Thousand Oaks Baptist Church
The Spirit-Led Life
In the study on this website titled Led by the Spirit, the prerequisites for being led by the Holy Spirit were first presented. That study also considered the great guiding principles of the Bible that show us the will of God, so that we can be led by the Spirit. And that study also considered the practice of finding God’s will for our lives in specific decisions that we have to make as the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth in our lives. All of these subjects dealt with how to be led by the Holy Spirit.
However, this study will take us one step farther. Because even though we may take all the right steps to be led by the Spirit, we also really have to inspect the results in our lives to be sure that we really were led by the Holy Spirit and not by some other spirit. How do we do that? We do it in two ways: First, we carefully consider the results of the guidance that we’ve received, and second, we prove or test that guidance to see that it really is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. And then, third, let's also consider our life’s profession in God’s possession.
I. The Results of the Holy Spirit's Guidance.
Even though we may take all the right steps to be led by the Spirit, we really have to inspect the results of that guidance in our lives to be sure that we really were led by the Holy Spirit and not by some other spirit. I have to know for sure that I am being led by the Holy Spirit and not by my own lusts and desires, or worse. And so, I need to ask myself the question, “What are the proper results of the Holy Spirit’s guidance?”
Here are those eleven proper results.
A. First, if I’m being led by the Holy Spirit, I’ll have a life of righteousness. Psa. 5:8 says, “Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.” God’s leading always results in a life of righteousness. If sin is the result of the guidance that I’ve received and followed, then either it wasn’t the Holy Spirit’s leading, or else I didn’t follow His leading as I should have.
B. Second, if I’m being led by the Holy Spirit, I’ll have a life led by the Bible and its principles. Psa. 25:5 says, “Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.” The Bible is God’s truth, given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit will always lead us into the truth of the Bible.
C. Third, if I’m being led by the Holy Spirit, I’ll have a life led in a plain path. Psa. 27:11 says, “Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.” A plain path is a straight, level, well-traveled road, without any hidden snares or traps or places where the enemy can hide and ambush us. And although the devil will always try to trip us up, the path we travel won’t contribute to Satan’s work in our lives.
D. Fourth, if I’m being led by the Holy Spirit, I’ll have a life glorifying to God. Psa. 31:3 says, “For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me.” When God is leading us, He does it in a way that brings glory to Himself, rather than to us. God guides us for His Name's sake, with the motive of glorifying Himself, not us.
E. Fifth. if I’m being led by the Holy Spirit, I’ll have a life of assurance. Psa. 139:24 says, “… see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” When we live by faith, God gives us the blessed inward assurance of that eternal life we received when we accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.
F. Sixth, if I’m being led by the Holy Spirit, I’ll have a life of spiritual safety. Psa. 78:53 says, “And he led them on safely, so that they feared not: but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.” You see, God protects His own when we obey the Spirit’s leading in our lives. The plain path is also the safe path.
G. Seventh, if I’m being led by the Holy Spirit, I’ll have a life of witnessing for Jesus Christ. In Acts 1:8, Jesus said, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Jesus told His disciples that the entrance of the Holy Spirit would transform them into witnesses for Christ. And if the Holy Spirit is leading us, the things He leads us to do will be a good testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ.
H. Eighth, if I’m being led by the Holy Spirit, I’ll have a life delivered from evil. In Mat. 6:13, Jesus taught us pray, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…” The Holy Spirit’s leading will lead us out of temptation and deliver us from Satan’s tricks and traps. We may not be able to see what’s coming down the pike at us, but the Holy Spirit can, and He leads us away from spiritual harm.
I. Ninth, if I’m being led by the Holy Spirit, I’ll have a life and heart fed by God. The twenty-third Psalm says…
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
You see, when the Holy Spirit leads us, He leads us to the green pastures and deep, still waters of God’s Word. If the Spirit has led, we will always be fed.
J. Tenth, if I’m being led by the Holy Spirit, I’ll have a life led in proper ways. Isa. 48:17 says, “Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.” The Holy Spirit will always lead us in the way that we should go – the proper way, the good way, the right way.
K. And eleventh, if I’m being led by the Holy Spirit, I’ll have a life of peace of soul and spirit. 1 Cor. 7:15b says, “ . . . God hath called us to peace.” 1 Cor. 14:33 says, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” Gal. 5:22 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is … peace. . .” We already have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. But we can also have the peace of God that rules in our hearts when we’re led by the Holy Spirit.
And so, these are the eleven results of being led by the Holy Spirit. If these are the results of our guidance, then we can know that we’ve been led by the Lord.
II. The Tests of a Genuinely Spirit-Led Life.
But then, we also want to consider the tests of a genuinely Spirit-led life. In Romans 12:2, Paul the Apostle told us to prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. To prove something is to test to see if it is real, and then, if it is, to put your stamp of approval on it. But if God tells us to test it, then He also must have given us some objective test procedures to do the testing. And He has. God has given us nine tests to prove what is His good and acceptable and perfect will.
A. Test number one: Someone who is truly being led by the Holy Spirit will recognize the Bible as the infallible, inerrant, authoritative Word and will of God. 2 Tim. 3:16 says that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…” And 2 Pet. 1:21 says, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” If we have recognized that what we have been led to do conforms to the Scriptures, then we are being led by the Spirit.
B. Test number two: Someone who is truly being led by the Holy Spirit will have full assurance of eternal salvation. 2 Tim. 1:12 says, “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” 1 Jn. 5:11-13 says, “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” The Holy Spirit gave us the inspired record that John is talking about, and if we’re being led by the Spirit, then we’ll have the assurance about which the Spirit testifies here.
