Updated: Mar 10, 2020
Are you being led by the Holy Spirit? I think every self titled Christian would encourage you to be. Unfortunately there is a lot of confusion on this. Not everyone who says “I am led by the Spirit” is correct. Many people use phrases like “I feel like the Holy Spirit is leading me in this direction”. Others of a more Pentecostal persuasion are much bolder, but both equate being led by the Holy Spirit to feelings and a personal communication with Him. This attitude and belief is becoming more popular, and is heard sometimes among members of the Lord’s Church. Is this really what it means to be led by the Holy Spirit?
A lesson can be learned in Acts 7. Stephen is making a defense of the Gospel to the Jews who had accused him of blasphemy. In his defense and rebuke Stephen says:
“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.” Acts 7:51-53
He says you always resist the Holy Spirit. Resist is an interesting word. It means you are actively against something. The root word means you refuse to prostrate yourself as someone would after surrendering to a general. In this verse It means you fight against Holy Spirit. A simple way of saying it is, you refuse to be led by the Holy Spirit.
When he tells them they are refusing to be led by the Holy Spirit, does he mean they are refusing the little feelings they get? Does he mean that they need to listen to their hearts more? Does he mean quit thinking and just let God take control?
If we can figure out how the fathers resisted the Holy Spirit, we can easily see how these Jews did as well. In verse 52, we see that the fathers resisted by refusing to submit to the “announcement” or word that the prophets had spoken. The prophets of old brought a message from the Holy Spirit that they were to deliver to the people (2 Pet 1:21). The fathers didn’t listen and obey that message. The Jews of Stephens day resisted the Holy Spirit in the same way. They refused to submit to the words of the Holy Spirit (Gospel). Resisting the Holy Spirit is not refusing to listen to a feeling, its refusing to listen to his revealed word.
In contrast, allowing ourselves to be led by the Spirit is listening to His words and obeying them. We do that today by opening the bible, correctly dividing it, and doing what it says (2 Tim 2:15).
The Christian system is a learned religion. The Word of God must be taught. Jesus taught. He expected his disciples to teach (Matt 28:20). In Romans 10:14 Paul asks the question; how can they believe without a preacher? The answer is obvious. They can’t because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (10:17). You will never receive a special message from the Holy Spirit just for you. He does not lead that way.
We are led by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God. It leads us to be born-again baptized children of God(John 3:3-5). It will unify us and keep us from being tossed to and fro by every new wind of doctrine (Eph 4:13-14). It will allow us to have a life filled with his wonderful fruit(Gal 5:22-23) Feelings won’t do that. Feelings are the reason for most religious confusion in this world.
Let’s be diligent to not fall victim to the endless clichés that pop up in the denominational world and stand on the B-I-B-L-E.