Be the Church: Let the Holy Spirit Lead You
Being the church means that we are led by the Holy Spirit that lives within us. As followers of Jesus, we live in the constant tension of following our natural inclination and what seems to be logical and following the leading of God. As we grow in our journey with Jesus, seeking His face and reading His Word, we learn more and more to recognize what His voice sounds like. We learn which of the things that we are feeling are coming from ourselves and which urges are actually promptings of the Holy Spirit. It's a growing process and we are bound to make mistakes, but it is also the most amazing adventure. One thing is for sure, we cannot rely on our own understanding. But if we are faithful to seek His direction and His guidance, He will be more than faithful to lead us (Proverbs 3:5-6). The first church was spirit-led. From the time when they received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in Acts 2, they were continuously led by the Spirit of God. Throughout the book of Acts, Luke records times when the disciples made abrupt changes in their plans, because the Holy Spirit was leading them in the opposite direction. We see this in Acts chapter 16. As Paul and his companions are traveling through Phrygia and Galatia, the Holy Spirit keeps them from entering the province of Asia to speak. Instead, Paul has a dream of a Macedonian man pleading with them, "Come over to Macedonia and help us!" Paul recognizes this as the voice of the Lord and they change course.
Throughout the book of Acts, we see the fruit of following the Holy Spirit's lead. The Holy Spirit confirms the message of grace preached by the disciples with signs and wonders (Acts 14:3). It also tells us that daily God was adding to them people that were being saved (Acts 2:47). As we walk forward in the leading of the Holy Spirit, we will see that God will bring supernatural results.
In our churches, we need to be open to the Holy Spirit's leading, even when it seems to be contrary to our own plans or understanding. It is great to have structure and organization. However, we cannot be so rigid in our structure that we make no room for the Holy Spirit to move. It's important that we are sensitive to God's leading and that we are willing to let God switch up our plans. I remember one time that I was scheduled to preach at the youth group I serve at. I prayed all day, "Holy Spirit, move me out of the way tonight. It's not about me. It's about you. Have your way this evening." What ended up happening was that the Holy Spirit fell heavy during worship. The teens were being touched by God as we praised Him together. We stayed in that place all night and I never had the opportunity to speak. But it was one of the most powerful services we have had.
As we seek to be the church, it is important that we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us even in our day-to-day interactions. This is one that I am really working on. I don't want to be so busy or consumed with my own agenda that I miss out on the opportunities that God is presenting me with in any given day.
Let's live with our eyes wide open to what God is wanting to do in our world through us.