There have been many ideas of how God might lead or direct His people. Some people put out a “fleece” saying, “if such and such happens then I will know God is directing me this way.” Some others when their flesh becomes uncomfortable they believe God is directing them, while others are sometimes led by the things that tickle their emotions and make them feel good. All these ways are not typically how God would lead or direct His children this side of the cross. God will not generally lead His children by outward, physical things but rather by His Spirit who dwells within in accordance with His word.
This is another great example of how things differ from the Old Testament to the New Testament. Under the Old, man did not have the Spirit of God abiding within. God used a pillar of smoke by day and flame of fire by night. He used signs and wonders, He used donkeys and men, He even allowed some like Gideon to use a fleece, God used many natural things during that time period because of the type of relationship God had with man. Under the New Covenant we are called to abide in Him and He in us. He has called us into fellowship with Him, by placing His Holy Spirit on the inside of every believer. Old Testament people did not have that as an option, and therefore could not be led the same way that we are led today.
Today the thing that makes us so very different from those under the Old Testament is the very fact that we have the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Romans 8:9 New King James Version
But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
Today we have the Holy Spirit, 24/7 dwelling within our born again spirit, and not only can we know His voice and know how He leads, it is expected by God that we would grow in sensitivity and grow in fellowship with Him.
Romans 8:14 New King James Version
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
There is an expectation, or a standard even, that is seen in the New Testament Church, that God will lead us and direct us by His indwelling Holy Spirit. This is the thing that makes us different than the world, and different than those under the Old Testament. We can now be led by His Spirit within.
In fact in Romans we see another verse that reveals how this type of leading works when Paul wrote,
“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16).
What does that mean? The term “bears witness” means that the Holy Spirit agrees with our very own spirit, that we are children of God. This shows us several things:
- Our spirit knows the truth and responds to the truth
- The Holy Spirit uses our spirit to lead us and direct us
- When something is right, we will know it down on the inside of our spirit
Proverbs 20:27 New King James Version
Ezekiel 36:27 King James Version
And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
1 John 2:20 King James Version
But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
Ephesians 5:17 King James Version
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
It is expected that we should know the will of the Lord and should be directed by His Spirit in accordance with His Word. An important point to make here is that God will never contradict Himself. God will not ever lead you to do something that He has already said His not right in His eyes. When God by His Spirit is directing your path, He will do it in unity with His inspired scriptures. In actuality the primary place that you will learn His leading is through prayerfully meditating on God’s word daily!
We can have confidence in this, that when we choose to abide in Him, God will direct our path, He will reveal what we need to know, when we need to know it.
If there is anything else I need to know He will reveal even that to me.
Philippians 3:13-15 King James Version
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
Paul’s mindset was to be found in Christ. This was the mark that he aimed for, then he makes this profound statement, “as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” In other words, anyone who is spiritually mature should have this mind in them, to be found abiding in Christ, and if there is anything else you need to know God will reveal it to you. Why? Because when you remain in Him, you are in position to receive revelation, direction and answers.
There may be some exceptions to the rule, particularly for unbelievers coming to Christ, and brand new Christians who are just learning, but as we grow and mature spiritually, know that God wants to inspire your thoughts, your words, and the course of your life by His indwelling Holy Spirit in accordance with His inspired written word.
Pastor Jesse Knight has served for close to 20 years in ministry. He has a vision for awakening in Canada and a heart for God’s people, including pastors and the local church. Pastor Jesse has worked with multiple churches, traveled as an itinerant minister and traveled nationally and internationally teaching and preaching the kingdom.