Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit to go into the wilderness, where the Devil tempted him for forty days. He ate nothing all that time and was very hungry. (Luke 4:1 NLT)
What do the terms “walk by the Spirit (Rom. 8:4; Gal 5:16, 25), and “led by the Spirit” (Mt. 4:1; Lk. 4:1; Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:18) mean?
These two phrases are not related to life guidance in terms of hearing God’s voice on where to work, who to marry, what to buy, or where to move to next. Being led by the Spirit refers to our conduct as believers. The moment we accept Jesus Christ as Savior the Holy Spirit indwells and begins leading us. Our task is to listen and follow his leading. But how do we know when it is the Holy Spirit leading us? The average Christian doesn’t realize WHEN it is actually God the Holy Spirit who is speaking to them. They do not recognize his voice.
Just as children must learn to recognize their parent’s voice and follow their instructions, so also we must learn how to hear and follow the Spirit’s leading. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my words, and I know them, and they follow me.” (Jn. 10:27) How do we know when it is the Holy Spirit speaking to us?
May I suggest that we need to practice? Practice! Are you kidding me? Listening, hearing, following is a learning skill. It is just as much a learning skill as it is to learn to be a good reader. It takes practice. You will no doubt make mistakes—that’s why we practice.
Have you ever noticed while reading the Bible that oftentimes another verse or passage of Scripture comes into your minds? Or maybe, you will see a word, or a phrase that jumps out at you? It is NOT just your mind—but I would suggest that it is the Holy Spirit of God attempting to guide (lead) you into a certain area or direction. But most Christians don’t realize this—so they don’t follow. If they had followed the leading, perhaps a problem could have been avoided or easily dealt with.
Put this concept into practice during your daily Bible reading. Begin to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. If He brings a Scripture to mind during your reading—look it up—follow it. The result will be greater knowledge and growth.