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Leading of the Spirit

By J.C. Macaulay


      We see [in the book of Acts] the variety of the Spirit's leading--through an assignment given by others who have the right to make it; through a definite plan, carefully and prayerfully prepared; through an urgent invitation, to which we are conscious of an inward response; and through a supernatural breaking in upon the mind. We cannot limit the Holy Spirit to any one system or method of leading.

      . . . The Holy Spirit will take such steps in leading as are necessary in any situation. If in His eyes the earnest invitation of Spirit-filled Christians is enough to indicate the will of God, He will not give us a vision, but where conditions warrant, He will not withhold even a miraculous breaking in upon us. Too many "visions" are trivial and without purpose, and their sole effect is to make their recipients unbearably proud of their spirituality. True visions are meaningful, purposeful and humbling.

      The apostle Paul also was led by the Holy Spirit. Let us remember that from the first day that Paul met Christ, his motto had been, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" It was not enough that he obey the will of God in becoming a preacher, but the whole course of his life must be ordered by the Lord. . . .

      A restraint which he could not understand, . . . but he sensed proved to be the corridor to enlargement. Troas became for Paul an outlook point from which he viewed a larger field of labor; a listing post, where he heard the cry of need rising from another continent. He did not realize what the sequel revealed, how strategic was this moment in the advance of the gospel. He only knew that he had the leading of the Spirit for the next step in his ministry. Two great truths must have burst upon him with tremendous force. First the impulses of the human spirit must yield to the orderings of the divine Spirit; and second, the restraints of the Holy Spirit are as much a part of His leading as His constraints. . . .

      1.   The Holy Spirit is given to lead God's children into all the will of God.

      2.   He is not confined to one or two methods of leading, but has infinite variety of operation.

      3.   When great issues are at stake, and the situation requires it, He will give unusual, miraculous leading.

      4.   The basic requirements of the leading of the Spirit are desire for, and submission to, the will of God.

      5.   He will lead by both constraints and prohibitions (Life in the Spirit, pp. 48-50).

      As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God (Romans 8:14).

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