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Let's get Spirit-led!

Part 1: Seeking the Lord's counsel


"Christians can know the leading of the Holy Spirit. You can be led by God's Spirit through life's tribulations and out into Christ's victories. You can follow God's counsel into God's plans for you. This lesson will teach you how to be better Spirit-led in all that you do."


Are you a young Christian desiring to be Spirit-led in your life? Or are you a believer who is bewildered because things don't work out well with what you think is the leading you're getting from the Holy Spirit? If you are either one of these this message is for you!

There are many Christians who think they can't hear from God. This can happen easily after a few disappointments but in truth it is given to every Christian to hear from the Lord. Jesus says you, His sheep, hear His voice.

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me"

John 10:27 - KJV


Nevertheless, there is more to being Spirit-led than simply responding to a prompting or leading from within you. You can get yourself into a real mess by assuming that's all there is to it. Let me illustrate this for you with an example from my own life.

A number of years ago I took my ageing car to my regular garage - a specialist in cheaply repairing the particular model car I had. I took it in for a small job and while it was there the mechanic discovered the engine had no oil pressure. He came out to tell me the news and offered to fit a reconditioned engine at very low cost. I said, "Give me a moment and I'll think about it."

At this I went outside to pray. I asked the Lord, "Should I have the engine changed or not, Lord?" In answer to this I felt He was saying, "Go ahead. Have it changed."


I instructed the mechanic accordingly and he did the engine change. Now that was the beginning of a long period of car trouble directly related to that engine! Eventually, I looked back at that incident and I asked the Lord, "Why did all this trouble happen? I asked You if I should have the engine changed and I really thought You were indicating I should go ahead."

The reply I got from the Lord surprised me. He said, "You shouldn't have been asking about that engine change. I had already given you the answer you needed in My Word!" He then reminded me of Malachi 3:10-11 and how He'd promised me in that passage that He would rebuke the devourer for my sake. He continued, "You should have took that promise as your answer and not asked Me about changing your engine."

This kind of situation has come up often in my life since then but the lesson I learnt with my car engine has been a good guide to me in avoiding similar trouble. I have not asked the Lord again the kind of question I asked at that time. Instead, I have allowed my tither's promise to direct my conduct in the face of each bad report. Malachi 3:10-11.


I'll explain that a bit further so there's a better chance of you understanding what that was all about and of understanding what was going on there.

You see, what God had promised me through His prophet Malachi should have taken precedence. Since I was someone who had always as a Christian brought my tithe into His storehouse and with it proved Him then His promise to me was, "I will rebuke the devourer for your sake."

This means then that if I was giving God's promise precedence over other news then it would have been His promise I would have relied upon and not the news. I would have acted in line with the promise and not with the news.

In the case of the engine, I would have relied upon God to keep the engine and see to it that it would continue to run with a little mechanic's tender care.


We, as believers who are desiring to be Spirit-led, need to recognise that the Holy Spirit's counsel always builds on what has already been given in His Word. The written Word of God provides counsel that the Holy Spirit will build on to provide you with details and specifics for your situation. This counsel from God's Word is precursor counsel. It comes before all other supplementary counsel about details and specifics, takes priority over it and acts as a measure of the dependability of any other counsel you receive.

You need to know the precursor counsel for your situation. If you attempt to draw counsel from the Holy Spirit without reference to the precursor counsel you will find things will not work out well - the strength of your own thinking will mislead you. (Proverbs 3:8-9.)


The first thing you need to do, when seeking the Lord's leading on any situation, is to ask for the counsel the Bible has related to that matter. Often, if you do this, you'll find the Holy Spirit will lead you to the counsel in God's written Word that provides you with all the counsel you need on how to act, prepare or think.

You should also ask to be reminded of the promises of God for your situation. You can't draw specific counsel from the Holy Spirit regarding details of action in a way that disregards promises God has given. I can best explain this for you with an example.


Let's say you're having financial troubles and you realise you had better get God's leading on how to get out of this trouble. You might ask, "I'm in a mess financially, Lord. I'm never going to pay my bills here next month. Where should I go to get out of this mess?"

