6 Mar 2010

Being led by the Spirit

Submitted by theshovel
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However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you ... For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8:9,14

While we often question what it is to be led by the Spirit, we so easily miss the fact that those who are born of God ARE BEING led by the Spirit of God. Just consider how often our behaviors cause us to conclude that we are in the flesh. But Paul was quite clear in declaring that being indwelt by the Spirit of God negates that possibility. You see, we have been taught to judge what it is to be led by the Spirit when the results fit the usual idea of good outcomes. Here, it's all together so that even suffering is realized as falling within that leading. Pay attention to the range of suffering that might otherwise cause us to assume that we've been operating in the flesh:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ... For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:35,38-39

How can we agree to these amazing statements and then speculate that we must be "in the flesh" as soon we're in the midst of any one of the things mentioned that cannot separate us from his love? These verses are not just saying that these things can't separate us from GOD (as in a positional security sense), but that they can't separate us from his LOVE. For love is the very stuff that has been shed abroad in our hearts, the very substance of our lives. After all, the fruit of the Spirit IS love. Our being led by the Spirit is the continued presence of his love working in and through us. Just because the appearance of that love working within you might sometimes cause you to ask, "Father, why have you forsaken me?", do not overlook the truth of what is actually coming forth from your heart:

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father! Romans 8:15

If your heart is calling out to your Father, don't attribute it to a lack of being led, for it is proof that you are being led.



Thank you for this encouraging, clarifying word of truth. How often there is the temptation to equate what our Father is doing, by His Spirit, by how we feel; yet where is the scripture that tells us to "walk by sight, by our feelings"? No where, of course; rather it is made clear that we are to walk by faith, His faith in us.
I do appreciate what you pass along - so good to hear/read what HE says, and not what man says He says.
Joanne Anstine

enjoyed that joanne … i appreciate what you shared … heart and thoughts. :)

It is great to consider this great Love for us, you and me. Knowing that we are indeed truly loved, from the heart by God[and with True, perfect Love], is something that can not compare to anything else we might be tempted to engage in.

Thanks Jim for this,


All those years when we were totally lost and dominated by the flesh the Spirit of Christ was ever-so 'working-behind-the-scenes' drawing us to Him. Then, through His grace, we were miraculously Born-Again, and we joyfully received Him as our Savior and our life ("I was once blind but now I see".)Ya know ... THE ROLES HAVE NOW REVERSED!! That is, in the flesh we were the-god-of-our-own-lives, blind and just could not help from being servants of sin(Romans 6:14-19). BUT NOW we are slaves to righteousness and WE CANNOT HELP BUT TO OBEY. The flesh will allure but only as a pawn in the Father's hand. We will obey for it is Christ who as at work in you. We are Children of God in every sense of the word. Receive the circumstances, joys ,and even the heartaches of your life as a necessary event from a loving Father (Romans 8: 28-29). DO NOT EVER let condemnation be a part of your life. All of life's events are orchestrated by the Father. Enter ... and rest in the Father's work. I'll stop now ...

:)  :)  :) ~ side ways smiles … you see them? :)
theshovel's picture

I really appreciate what y'all have added here! :)


Jim M., your writings are a continuing joy. Even when I am occasionally hesitant they are at least great for consideration. Keep them coming!
Jim Adams

theshovel's picture

Thanks for your encouraging response, Jim! :)


Thanks Jim
Good uplifting thoughts, but I didn't understand this sentence?

"Just because the appearance of that love working within you might sometimes cause you to ask,"


theshovel's picture

In other words, we often mistake the working of love because all we can see are the trials, distress, persecution, etc. At those times, we might be asking God why he has forsaken us because we have been taught to assume such things must mean that something is wrong within us. Does that help?


Hasn't sin consciousness driven allot of the misunderstanding here as well? I mean one the biggest confusions we face in the midst of personal struggle is in the attempt to find out if it is "our fault". Why? So we CAN remain in God's favor, acceptance and forgiveness and Love. We also feel that because of what we see with our eyes, that maybe these things that go wrong are a "correction"[or rebuke] from God,somehow moving us away from and out of His divine Love. We constantly live as though God is ready to conk us on the head to get some important and changing message through to us stupid, no good mess ups. To be led internally is a whole new thing to us, for it is foreign to all that we formerly knew. Oh we knew impulses and lusts and even attempts to control but, we knew nothing of having eternal life inside. I think we have been led to assume that every problem is our own darn fault, and the world is loving every minute of seeing us agreeing right along with them in there self condemnation. For they love it when your [real] sincere heart is weighed down with legalistic bondage like they are. The world lives as if they must "get" something to be justified...God in the ones who are His, are justified..though it is not seen by the flesh.

theshovel's picture

Thanks for adding to this, Adam. It's great! :)

Jim thanks!

