What does it look like for the Holy Spirit to lead in the Christian’s life?
From the onset, we believe it is helpful to define Biblically as it relates to human experience, the work of the Holy Spirit.
In John 16:7-8, we see that the work of the Holy Spirit is to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgement.
But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the [c]Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8 And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgmentNASB
With this being established, in the life of the Christian, we are continually being conformed by God’s grace, to the likeness of His Son.
We seek to obey the commands of scripture and live our lives in obedience to Christ. Being led by the Spirit is the antithesis to being led by the flesh (Galatians 5:17-18). When we are being led by the Spirit, it means that we are putting to death the ways of the flesh because the sins and desires of the flesh are against the Spirit.
For the flesh [g]sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you [h]please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.NASB
This is not a passive or mysterious “leading” or “subjective feeling” but rather an active, ever-present fight in the life of the believer. Therefore, Bible study and Prayer time is critical.
What being led by the Holy Spirit is not.
From our experience of coming out of the evangelical charismatic movement, people would often say “The Spirit told me to say this” or “The Spirit told me to buy this house”, etc.
Or some would say that you are led by the Spirit by “praying in tongues” aka “praying in the Spirit,” which redefines Biblical tongues, therefore leading to the misapplication and misunderstanding that this phonetic language gift in the early church is for the believer today.
Additionally, many in this movement believe they are led by the Spirit by the dreams they have as they believe that God is trying to tell them something.
We have even heard people very seriously claim, that they saw a butterfly flying in a certain direction and that’s “how they knew God was leading them” vs the Bible. Unfortunately, this leads to many misunderstandings of what it looks like to be led by the Spirit.
Thankfully, we as disciples of Christ are not left to human subjectivity and confusion, we have God’s word as a lamp to our feet in a world of darkness and sin (Psalm 119:105).
Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.