December 17 – Led By the Spirit

God’s children are often referred to as sheep in Scripture. It is a comforting notion, but it also illustrates our helpless nature. Sheep are not carnivorous like wolves. They sacrificially give their wool while they are living, and their meat when they die. There is a lot of good to be said for sheep, but they are not the smartest animals on the farm, especially when it comes to eating. Leave them unattended in lush green pastures and they will eat themselves to death. That is probably why David wrote, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures” (Ps. 23:1), so he wouldn’t eat himself to death!

In the west, we keep our sheep moving in green pastures by chasing them from the rear, much like Australian sheep dogs who bark at the heels of the sheep. But that is not the way they lead sheep is Israel. Even to this day, the Shepherd will stand up and say something as he walks away. The sheep look up and follow the shepherd. Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (Jn. 10:27). “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Rom. 8:14).

Being led by the Spirit implies that we are not being pushed. So if someone asks you to make a hasty decision without prayerful reflection, the answer should be no. God doesn’t lead that way. The guidance of God may come suddenly but never to the spiritually unprepared. Pentecost was sudden, but it was preceded by many days of prayer (Acts 1:14). Being led by the Spirit also implies that we are not being lured away in some clandestine manner. God does everything in the light.

The guidance of God is like flying an airplane at night. To land safely the pilot has to trust the man in the control tower whom he cannot see. The pilot is not flying the only plane in the air. Others are waiting for instructions to land and looking to the control tower for guidance. But the voice from the tower is not enough to fly the plane safely. Good pilots have spent hours reading the instruction manual learning how to fly, so they know how to fly instinctively. The voice over the radio slowly guides pilots around obstacles that they cannot see. Good pilots aren’t afraid, because they have done their homework and they have learned to trust the unseen person in the control tower. God’s children know His word and are led by His Spirit.

Dr. Neil

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