Living a Great Miracle - Being Led by God's Spirit

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God commands that, in the late spring of every year, a special day be observed (Leviticus 23:15-21 Leviticus 23:15-21 15 And you shall count to you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: 16 Even to the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall you number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meat offering to the LORD. 17 You shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals; they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven; they are the first fruits to the LORD. 18 And you shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering to the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet smell to the LORD. 19 Then you shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings. 20 And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the first fruits for a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest. 21 And you shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation to you: you shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.
American King James Version×
). It is commonly called Pentecost , from the Greek pentekoste . The Jews refer to it in various ways. One is as Shavuot , meaning “Weeks,” because the date of its observance is determined by counting a specific number from an earlier religious observance.

Another name given it is Hag Hakatzir, the Festival of the Harvest, for it marks the harvesting of the wheat, the last grain harvest of the spring harvest season. And, in that context, it is also called Yom HaBikkurim , the Day of the Firstfruits. There is much significance to this festival, which is vitally important for Christians.

When celebrating this festival we know as Pentecost, the descendants of the ancient Israelites are reminded of one of the greatest events in their history—the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai. In his book To Be a Jew, Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin writes: “Shavuot commemorates the awesome event experienced by the children of Israel seven weeks after the exodus from Egypt when they camped at the foot of Mt. Sinai somewhere in the Sinai Peninsula. This event was the Revelation, when God’s will was revealed to Israel. It marked the declaration of the Ten Commandments … While the exact manner of this communication between God and man is not known and was always subject to various opinions by the great thinkers and Sages of Israel, it was an event of awesome proportions and a unique spiritual experience that indelibly stamped the Israelites with their unique character, their faith, and their destiny.”

The events leading up to this time—the Exodus of the Israelites from slavery, the death of Egypt’s firstborn, the crossing of the Red Sea, the giving of manna from heaven and the giving of the law—were miracles that had a tremendous impact on the history both of Israel and much of the world. As Christians, we sometimes forget that another great miracle has taken place in all our lives. It is one of the greatest miracles of all time, the coming of God’s Holy Spirit.

Celebrating another great miracle

The Feast of Pentecost is a celebration of that event, a reminder to each of us that God works in us through His Spirit. For humans to be changed and led by God’s Spirit is one of the greatest miracles of all.

When we study the Day of Pentecost in the Bible, we find the beginnings of this great miracle. In Acts 1:8 Acts 1:8But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come on you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.
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, we read Christ’s instructions to His disciples: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” ( New American Standard Bible ).

This promise from Christ was dramatically fulfilled within a few days of His statement. This occurred on the Day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2. Peter concluded his sermon on that day with these words: “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself” (verses 38, 39, NASB).

After the physical manifestations that are described in the first verses of Acts 2, we find the Holy Spirit descending on a large group of people. Their lives were changed dramatically. They were led by God’s Holy Spirit from that time forward.

The book of Acts is replete with the stories of these people’s lives and the impact they had on the society of that day. The change was so evident that they were accused of having “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6 Acts 17:6And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brothers to the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come here also;
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). Such was the dramatic, dynamic power of the Holy Spirit.

Being led by the Holy Spirit

When we make reference to someone who is led by the Holy Spirit, as these people were, we must make sure we understand what is being said. This is discussed in detail by the apostle Paul in Romans 8:1-28 Romans 8:1-28 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you. 12 Therefore, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. 24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for? 25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. 26 Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
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, where he shows how the Holy Spirit works in the life of a Christian. In verse 14, Paul states: “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” Here we see that a Christian is defined as one who is led by the Spirit of God.

We find this same thought in verse 9. Here Paul dogmatically states that if you don’t have the Spirit dwelling in you then you do “not belong” to God (NASB).

The implication is that it is through God’s Spirit and “Christ in us” (Colossians 1:27 Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
American King James Version×
) that we actually accomplish what we do as Christians, rather than through our own efforts. The glory and credit must go to God.

However, it isn’t enough to simply be led by God’s Spirit. We must allow God, through His Spirit, to rule over our lives. The Holy Spirit must be allowed to become the energizing force in our lives to produce the qualities of true Christianity. We must ask ourselves if we are truly being led by God’s Spirit and if we are allowing it to serve as the guiding force in our lives.

Understanding the Holy Spirit

To grasp how God’s Spirit works in our lives, we must understand what God’s Spirit is. The Holy Spirit is not an individual person, along with God the Father and Jesus Christ, forming a “Holy Trinity.” There simply is not biblical evidence for the Holy Spirit to be thought of as a separate person, apart from the Father and the Son. (See the article “Just What Is the Holy Spirit? “) In Scripture, the Holy Spirit is described as the power of God at work in our lives. This divine power of God emanates from the Father, allowing us to be “led by the Spirit of God” (Romans 8:14 Romans 8:14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
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).

