Led By The Spirit
No good Bible student denies that Christians are “led by the Spirit.” Galatians 5:18 affirms this great truth. But is this “leading” direct, supernatural, and miraculous? May Christians expect that the Holy Spirit will personally lead them in their decisions and thoughts? Many Pentecostals believe this. Some Christians of my acquaintance have accepted this idea. Years ago, an old Arkansas brother argued with me that whenever he needed to know the truth, he prayed and God sent the Holy Spirit to illuminate his understanding. With such a view, he was never wrong about any conclusion he drew (or so he averred.)
Consider the way in which the idea of “God leading” people to do this or that is used in Scripture. Psalm 106:9 indicates that God “led them through the depths (of the Red Sea) as through the wilderness.” However, Psalm 77:20 shows “You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” Isaiah’s record of this event is revealing, too. God “led them by the right hand of Moses, with His glorious arm, dividing the water before them ...” (63:12). We can conclude from these passages that God led Israel through the Red Sea “by the hand of Moses.” He did not directly lead them, but utilized Moses as His agent.
Christians today are “led by the Spirit” when they heed the Spirit’s teaching in the Word He has given. We are “walking in the Spirit” and “led by the Spirit” when we obey the Spirit’s teaching. We “walk in the truth” revealed by the Holy Spirit (I Jn. 2:3- 6; 2 Jn. 4).
It is not possible for someone to claim they are being led by the Spirit when they are disobeying God’s Word—the Bible. God says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will guide you with My eye.” (Psa. 32:8) But how does God do this? “You will guide me with Your counsel” (Psa. 73:24). God’s counsel is His Word! “Your testimonies are my delight and my counselors” (Psa. 119:24). There is simply no way for modern men to get around the guidance of the Word of God and claim some supernatural, miraculous leading from the Holy Spirit.
The only means of being led by the Spirit is to walk in the truth, and the truth is the Word of God (John 17:17).
— Mark White