• Good News

Alvin Domingo

Led by the Holy Spirit

Dearly Beloved,

It is the desire of every believer to be led by the Holy Spirit. Jesus did say that His sheep will know His voice and they will follow Him (John 10:27). This verse speaks of two stages in being led by Jesus through the Holy Spirit: the sheep must know His voice first before they can follow Him.

1. Recognition of the voice of the Lord

The Lord speaks through the Holy Spirit who has now been sent to be in the place of Jesus (John 14:15-18). A key method of the Holy Spirit is to bring to remembrance the things that Jesus said to His disciples; and in our case, to bring to remembrance the Word of God (John 14:26). This implies that we need to have the Word in us at some point for it to be brought to our remembrance which can be broken down into the following sub-points:

a. We can recognise the voice of the Lord proportionally to the quality and quantity of the Word of God and the love of God in our hearts.

Jesus told His disciples that the Word has made them clean (John 15:3). This implies the cleansing and renewal power of the Word of God. It is only when we are transformed by the renewal of the mind that we can discern the Will of God (Romans 12:2). This link between the renewed mind and the leading of the Holy Spirit is further established in Romans 8:14 which follows the requirement of being spiritually minded (Romans 8:6). The voice of the Lord is not an audible voice heard through sound waves vibrating in our physical ears, although it might sound like it is external and physical. It is always from within our hearts for the Holy Spirit dwells with and in us (John 14:17). Listening to our heart is akin to listening to the Lord who speaks to us through the instrument of our spirit man. Thus, if the heart is troubled or sinful or turned against God, one cannot hear nor recognise God’s voice. And the condition of the heart will always affect the mind. The key to hearing and recognizing the voice of God is to harmonise both heart and mind with the vibration of God’s wavelength – God’s wavelength being the Word of God and the love of God. It sometimes takes time to hear God not because God is not speaking but rather we are not tuned to the level of God’s spiritual wavelength. And the only tuning instruments we have for us to synchronise with the spiritual wavelength of God are the Word of God and the love of God. We need to both abide in His commandments and in His love (John 15:9-11). Peace, love and joy are the pre-requisites as well as the after-effect result of God’s voice speaking to us. They are the natural result of a spiritual mind (Romans 8:6). The first and foremost condition to being led by the Holy Spirit is that one must be full of the Word and full of the love of God.

b. Once one is filled with the Word and filled with the experience of God’s love, the Holy Spirit has a resource within our hearts, to draw upon the things which God has placed within us (His Word and His love) and bring it into remembrance. 

The act of bringing it into remembrance is not just bringing a thought into our minds (although it can include that) but it also means bringing a sense of His affection. In the Spirit World, unlike the natural fallen world, thoughts and feelings are never in contradiction nor separate. Every righteous thought has an accompanying righteous feeling and every bad thought has an accompanying bad feeling. Every loving thought has an accompanying loving feeling, etc. In this physical fallen world, people try to separate thoughts and feelings such that a person tries to have pure thoughts without pure feelings – which is an impossibility in the Spirit World. In the physical fallen world, people seem to succeed in separating thoughts and feelings (in deception) only because they have hidden the true feelings within themselves (which in the Spiritual World cannot be hidden). Thus, when the Holy Spirit brings something into remembrance He would bring both the thoughts and the accompanying feelings of the thoughts. It is like an impartation of the mind of Christ and the affections of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 1:8). On the receiving end, our soul sometimes perceives the thoughts but not the feelings or at other times perceives the feelings but not the thoughts. This does not mean that we are led by our intellect or by our own feelings. Rather it means that we are led by the sense of the mind of Christ and the sense of the affection of Christ. One can say that being led by the Holy Spirit is being led by the Word of God and the love of God. Intellectual people tend to be led more by their understanding. Thus, they have a default mode of being led more by the Word of God. Emotional people tend to be led more by their emotions. Thus, they have a default mode of being led more by their feelings of love. The problem is that each of these completes half a picture. The mistake of the intellectuals is that they can be led wrongly especially when their intellectual understanding makes them hard of heart. And the mistake of the emotional is that their feelings of love carries them into places which is outside of God’s Will (Word). It takes both to make a balanced leading – like having two wings to fly forward as one wing flapping would only result in circular movements. The second most important training in being led by the Holy Spirit is being able to sense the mind and the affections of Jesus. Every leading of the Holy Spirit will always be in harmony with the mind and affections of Jesus. Sometimes it takes hours of prayer and worship to get a sense the mind and affections of Jesus and at other times it is an instantaneous sense.

