spoke to him about overtaking the eunuch’s chariot.
So, here’s my point: What if Philip would have still been in Jerusalem hiding out in a house, and not doing what Jesus had already commissioned us to do? Further, what if, even though he had gone to Samaria, he hadn’t heeded the instructions of the angel of the Lord and not gone down to the desert? Well, I can all but guarantee you that he would have not heard “the Spirit said” in verse 29.
So, I believe this shows us how the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth—because if Philip would not have already been moving, the Holy Spirit would have not been able to guide him to minister to this eunuch. Amen?
DON’T BE MULISH!
But even though this is how God has planned to lead us, many believers will still make statements like, “If God wants me to do that, He is going to have to speak to me through a burning bush!” or “God is going to have write in the clouds what He wants me to do.” When Christians have that kind of attitude, they are just being “mulish.”
What do I mean by “mulish?” Well, when you think of a mule, what do you think of? Here is the one word most of you probably thought of—stubborn! A mule oftentimes has to be motivated to move through being yanked around or beaten because of this stubborn nature they are known for. I can assure you, this is not how God wants His children to be led. I can guarantee you that you are not going to guide a mule if its being stubborn.
In Psalm 32:8-9 the Lord says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. So do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they would not come near you.” Here God is telling us that He does not want us to be “bit & bridle” Christians. No, He desires to lead us without all these things that “make us” be guided by Him. No, we should not be like a horse or a mule that has no understanding of what its master is leading it to do unless it gets its head jerked around with a bit and bridle.
Notice that He promised to guide us, but it was not with His hand, but with His eye. Why do I make this point? It is because, again, guidance is not something God is going to do for us. We have to be moving.
In Psalm 16:7 David says, “I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel; My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.” The King James Version actually translates the word “heart” as “reins” here. This is interesting because it is as if David were saying that he was like a horse and God was steering him through the “reins of his heart.”
This is how God desires us to be: “rein-trained.” He does not want us to require an audible voice or some other spectacular experience before we will do what He is telling us to do. He wants us to be willing to move in the direction that His slightest tug on the reins of our heart will direct us to do. And if that was His perfect will for the Old Testament believer, how much more will it be His will for the New Testament believer!?! We have the “Jockey” (i.e. The Holy Spirit) on the inside of us and He is called to tug on the reins of our heart, leading and guiding us into the direction we should go! Hallelujah! God wants us to be like the “rein-trained” race horse which does not need to be forced to turn this way and that, but will, with just the slightest nudge of the reins, turn in the direction that its jockey desires.
Our job is to move in the direction of that which seems good to us and be sensitive to the Spirit’s slight and gentle nudges to change courses. But, again, we must be moving! Unlike the mule that will not move until it is made to, we need to follow what seems good to us, trusting that as we are walking in fellowship with the Lord and are doing things that are helpful and beneficial to others, that He is ordering our steps.
As I have said time and time again: In order to receive God’s specific direction for your life, you first need to follow His general direction for all of our lives. What I mean by this is that God has already told us to do many things which are contained in His Word. So, before we seek more specific direction from God through His Spirit, we need to act on the general will of God found in the Scriptures.
WHAT IF I MISS GOD?
You see, I have grown up in the circles where the importance of being led by the Holy Spirit and hearing from God has been greatly emphasized. And while certainly being led by the Spirit and doing what God tells us to do are two of the most important things we can learn, there is a tendency that comes from embracing these truths that must be avoided.
You see, oftentimes when someone gets the revelation of the importance of only doing what God leads or tells them to do, there is a fear that creeps in of “missing God.” What I mean is that when they begin to see that God has a perfect will for them and that He wants to lead them along His path for their life, many do not move forward until they know that they have heard from God. Generally, this happens because they fear getting out of His will and doing something that will derail His plan for their life. Therefore, the reason for this is usually not noble, but is motivated by the fear of missing His plan for their lives.
But what we need to understand is that, even if we make a mistake, God is more than able to get us back on the path He has for our lives. A very close friend of ours once had this concern about “missing God.” She had a decision before her and was seeking God for His direction but did not want to do anything that would derail her from His plan and purpose for her life. So as she expressed her concern to Him, He said to her, “If you miss Me, I know where to find you.” In other words, the Lord was settling that concern by letting her know that it is not the end of the world if she made the wrong decision because God, who alone is wise, is able to work all things together for our good and turn any mistake into a miracle.
My friends, waiting on God’s direction has never been His plan for His children! While He has always desired to lead us and tell us what to do and where to go, His intention is not for us to sit still- waiting for Him to tell us what, when, where, etc. His intention is for us to act on the direction that He has already revealed to us through His Word. He has already told us to do many things in the Bible, and as we walk in the light of what He has already revealed, He will guide us along the way.
So, in conclusion, the Holy Spirit’s job is to guide us into all truth—which includes all of the Word (for His Word is truth), all of who Jesus is (for Jesus Himself is also the truth), and also everything else that we need His help in guiding us into. He is our Guide and He has the light that we need! Let’s begin moving—doing our Father’s business—and we can expect the Spirit to guide us into God’s good, perfect, and acceptable will. Amen!