..I was thinking about this more during breakfast and interacting with my family. I was thinking about the assumptions of the flesh and it's viewing things of the Spirit. Oddly enough, I have always seen that though the flesh can not SEE, it still has an opinion about the Spirit. So does the Spirit recognize the flesh as dead.[accept for it's judgment is TRUE] I was thinking about the millions of times in my life when I would be doing something from the Spirit, that I instantly recognized as genuine[as in the real article] but also recognized that others weren't SEEING it while viewing only from the appearance of my rough exterior[earthly judgments]. Christians often do see these manifestations of Life in us but, not always either. In fact it was you Jim that helped me so much with the encouragement that even within the voices in our OWN minds, that the flesh is always balking at the activity of The Spirit. The flesh may look VERY good on the outside before men...on the other hand the genuine Life of Jesus may not appear as real and true in some who might have a rough exterior. I have seen life come out of me when I was dead tired and unable to even be "polite" as the world calls it[and been judged for it by the flesh of course]...and on the other hand I have seen time and time again the flesh flaunting it's "good" works in front of me to prove it's own sense of supposed morality and justification. The thing about the flesh is when it is becoming known that it is Evil, it will hide and in fact often times go do "good works" to shut down any attack on it's proud self justification.It is going to show YOU, that it is JUST as "holy" and righteous and clean and perfect as the undeniable wisdom that radiates from within YOU!.[from the righteous One]It DOES NOT submit to the only cleansing available for sin...Jesus Christ. It thinks that by it's continual work to justify, that it can claim purity and "cleansing." But like you once said[but in another context]Jim, it is hard to wipe clean the oil on us with an oily rag! It is kind of a "cute" way to say that it does not work, though there is nothing really cute about it, in fact it is a very serious thing. We keep thinking that we will here a "denial of Christ" as obvious as the words themselves make it so...however MORE times than not, it comes in a much, much more casual and sneaky way..so as to stay hidden, under the radar..in the dark. Funny enough these same people will swear up and down that they have "faith" in God and that they "pray" and do good etc...Aha but, the denial continues. For the One who denies the Son[the cleansing from Sin and the bridge to God] can not know the Father, and therefore the Father does not hear him/them. Much like the book of both 1John and James explain thoroughly.

theshovel's picture

Thanks for giving your excellent commentary! :)

"If your heart is calling out to your Father, don't attribute it to a lack of being led, for it proof that you are being led."

How our heart longs to be with our Father. Just how far we fell from perfect and whole relationship with God is something we just cannot fathom. That He has brought us back into that perfect relationship is also unfathomable. And so that leading must be what is constantly bringing our hearts and minds towards deeper and deeper relationship with Him. And each other.

Even though He has accomplished all this, and we have been made perfect already; there are an abundance of lies messing with our thinking which He is constantly replacing with His truth as we walk with Him. Through all of the hideous circumstances living brings with it. (the renewing of our minds...)

When going through a series of immense losses recently, I lashed out at myself, believing that it was, again, my fault, my faulty decision making abilities. You know, really, thinking we can get it "right" in this world is really futile. (in terms of getting circumstances right in a broken and temporary world). we have been made right in HIM. Forever.

Jim, you have again, helped me immensely. I thank God for you.

God told me when I cried out to Him, "Vivien, you are free to be alive for the sake of being alive. No outcome is necessary. We live. You are alive Vivien. You have my best. You have me. I am so proud of you."

If that doesn't rock, then nothing does.

the grieving of the losses continues in this beauty.



... for sharing your comfort in the midst of such grieving. hoping for that comfort to continue to hug you closely. :)


Jimmy my good friend how are you? The other day I ran into a youth pastor I knew from 10 years ago, he is now and "adult" preacher :) The conversation (as always) got around to "church" he asked where I was going? As always being the smartalic (spelling) I am, I replied I'm there now. He said no, you know what I mean. I said well I typically don't attend a church building service type. He then asked "how are you getting fed" I love the question. I simply answered, "I'm not hungry" I said "you know David I just choose to believe what was said about Jesus. He said, "what is that?" I said the bible states that when you have Jesus you will NEVER HUNGER OR THIRST for righteousness. I asked what does he think that means? He stammered, uhmed his way around to some long unrelated answer. I asked another smartalic question, do you think Jesus is like the food we eat for our body? Meaning if we don't get "enough" of the nourishment (Jesus) will it hurt us or will we feel unenergized? He said exactly. I quickly changed the subject as I was more interested in seeing what was really going on in his life versus getting to the "truth"

The simply realty is "we have him" there is NOTHING left to get.

Enough of my rambling.

John D

theshovel's picture

John, so excellent to hear from you again!

Wow, your answer (wise guy or not) cut right to the chase about the need to be fed. Thanks for stopping by with such encouragement.

Jim :)

Luvin here...If I had heard that many years ago[your response] I would have really struggled with it and viewed you as a rebel.lol Now I just have to agree with you and point to the reality of Christ and the freedom He has managed to infuse into us internally! Great statements brother! We do percieve this "feeding" as through the flesh don't we? Thats mans view point for sure.


