Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you.… — John 16:13
Occasionally when people visit Moscow, my wife and I give them a tour of the Kremlin. Because people usually want to see the Kremlin, we have been there hundreds of times and we know all the routes and shortcuts. Often as we visit this historic complex of buildings with our guests, I am amazed to see people in other groups taking the longest, most difficult route on that extensive tour. I always think, They are taking the longest and hardest route possible! If I were leading them, I could save them a lot of time and energy. These people ultimately get the same tour as they keep exploring on their own, but the route they take requires twice the time and energy as the tour I could give them.
As I was pondering this one day, I started thinking of all the times each of us could have avoided wasting precious time and energy if we had only allowed the Holy Spirit to lead us. We may eventually get to the same point, but if we try to go it alone, that usually means we will take twice as long to get there and the journey will be much harder. The Holy Spirit sees everything. He knows every nook, corner, and bend on the road of life. If we reach out and take His hand, He will lead us on shortcuts that will save time, energy, and many tears.
The Holy Spirit wants to guide us through life. He wants to guide us as we walk into the future. In John 16:13, Jesus used this illustration of a guide to describe the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He said when the Spirit came, “…he will shew you things to come” (John 16:13).
The word “show” is the Greek word odegeo, and it is the word for a guide who shows a traveler the safest course through an unknown country. This means Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be our Guide! The Holy Spirit knows the way we should go. He knows how to avoid every trap and every attack; He knows the safest and fastest route for us to take. When we are stepping into territory that is new to us, it is imperative that we let the Holy Spirit lead us, for He wants to show us the precise route to take so we can successfully reach that place God has put in our hearts. This is part of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in our lives — to get us safely to our God-ordained point of destination.
In the life of Jesus, we see this guiding work of the Holy Spirit very clearly.
- Jesus was led by the Spirit not to go to Bethany to see Lazarus when His friend was sick unto death. Hostile Jewish leaders expected Jesus to come to Lazarus’ aid and were waiting there to trap him. Jesus waited two days after hearing of Lazarus’ sickness; in fact, He didn’t go until He knew Lazarus was dead. It must have been difficult for Jesus to refrain from rushing to Lazarus’ side, but the Holy Spirit guided Him to stay away from that place because there were people there who wanted to stone Him (see John 11:1-11).
- Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit to go to Bethany the moment the Jewish leaders left. When Jesus didn’t appear after Lazarus had died, the religious leaders concluded He wasn’t coming, so they left the graveside. As soon as these evil leaders had abandoned Bethany and this treacherous situation had passed, the Holy Spirit gave Jesus the go-ahead to travel to Bethany, where He raised Lazarus from the dead. Thus, because Jesus allowed the Holy Spirit to guide Him and only left for Bethany after He sensed a release to go, He avoided an ugly confrontation with angry religious leaders (see John 11:11-45).
- Jesus was led by the Spirit through dangerous situations on many occasions. When religious leaders with evil intentions wanted to capture and kill Jesus, He was supernaturally guided by the Spirit right through the midst of the crowd, escaping injury and harm (see Luke 4:29,30; John 8:59; John 10:39).
When you study the book of Acts, you will find that the Holy Spirit constantly guided people through hard and difficult territory. In each case, He would protect people from danger or from making mistakes; He would help them avoid those who wished to hurt them; or He would lead them away from a fruitless situation to a place of blessing. Here are some instances where the Holy Spirit warned the Early Church in advance about persecutions, famines, and other trials, guiding them safely through and around many treacherous moments.
- The Holy Spirit led the Early Church to prepare for a soon-coming famine. Because the early believers responded to this word from the Spirit that was delivered through the prophet Agabus, they were guided safely through this hardship (see Acts 11:27-29).
- The Holy Spirit led the apostle Paul and his team to stay away from Bithynia. The Bible doesn’t tell us why the Spirit forbade them to go to this destination. Perhaps there were unknown dangers awaiting them of which they were unaware. The Holy Spirit was guiding them away from danger as He directed them to take another, more important route (see Acts 16:7).
- The Holy Spirit led the apostle Paul to the region of Macedonia to preach the Gospel by speaking to him in a dream. Paul was so convinced that the Spirit was guiding him that he and his team immediately changed plans and followed the Holy Spirit’s leading to Macedonia, where they reaped great fruit for the Kingdom of God (see Acts 16:9).
Being led by the Spirit is one of the privileges we receive as children of God. Romans 8:14 says, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” As noted earlier (see July 3), the word “led” is the Greek word ago, which is the picture of someone gently leading someone else. This means the Spirit will lead us, but we must extend our hearts and hands to Him first, for without our cooperation, He cannot guide us anywhere.
Without the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we are left to find our way on our own. This no doubt means we will waste valuable time, energy, and money, not to mention shed a lot of unnecessary tears along the way! The Holy Spirit sees what we can’t see; knows what we don’t know; and understands the best routes, the most efficient shortcuts, and the safest paths to take. Since this is the kind of Leader the Holy Spirit is, we would be wise to let Him lead us!
Oh, if you only knew how many times the Spirit of God has wanted to be your Leader in the situations of life! He knew exactly how to lead you past every attack. He knew how to avoid each strategy that the devil arrayed against you. But even if you didn’t accept His guidance in the past, you don’t have to continue making that same mistake, trying to forge your way through life by yourself. You can extend your heart to the Holy Spirit today. Let Him take you by the hand — and He will safely guide you to the place where God wants you to go!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I thank You for the leadership of the Holy Spirit. I am so sorry that I’ve wasted time, energy, and money trying to find my way on my own when You have already sent me the Holy Spirit to be my Guide. Holy Spirit, please step into my life and take Your place as my Teacher, my Leader, and my Guide. I extend my heart and my hand to You today so You can begin to guide me through life. I thank You, Father, for providing the most wonderful Guide in the whole universe to help me make it successfully through life!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that I am led by the Spirit of God! Because I cooperate with Him, I don’t waste valuable time, energy, or money, and I don’t shed a lot of unnecessary tears. I gladly let the Holy Spirit lead me, since He sees what I can’t see; knows what I don’t know; and understands the best routes, the most efficient shortcuts, and the safest paths to take. As a result, He leads me past every attack; He helps me avoid each strategy of the devil; and He safely guides me to the place where God wants me to be!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Can you think of a time when the Holy Spirit stopped you from doing something that you thought was the correct thing to do? What was the result of following the Spirit’s leadership?
2. Has there ever been a moment when the Holy Spirit guided you to do something that made no sense to you naturally, but after you did exactly what He told you to do, you could see why He had led you in this way? If so, what was that occasion, and what was the fruit of your being guided by the Spirit to do things differently?
3. Is the Holy Spirit trying to lead you to do something right now that is different from what you had planned or thought? Have you been arguing with Him in your mind, thinking that His instructions make no sense? What are you going to do — stick with your original plan, or let the Holy Spirit be your Guide?