2. Following the Lord

The Lord does not tell His sheep every detail of the path and the whole length of the path. He only provides a lamp for our feet and a light for our path (Psalm 119:105). If we do not obey the first step, the second step will never be revealed. If we missed the first step, we need to get it right before we can move forward.

a. The Bible has always used the analogy of walking with faith and not running (2 Corinthians 5:7). This implies a steady pace and a step by step pace. Samuel was not told about the exact son of Jesse who was to be king until he first obeyed and went to the general house of Jesse (1 Samuel 16). The children of Israel were not told where to build the temple until the time to build the temple was near. They were only told about ‘the place.’ (Deuteronomy 12). It was in the time of David, when God had provided abundance (through David) for the building of the temple, that the place for the temple was revealed. And the revelation took place at a time when everyone from David to his people were in repentance for their mistakes in numbering Israel – least expected time for such a significant revelation of the place (1 Chronicles 21). It was at the place and time when David recognised that it is better to fall into the hands of God than into the hands of his enemies. It was when David had faith in God’s mercy and love (1 Chronicles 21:13). It was a time when he did not deserve mercy for he had made a mistake. 

Thus, God showed that it was by grace and not by works that He brought forth Israel to their destiny to move into the next phase of their history with a visible temple. Following the Lord is not just following the Lord outwardly for we are exhorted not to look from the physical fleshly point of view to Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:16). Instead, we trust in the sense of God’s love within us that is constraining us forward. This was the inward energy of grace leading that Paul says laboured more abundantly (1 Corinthians 15:10). Paul was constrained by the love of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14). Each step is like going through an open door which the Lord opens. Each step is walking in the works which God has prepared for us (Ephesians 2:10). Note that the works are prepared before you walk in them. The preparation by God precedes your steps. Take just one step at a time. Your vision may like the eagle see far but your steps must like a blind man (not by sight – 2 Corinthians 5:7) be guided one at a time by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

b. Each step must result in an inward peace and joy. He guides our feet into the way of peace (Luke 1:79). You will know that you have taken the wrong step when you lose your peace. When we walk in the grace of our Lord Jesus’ finished work, the God of peace crushes Satan under our feet (Romans 16:20). And this victory is possible only because the Lord first fills us with all joy and peace in believing (Romans 15:13). It is the desire of God that our joy may be full (John 16:24). And when He shows us the path of life there is always joy for in the presence of God there is always fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). Do not just trust in your mind and in your understanding but trust in your heart (Proverbs 3:5, 6). Many times, our heart which is closer to our spirit man catches the leading of the Holy Spirit first before our mind (which is part of our soul and easily affected by our physical insight). Since the leadings of the Holy Spirit are matters of the heart way beyond our understanding, we need to rely on our heart’s sensing of God’s love more than our intellect and our own feelings. In learning to be led by the Holy Spirit, we need to learn the secret of knowing the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge and understanding (Ephesians 3:19). 

In conclusion, we need to emphasize that being led by the Holy Spirit is not as complicated as we might think it is. It is as simple as learning to walk by the instinct of God’s love. It is our lack of understanding or rather our reliance on our understanding too much that makes it difficult. God gave us intellectual powers for a purpose, and that is to study and understand the beauties of God’s creation and His laws and harmony and wisdom. He gave us a mind to do that. But He gave us a heart to follow Him. A new heart born of the Spirit with an implanted instinct to follow after Him in love. Thus, the child-like will excel in being led by the Holy Spirit. 

My desire for each of you is that you learn to listen to your heart and walk step by step in the perfect Will of God being led by the Holy Spirit