What does God’s Holy Spirit do for us as Christians? This question affects the very core of our religious beliefs, because without the power of God’s Spirit in our lives we would have no relationship with the Father. It is because this Spirit is dwelling within us that we are the children of God (Romans 8:14-17 Romans 8:14-17 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
American King James Version×
).

It is important that we understand what it means to be “led by the Spirit.” God’s Spirit doesn’t drive, drag or push us around; it leads us. It will not prevent us from sinning, nor will it force us to do what is right. It leads us, and we must be willing to follow.

God’s Spirit at work

Exactly how does God’s Spirit lead us? Let’s consider a few ways.

The Holy Spirit keeps us in contact with God’s mind. God’s Spirit works with our mind. The apostle John describes it this way: “Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit [which] He has given us” (1 John 3:24 1 John 3:24And he that keeps his commandments dwells in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he stays in us, by the Spirit which he has given us.
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). Through the Holy Spirit, which is given to us, we can be influenced by God for the good. This is in contrast to the situation in the world around us and our own human nature.

The Holy Spirit provides a deeper understanding of God’s Word and His will for humanity. As 1 Corinthians 2:9-11 1 Corinthians 2:9-11 9 But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him. 10 But God has revealed them to us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God.
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tells us: “But as it is written, ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God” (emphasis added throughout).

Without that Spirit, a person cannot understand God’s divinely expressed Word and will, “for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (verse 14).

God’s help in overcoming

The Holy Spirit makes overcoming possible. There is nothing too difficult for us with the power of God working in our lives. Romans 8:26 Romans 8:26Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
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tells us that God’s Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. Paul, the writer of the letter to the Romans, speaking for all of us said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 Philippians 4:13I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.
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).

Jesus Christ promises Christians, “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26 Matthew 19:26But Jesus beheld them, and said to them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
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; Mark 10:27 Mark 10:27And Jesus looking on them said, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
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). The Christian life is to be one of overcoming. We must not believe that God wants us to remain just as we are whenever we are called. Instead, we must “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2 Romans 12:2And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
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). Christianity is a lifetime of overcoming and growing.

The Holy Spirit convicts our conscience and helps us see sin as it really is. Speaking of the Holy Spirit, which would be given to His followers after His death, Jesus Christ said it would “convict the world of sin . . .” (John 16:8 John 16:8And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
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). God’s Spirit within us, working with our conscience, helps us to recognize and avoid sin. The guilt that we feel is real, prompted by recognition of sins.

Hebrews 9:14 Hebrews 9:14How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
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tells us that Jesus Christ’s sacrifice “cleanse[s] your conscience from dead works to serve the living God,” meaning that we have forgiveness from God, and, through repentance, we no longer need feel guilt for our sins. Christ’s sacrifice washes away the sin in our lives, but we must still come to understand sin and how it affects us. Repentance must precede the forgiveness that God promises to each one of us, and repentance means change and effort to avoid sin.

Fruit of God’s Spirit

The Holy Spirit produces godly fruit in our lives. Just as an apple tree produces apples, God’s Spirit produces a particular type of fruit in the life of a Christian. Galatians 5:22 Galatians 5:22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
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, 23 lists the fruit that should be evident in the lives of those who are led by God’s Spirit-love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Each aspect of this fruit is worthy of a detailed study in itself, coupled with a self-analysis to see to what degree it is are manifest in your life.

The Holy Spirit comforts and encourages us. Jesus Christ promised to send His followers “another comforter” (John 14:16 John 14:16And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
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, KJV). True comfort and reassurance come from the Spirit of God dwelling in us. We need not be unduly worried about the future or what may happen to us. God’s Spirit gives us the assurance that whatever happens will be for the good “to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
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).

This provides an outlook on life that is quite rare in our world today. It is certainly possible for a Christian to become discouraged, but it is through the Holy Spirit that we can begin to look upon life differently. As noted above, peace is one aspect of the fruit of God’s Spirit in the life of a Christian.

Annual reminder of miracles

The gift of God’s Holy Spirit should make us exceedingly thankful. Just as we must recognize the great power of God to perform miracles in the days of the ancient Israelites, so we must not forget the power of God to work miracles in our lives.

The Feast of Pentecost is an annual reminder that God is still a miracle-working God. Whenever an individual is granted God’s Holy Spirit, he becomes a walking miracle. One of the greatest miracles of all time is going on in our very midst. That miracle is for a human being to be led by God’s Holy Spirit! GN