Led by the Spirit
Led by the Spirit
Back in the 1950’s my dad and his friends would take a road trip. They would come to an intersection and flip a coin to go right or left. The coin would lead them to the right or left. They enjoyed the road trip which brought them in areas of the country which they had never seen, but of course they were lost most of the time. Many today want to use the Spirit as my dad used the coin. But this is not the idea of the phrase “led by the spirit”. Let us consider carefully Paul’s use of the phrase, then use it the same way Paul meant it.
Our behavior is not like flipping a coin. Being led by the Spirit is behaving according to the Spirit or “led by the Spirit”. Here is the context, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh 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 please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality… But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…” (Gal. 5:16-22). We better not flip a coin whether we are going to engage in sexual immorality or not. We better not flip a coin if we are going to be faithful or not. Therefore being led by the spirit is opposite of being led by the flesh.
We don’t flip a coin to know how to behave. Later in that same passage (v.24), “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Killing our fleshly appetites to sin is half of being led by the Spirit. The other half is, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self-control”. Killing the flesh and living by the fruit of the spirit is not like flipping a coin. The answer is clear, deny the flesh and live for the Spirit. This phrase is used one other time, “for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Romans 8:13-14).
Being led by the Spirit of God is not like flipping a coin to see which direction you take in life. Those who live like that do not know where their destiny will end, they are lost. But those who deny the flesh (1/2 of the process) and live by the fruits of the Spirit (the other 1/2 of the process) know the meaning of being led by the Spirit. Let us learn to talk more biblically and use the Bible phrase the way the Bible means it. Flipping a coin is not being led by the Spirit. Let us follow the revealed will of God, that is, being led by the Spirit. Dan Peters