“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God,” (Romans 8:14).
Learning to be led by the Spirit is both a privilege and a necessity for every believer. We succeed or suffer loss in the small details of life, and often it hinges on whether we obey the inward promptings of the Holy Spirit.
The Lord guides us first, through the instruction of His holy Word. Often people seek divine guidance as a way to avoid what they know they should do in the first place. God’s Word is clear on many issues, giving the principles necessary to direct the major affairs of life. We don’t need a special word from the Lord to do what we know to do! And we should not expect further guidance if we are disobedient to what God has already revealed through His Word, (Luke 16:31).
Second, as sons and daughters of God, we are led by His Spirit (Romans 8:14). You could say that general guidance comes through a study of the Bible – we learn His will concerning salvation, healing, stewardship, and family – but specific guidance comes through our daily walk with the Spirit of God. It is when we are living hand in hand with the Spirit that we receive His specific guidance until, as Isaiah said, “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left,” (Isaiah 30:31).
God’s Word gives us the wisdom and principles to rule our lives, but His Spirit gives us the necessary guidance for our daily walk. In the first few chapters of the book of Hebrews, three times we are told to “hear His voice today,” (Hebrews 3:7,15; 4:7) or, on a daily basis. Daily communion with the Holy Spirit enables us to determine the will of God in the small details of life. It is important to note that the blessings of the Covenant come to us when we diligently hearken (or, listen) to the voice of the Lord, and obey His commands, (Deuteronomy 28:1).
Recently, God began dealing with me in a very strong manner about this area of my personal life. Often, we look at divine guidance as a blessing, a benefit, or a privilege. I am sure it is all of these, but it is also a question of simple obedience. God wants us to obey Him, and not just His written Word, but to hear and obey His voice. Can we qualify a life of holiness as obeying His written Word but disregarding His voice?
On a recent flight to Moscow, the Lord spoke to me and I disregarded His instructions. I see it so plainly now, but at that moment I didn’t think it was important. Why? Because of the nature of divine guidance. I heard no booming, audible voice. There was no angel declaring God’s will. I had an impression in my heart and I disregarded the inward witness of the Holy Spirit. This inward witness of the Spirit carries much authority. The Spirit of God does not bear witness with our mind, He bears witness with our spirit, or our heart, (Romans 8:16). God does not communicate audibly using a voice from heaven (there are exceptions, but they are not the rule) but He speaks through a still, small voice (1 Kings 19:12) spoken to the hidden man of the heart. It was this quiet impression, this hunch, that I had refused to obey out of neglect. By His quiet nature, we are prone to disregard His authority in our lives.
I had been reading a book on my hand held computer. I use it a lot, and I can carry literally dozens of books when I go on a trip. I also listen to sermons on it as it is much more convenient than carrying around audio cassettes. While I was studying, the Lord impressed on me to “backup” or save the information stored on this hand held computer. It was just a nudge in my spirit, an impression. I pushed it aside, as I wanted to read more and it would distract me.
About fifteen minutes later, I turned my Pocket PC off and went to the restroom. When I returned, I turned it back on and to my shock everything I had was gone! The computer had failed!
I sat in my seat astonished at my stubbornness to obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit. If I had obeyed, it would have been a simple matter to restore the information, but now I would have to spend the entire two weeks of my trip without the books I had wanted to read and study, as well as other valuable information that I would use every day.
For the next thirty minutes, the Lord began speaking to me about obeying Him in the small details of my life. Being led by the Spirit is not just a blessing, it is a responsibility that can determine much towards victory, life, and success. I’m embarrassed to share the rest of this story with you, but I trust it will help you in your own personal walk with the Lord. The Spirit spoke to me and said very clearly, “Take two aspirin and put them in your coat pocket. Because you aren’t obeying me in the small things in life, you are going to need them!”
For the next two weeks, I walked around with those aspirin in my pocket. I would touch them with my fingers every once in awhile, and consider the Lord’s words to me. The small size of the aspirin were a reminder to obey God in the small details of life.
Near the end of my time in Russia, I awoke in the middle of the night. I had been teaching three hours every morning at a bible school and occasionally I will awake to meditate on the subject, or the theme that the Lord would have me minister the following day. This night I had an impression in my heart to change my schedule and itinerary. It had been arranged for me to travel six hours by car to another city where I would teach a gathering of leaders and preach to the church. Lying in bed, I had the impression that I should not go, but re-route my flight back to Moscow.
The next day I talked to the director of the bible school, and asked him to call the pastor of the church and ask him if these changes would be acceptable. He made the call, and although the pastor was all right with the change, I allowed myself to be talked out of it. I decided to go ahead with things as they had been planned. After all, I reasoned in my mind, the extra time in Moscow would be too expensive with hotels and meals, and I reminded myself, “I came here to minister the Word of God, right?”
I disobeyed the gentle witness of the Holy Spirit and I sincerely regret that decision.
The next day we drove to the city, and within fifteen minutes of arrival I fell on the ice. My feet flew up where my head had been one second before, and I landed on my right, out-stretched arm. The pain shot through my whole body, and I cradled my elbow in my left hand. I knew I had been seriously injured. Thank God for His healing power, and the name of Jesus! My friend and I prayed instantly, and with the sound of cracking and popping witnessed a miracle as the anointing put my arm back in place. I honestly believe it had been broken, and I can only thank God for His grace to heal! It would have been much better had I simply obeyed in the first place!
They took me to the pastor’s home to rest for two hours before preaching, and as they helped me take off my coat I began to laugh. I am sure they thought it a little strange, as they could plainly see the pain that was on my face.
I reached into the pocket of my coat, took out the two aspirin, and remembered the words of the Lord, “Because you aren’t obeying me in the small things in life, you are going to need them!” I knew the Lord had not caused or allowed the accident, in fact He had tried to prevent it. Standing there in the hallway I repented for my disobedience and swallowed the aspirin.
You can believe that I have made a stronger commitment to obey God in the small things of life, the gentle prompting and guiding of the Holy Spirit have taken on a higher degree of authority in my daily walk. I would encourage you to do the same, and “all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God,” (Deuteronomy 28:2).