Summary: The message deals with the difference between spiritual moments and consistent daily lives led by the Holy Spirit.
The thrilling spiritual moments may be genuine responses to God, or they may be the desire of the flesh in just one more moment of exhilaration.
I. How do we become led by the Spirit of God?
a. When we chose not to let our bodily desires direct our living
b. When we chose to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us to put our bodily desires to death
II. Why should we become led by the Spirit of God?
a. A life of no condemnation
b. A life of peace Spiritual Moments Versus Spirit Led
c. A life of pleasing God
d. A life as a child of God
It was certainly true in the days of Jesus’ earthly ministry, and it is true today. It is not a lack of religious interest that plagues the world. For whatever reason interest in religion is very high. The problem is that that interest is not translating into changed lives. George Barna’s latest research indicates that the gap on lifestyle between non-church attending people and church attending people is closing. All across the board what we would hope would be indicators of a genuine relationship with God and becoming less and less evident. What is happening? What causes that? I want to suggest to you that the problem is a deep problem, yet a simple one. It is the difference between spiritual moments and spirit led. Someone has said that our life in Christ can be compared to an aqueduct, the stone waterways that brought water from nearby mountains into parched cities in Italy and Spain, and that are still used in some countries today. The objective foundation of our spiritual lives, the Word of God, is like the huge stone aqueduct itself. The subjective elements, our daily experience of Christ, are like the fresh water flowing through it. Some Christians neglect the Word and seek only the subjective experience. But without the solid Word of God to contain and channel that experience, the experience itself drains away into error and is lost. Other Christians boast well-engineered aqueducts based on extensive knowledge of the Bible, but they are bone dry. They bring no refreshment. Strong spiritual lives require both a strong knowledge of the Word of God and an intimate daily relationship with Christ. We live in a world that races for the thrill of the moment. Our throw away world also seeks to be able to throw away the emotions as fast as we get them. The thrilling spiritual moments may be genuine responses to God, or they may be the desire of the flesh in just one more moment of exhilaration. The truth is, spiritual moments can be worked up and induced. Just because a person has spiritual moments does not indicate that they are Spirit led. I want you to walk with me through this passage of scripture today to take a close look at yourself and see if you need to allow God to do some business with you today.
The first stop on our way is to examine the question of how do we become led by the spirit of God. Now we need to make sure that we have an understanding of what we are talking about here. To be led by the Spirit means to be directed and guided by the Spirit. We have done pretty well at seeing the role of the Holy Spirit as our comforter in times of need. We have not done so well at seeing Him as the one who “guides us into the truth”. The word led literally conveys the idea of having a hand upon. I remember watching a young family in church one time. The little toddler was being about as hard to handle as he could be. The mom would try to quiet him. Dad had given several of those corner of the eye looks. It did not help. Then all of a sudden I saw the smoothest move. Dad just reached down and took the toddlers hand and out the aisle and out the door they went. The look on that child’s face told the tale, he got the point, daddy was in charge and daddy was doing the leading. How do you come to the place that the Holy Spirit is in fact the one in charge of your life? You have to make the first step and it begins when we chose not to let our bodily desires guide us. The Bible says that we are not to walk according to the flesh. We are not to allow the desires of the body to be the guide for our actions and our living. You do not have a choice in whether or not your life will be guided; you do have a choice as to who will be guiding you. The real choices always boil down to two, your flesh or the Holy Spirit. It cannot be both and you are the one who has to make that decision. It comes to pass when we chose to allow the Holy Spirit to help us to put our bodily desires to death. The Bible is pretty clear. We must put to death the deeds of the flesh. Your fleshly desires become untamable raging waves. They cannot be managed apart from the help of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps the issue for some here today is that you have for too long tried to manage your passions and desires. You don’t manage them, you allow the Holy Spirit to help you put them to death. They cannot have reign over you. We have to face up to the fact that we have to be a part of that process. In The Last Days Newsletter, Leonard Ravenhill tells about a group of tourists visiting a picturesque village who walked by an old man sitting beside a fence. In a rather patronizing way, one tourist asked, “Were any great men born in this village? “The old man replied, “Nope, only babies.” Everyone has to start at the same place and grow into maturity. It does not just happen. Before the Holy Spirit can lead you, you must turn over the control of your life from your own desires and give it to the Holy Spirit.