When God wants to teach me about a concept, He typically paces Himself. Maybe it’s because He knows how long it is going to take me to catch on…
Anyway, the theme of the summer has been living a Spirit-led life. God set out to teach me what that means, why I should do it, and how to do it effectively.
He started by sitting me down with a woman who already lives a Spirit-led lifestyle. She told me about her experience with it. She told me how she is continually praying things like, “Change me, Lord, to be more like you,” and “Less of me Lord, more of You,” throughout her day.
I sat and listened, but I didn’t get it. More specifically, I didn’t get that I didn’t get it. I thought I understood what she meant, but I began to get the sense that she was talking about something more powerful than I typically experience in my daily walk with the Lord.
So I did what any academically-driven person would do. I decided I needed to read a book on the subject. I borrowed one from a pastor friend, but it was more textbooky than I wanted, leaving me bored to tears.
A couple of weeks later I had all but forgotten God’s theme of the summer. So he kindly reminded me.
I found myself chatting with a different pastor, and he started talking about the disciplines of the Holy Spirit. Can I just say that the word “discipline” translates into “boring” in my book? Besides, I know all about the spiritual disciplines. I mean, I can almost name them all. So I subconsciously made up my mind that whatever this pastor was saying was not going to be helpful.
After he talked for about 15 minutes, he pulled out a book. Strange. It’s like God told him I’m a book person or something.
Anyway, the name of the book is Disciplines of the Holy Spirit by Tan. Not the most creative title in the world, but it does the trick to communicate the point of the book. While a shiny, new book to read did pique my interest, I assumed it would be a pretty boring read.
Then I got home and read the subtitle: How to Connect to the Spirit’s Power and Presence.
Wow. Now that is what I’d been looking for! Somebody tell Tan to change the name of the book to that. I digress.
I am 4 chapters in, and I’m learning some good stuff. Stuff that’s reminiscent of Colossians 1:9-12.
Paul packed these verses with a prayer for believers (verse 9) and an explanation of why he’s praying that prayer (verses 10-12). They are rich words that need to be read slowly and repeatedly to begin to grasp what Paul’s run-on sentences are getting at.
But for now, I just want to use verse 9 to define what a Spirit-led life is. I offer that someone who is living a Spirit-led life is filled with “the knowledge of [God’s] will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”
It stands to ask, then, what is “spiritual wisdom”? I think it is wisdom about the spiritual realm (as opposed to the physical) that comes from the Holy Spirit Himself. And to possess and subsequently act upon “all spiritual wisdom and understanding” is to live a Spirit-led life.
Living a Spirit-led life is being so frequently in tune with what God is doing in and around you that you develop kingdom vision.
You see what He sees how He sees it.
People are no longer annoyances; they are image-bearers of God who need His love.
Problems are no longer frustrating; they are opportunities for God to show His power.
Pain is no longer pointless; it is an invitation to deeper intimacy with God.
Plans are no longer rigid; they become fluid, ready to change if God redirects the day.
The Spirit-led life is yielding every second of every day to how the Spirit directs you.
I’m not there. But I’ve started asking God more frequently, “Lord, what are You doing right now, and how do You want me to be a part of it?” When my kids are fighting, and I’m at my wits end, I’ve started asking, “God, what are you trying to show me? How can I enter into now with you?”
And after I ask, I try to remember to pay attention for any form of an answer He might give – an impression, a verse, a circumstance, etc. That’s the hardest part – remembering to pay attention.
That’s all well and good, but why am I doing this?
Back to Paul and Colossians. Paul prayed for believers to live a Spirit-led life “in order that [they] may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way” (Colossians 1:10).
I don’t just want to please the Lord 15 or 30 minutes a day. I want to please Him in every way.
You and I both know I can’t do that on my own. And neither can you. But trying to live a life led by the Spirit is a step in the right direction.
Walk with me.