If you ask like this you'll get an answer that, if you follow it, will lead you into even more problems than you had before. Why? Because your question disregarded God's promises of supply such as,

"My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

Philippines 4:19 - KJV


You can ask the Lord for direction but you can't ask it without regard for and faith in His promises! You mustn't ask what to do in a way that disregards a promise of God. You have to ask God for His leading on the basis of faith in His promises and reverence for the counsel of His Word.

This is the kind of thing James is referring to when he writes,

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith."

James 1:5-6 - KJV


Once you have discovered the precursor counsel of God by His Spirit in His Word you may well still need a few details filled in on how exactly you are to proceed. It is at this time that you will need to look to the Holy Spirit for His specific prompting.

If you are a worship leader, for example, you will need to look to the Holy Spirit for the specific song at any given moment in the service to fulfil the precursor counsel you already have on the function of your songs.

In my church I have counselled our musicians that the precursor counsel of God and His covering promise for praise and worship is given by Paul in the letter to the Ephesians. Paul wrote,

"Be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Ephesians 5:18-19 - KJV


For this reason, it is not sufficient for the musicians to ask, "Is this song all right Lord? Can we sing this?" If they ask like this they are attempting to draw counsel from the Holy Spirit without proper regard for the precursor counsel given on what praise and worship is designed to perform. The result will be that they will, in all likelihood, get the wrong choice of song.

The musicians have the precursor counsel of God regarding what songs to choose. When they ask the Lord for detailed leading on what songs to sing then they should regard this counsel and ask, "Will the choice of this song lead the congregation out of themselves and into the Spirit? Is this song likely to be taken up by the congregation in a way that they will sing it with grace, melody and thanksgiving in their hearts to the Lord?"

The Holy Spirit will always be looking to lead you to fulfil the counsel He has already shown you in God's written Word. As you fulfil, by your words and actions, this precursor counsel you will know the move or working of the Holy Spirit. As you depart from this fulfilment you will experience the Holy Spirit not "lending a hand" and instead trying to move you elsewhere!


Your pastor has an important role in your desire to follow God's leadings accurately. He is available to give you are better grasp of the counsel God's Word provides for your life. Your pastor ministers God's Word to you in a way that provides opportunities for you to recognise how you can apply it to the many situations arising in your life.

Meditate on your pastor's counsel given as he has expounded a scripture in a way that shows its application in your life. Your pastor's ministry of God's Word is there to give you are better grasp of how God's Word forms the precursor counsel you need before drawing on the Holy Spirit for detailed leading! Your grasp and taking in of what he's counselled, taught or preached in this way can end up being crucial in whether or not you get it right about how you ought to proceed in any given situation.

A good verse in this regard is found in Hebrews,

"Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."

Hebrews 13:17 - KJV


Don't get rigid and inflexible over what you believe God has showed you to do. You have to have built in flexibility or a preparedness to get a fresh prompting or urging of the Spirit "on the move" or "on your feet".

It's good to recognise that the fulfilment of the counsel of God will not only depend on what you are doing. It will also depend on how others are responding to the actions or words you have been given to do or say.

God's work in people's lives is not static but dynamic. God is willing to make allowances for people's slowness, dullness or stubbornness and is always ready to try a new approach with them. Don't let yourself lose sight of the general counsel of God you have from God's Word to fulfil - but be flexible!


I experience this constantly while I'm teaching and preaching. I recognise that I have to stay flexible and available to be prompted by the Holy Spirit at any time. I believe God's Word tells me my teaching and preaching is to deliver God's Word so that it heals, sets people free, builds them up, comforts and exhorts. I sense when it is doing this that there is an empowering and moving of the Holy Spirit on my words.

For this reason, I stay sensitive to the Spirit's leadings rather than inflexible about what I should say. I look to present the message He has given me to preach in the order and with the emphasis the Holy Spirit prompts me to give it. I respond to nudges and urgings of the Holy Spirit as I go along - nudges to move on from one topic, verse or scripture portion to another or urgings to continue.

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