C. Test number three: Someone who is truly being led by the Holy Spirit will live a life of righteousness and will grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ. 2 Pet. 3:18 says, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. . . .” The same Holy Spirit Who commanded this will also perform it when we follow His leading.
D. Test number four: Someone who is truly being led by the Holy Spirit will know the will of God, will be guided into God's will, and will be kept therein by the peace of God. Col. 3:15 says, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” When we’re truly sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, we seek His peace in our hearts as the proof of His presence.
E. Test number five: Someone who is truly being led by the Holy Spirit will continually be instructed in the deep things of God. 1 Cor. 2:9-16 says…
9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
Following the leading of the Holy Spirit, we come to know the deep things of God. The deep things of God are the profound truths of the Bible that we can only know as the Spirit reveals them to us.
F. Test number six: Someone who is truly being led by the Holy Spirit will exercise acceptable worship. Phil. 3:3 says, “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Heb. 13:15 says, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” 1 Pet. 2:5 says, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” True worship of God is in the Spirit. It’s not in buildings or candles or statues or human works.
G. Test number seven: Someone who is truly being led by the Holy Spirit will experience answered prayers.
Mk. 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
Mat. 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
Rom. 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
1 Cor. 14:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
Eph. 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Jn. 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
Jn. 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Jn. 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
Jn. 16:23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
You see, if we’re praying the way Jesus told us to, with the Spirit and with the understanding, in faith, and with the Holy Spirit’s intercession, then we will have answers to our prayers.
H. Test number eight: Someone who is truly being led by the Holy Spirit will evidence actual service for Christ. Eph. 4:11 says, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ…” The Holy Spirit has given each of us spiritual gifts to use to build up the church and the local churches. And when we’re being led by the Holy Spirit, we use those gifts for their intended purposes, by serving Jesus Christ with the gifts we’re been given.
I. And then, test number nine: Someone who is truly being led by the Holy Spirit will confess Jesus as Lord.
1 Cor. 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
Rom. 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
To confess Jesus as Lord is to acknowledge that Jesus is both Jehovah God and the Master of my life. And it's only when we are led by the Holy Spirit that can we do that.
And so, at this point, we have eleven results and nine tests of being led by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, at this point we have to ask ourselves this very searching question: By what spirit am I being led? Am I being led by the Holy Spirit?
III. Our Life's Profession in God's Possession.
But let me ask another question: If we are truly saved, then what does God want us to do with our lives? If we have allowed Him to possess us, then He possesses us to use us for His glory. What does He want us to do? Perhaps I can give some suggestions and a bit of encouragement in that area.
• If you are able to learn well…
• If you can obtain Bible training…
• If you are genuinely dedicated to the Lord's work…
• If you are reasonably healthy (physically, mentally, and emotionally)…
…Then a strong possibility exists that God may want you to serve Him as a full-time foreign missionary, evangelist, pastor, or teacher in a Christian school.
Consider this . . .
A. Only a few are qualified to do these things. 99 out of 100 Christians have other, genuine responsibilities and/or disqualifications that will keep them from serving God in a full-time capacity. Only 1 in 100 meets all of the qualifications, and you could be that 1 in 100 by obtaining Bible training. Consider these words of Jesus:
Mat. 9:37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few;
38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Mat. 20:16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
Mat. 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
Lk. 10:2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest.
B. Christ's commission to preach the Gospel in all the world is for dedicated believers just like you. Who else would go?
Mat. 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
C. God's provision of a Savior is for all people, everywhere.
Jn. 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
1 Jn. 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
D. God's desire is that all people hear and be saved.
1 Tim. 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
2 Pet. 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
E. Mankind's need to know the Lord Jesus Christ is completely unsatisfied in many dark corners of the earth. Millions today still have never heard the Gospel.
Rom. 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
1 Cor. 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
F. The neglect of this task by most Christians today is dreadful. Most of the world's people (90%) speak languages foreign to ours, yet our churches on the average have sent only 6% of their workers and 4% of their money to reach 90% of the world's population with the Gospel of Christ.
1 Cor. 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
G. Christ's own example is the greatest challenge of all! When He came to this earth, He left behind more than we would ever have to leave, because He left Heaven's glory. He went farther than we would ever have to go, because He traveled all the way from Heaven’s highest throne to earth's hostile shores. Jesus was the first foreign missionary.
2 Cor. 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
You know something? We often cry and moan because we say that we don't know God's will.
At the same time, we shrink back from actually doing what God wants us to do, because it might involve leaving the comforts of the known and launching out into the scary unknowns of testing our faith.
But you know something else? God always prepares us before He tests us. And God always walks with us through all of our trials.
And we need to face these truths:
1. I can only know God's will if I am willing to do God's will.
2. That takes faith and dedication to the Lord.
3. It takes faith to believe that God really does love me.
4. It takes faith to believe that God is more concerned about my situation
and my needs than I am.
5. It takes faith to believe that God will provide everything that I'll need to
do His will, if I'll just be willing to do it.
But then, listen to what God says about that:
"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." ~ Phil 4:19
"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us..." ~ Eph. 3:20
"And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him." ~ 1 Jn. 5:15
"If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. ... Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you." ~ John 15:7, 16
Do you want to live the Spirit-led life? Then tell God that here and now, you surrender to Him, you surrender to His will, you surrender to whatever He wants to do with you, you surrender to wherever He wants to send you, and you surrender to whenever He wants to use you.
Will you start doing that right now?