While I truly believe that we can never escape the leading of God in our lives, it seems impossible to understand how we can justify our actions accordingly. When God leads, it is still up to me to follow…no?? And while I can never step outside the fact He will always lead me, should I not also see that I can still step outside His desires for me? Otherwise, how do I reconcile the absolute evil I have faced? It is impossible to believe that God would lead me into evil, and when my life choices have affected another with evil, how can I possibly believe this is because God has led me there? And I surely know that He will work all things for good, and that nothing will take me away from the love of God, nothing. But God’s leading, and my choice to follow seem like two different subjects that in this writing seem combined into one…or am I missing the point? Thanks, Cheryl
theshovel's picture

Hello my dear Cheryl, First, know that my slowness in getting back to you is a result of my having been away for a week and then dealing with jet lag and not with a reluctance to answer your questions. Justifying our actions is exactly what our life in Christ is NOT about. You see, that’s the trap found in examining behavior to determine whether we are being led, or if we are even saved. The whole religious world views God’s leading as if it’s up to us to follow. Why would we think our miraculous leading in Christ is anything like that? Jim

I really liked what you shared with Cheryl. His leading really IS miraculous isn’t it? It confounds us because we are simply unable to perform it and can’t even see it, until and if we can..by His miraculous choosing. But hey, sometimes not. Adam

I was thinking about the fact that Paul declared that we “do not even pray as we ought”. He then goes on to say that the Spirit of God searches our hearts and God’s and does the work. If He is able and we are not even able to do that very simple thing, then why would we think we were able to “lead ourselves” or even know the leading of God except by His power to know? Let alone any power to then carry it out? Adam

that was good us humans are realy quite worthless except by Gods grace

i will be pondering on those thoughts you have shared … very thoughtful … and all praise is his as opposed to our conditioned interpretations of what we are ‘supposed to do’ as ‘our part’, etc. :)

i am soooo thankful that we are MORE than mere humans.  :) because of the new creation that we are, we are human WITH the spirit of god in christ, and that life that we ARE is of inestimable worth and value. nothing wrong with being human. :) it is really pretty special. once we were incomplete, dead in our trespasses and sins inherited from and because of the old adam. but alas! in christ we are alive to god, born anew, in and because of the new and last adam … jesus. we are complete and continue-on housed in these temporary human bodies, yet NOW very much ALIVE within.  :) perhaps the body we discover this new and awakened life in is deemed worthless to us when we have more expectations from it than it can perform. perhaps we blame it for what goes on in our thought-life and how those thoughts effect us and what we do with the body we are in. really, i know there are countless complaints about being in these bodies and how being in them effects us. i have endless complaints myself. i do appreciate greatly that these bodies are not our ‘end all’, ya know? perhaps you are not talking about these mortal bodies at all and i have just gone on a tangent with my thoughts down another wabbit twail. i do that, i know. i get distracted when we talk about our humanity as if we are merely useless, worthless humans. that indeed may have once been our identity, but it is no longer, praise god and hallelujah!  :) when we continue to view ourselves as who we no longer are, then we tend to believe, live and function as who we no longer are. know what i mean? forgive my rant … i only hope to be more encouraging and to speak to that life who is alive and well IN us now and forever more. to remind us that the first thing jesus told them when lazarus was awakened by him, was to remove the death rags from him, for he was no longer dead. i think that our death rags are the burdens of having law laid upon us as if we are still in that state of futility and death … as if we are mere corpses. when we focus on our behavior alone, we will almost always be disappointed, because we become convinced that behavior is what defines us. what is it that convinces us that we are only as good as our behavior? is it not a message of law which leads to judgment, condemnation and death? it is futility. it is hopeless. it is empty. it is a dark, deep, empty pit! there is life and love and hope and confidence in remembering jesus took it ALL upon himself and dealt with it once and for all. DONE DEAL! christ is all about LIFE and godliness. he has provided that all in himself, and all that he is is now our inheritance in the new creation he has made us. we do not always realize the MIRACLE that we ARE.  :) we listen to words of death and words of futility because that is how we are conditioned in this life. listen with the ears of life and hear the words of life from the spirit of god within. you wanna pray? pray for the confidence to tell those words of death, judgment and condemnation that manipulate with fear, guilt and shame to go back in to the pit of lies they came from. fear, guilt and shame have been swallowed up in christ. he has given us ALL that pertains to life and godliness. may we not listen to the words that tell us that it isn’t so. we will hear them, yes. they come at us all day long. may we not entertain them and ‘own’ them as if they are our truth. oops … this has become quite the long rant. i hope that some where in the midst of it all, is some kind of encouragement of grace, hope, love, acceptance and confidence. :)

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If your heart is calling out to your Father, don't attribute it to a lack of being led, for it is proof that you are being led. source