073. Be Led by the Spirit!

Message 73 of 145 in the series BuildingUp

In this episode of the podcast, we're talking about the necessity of being led by the Spirit of God

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Expand Passage …
2 Timothy 1:7, ESV

Audio Transcript

Hi everyone welcome in to Episode Number 73 of the BuildingUp podcast. I’m David McConnell. Thank you guys for being with us this week. If you’ve been listening to the show for a while, you may have recognized a new song on our intro, big thanks to Shawn Lombard who is a gifted worship leader centered here in Birmingham, Alabama. And Shawn lent us that song for the show. We’re so thankful for that if you liked that song or want to check out more of his music. I know he’s on Apple Music, you can search for Shawn Lombard. That particular song is from his album called Rare Bird. But we definitely appreciate him lending that to us and letting us spruce up the show just a little bit after 72 episodes.

Well, in this episode of the podcast, we’re talking about the necessity of being led by the Spirit of God, how critical it is for a believer, to look to the Lord to lead their lives, to direct their lives, to show them where to go and what to do, and how to act and what to say and we just need to be immersed in the presence of God all the time and be led by him. And the Bible shows us that as a distinctive of being a Christian, I think it’s really important that we ponder, “what does it mean to really be a believer?” I think that’s especially important for where we broadcast this podcast here in Birmingham, because in the south, being a Christian is such a part of the culture. So many people grew up going to church, going to Vacation Bible School, having a Bible in their home, knowing Bible stories, being baptized, there are so many things that people did. And I am convinced there’s, there’s a lot of people sitting in churches, even today that are sitting there, because that’s kind of the tradition. That’s what they’ve grown up doing. That’s what they know to do. And maybe some of them are not even actually believers, because they’re basing their belief that they’re a Christian on traditional things that Christians do.

So I think it’s really important for us to look in the Bible and look throughout Scripture and find these distinctives, that if you are born again, as the Bible calls it, if God has called you, and you have answered and responded to that call, and your heart has been changed, you trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of all of your sins, and you want to follow him with your life. There are certain characteristics of that life that you’re going to see. These are not things that you do in order to be saved. But these are things that you will do because you have been saved. And one of those distinctives is that you look to be led by the Spirit of God, that you want God’s presence, who is promised to be in you. If you’re a believer, you want the presence of God, to direct your thoughts and your words and your feelings and your actions all the time.

And Romans 814 tells us that this is a distinctive of being a Christian, for all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. And you can put they are daughters of God, that is appropriate. That a child of God, a son or a daughter of God, is someone who is being led by the Spirit of God, because God has promised to put his presence in those that are born again, and lead them in the way that they should go. And our responsibility as believers is to continually look at our lives and question, you know, “Am I being led by the Spirit here in this decision that I’m making? Or in this way that I’m thinking or in this how I’m speaking? Is this the spirit that’s leading me? Or am I being led by something else?” Because we are tempted to be led by our passions, our temptations, our worldly mindsets, or traditions or worldly wisdom, what we call common sense. we’re tempted to be led by those things, our personality, our traditions of how we grew up. We want to be led by the Spirit of God.

And so as a Christian, we want to constantly take inventory of our life so to speak, we want to check ourselves and say, “Okay, am I being led by God’s Spirit? Or am I being led by my own flesh, my own will?” And the reason that I think I’ve been pondering this more is because, as I’ve mentioned last couple of episodes, you know, we’re going through a time of difficulty here in our country, but certainly in our community, our city, our state with a COVID pandemic that is reared its head and flared back up with increasing cases, we’ve got people in our community that are sick, we’ve had people in our church that have been sick, I’ve got a family member who’s in the hospital, battling COVID now. And so it’s got me thinking about difficulties and trials.

And trials are things that we don’t want to go through. Although the Bible tells us that, when we are believers, trials are used by God for our good, even though we may not see that at the moment. And I do think that one of the benefits of a trial, one of the benefits of going through a difficult time is it gives us an opportunity to really take that stock of ourself and to consider our life and to really ponder, you know, Lord, what kind of changes should I make? You know, what? What do I need to do a little bit differently than I’ve been doing?

I think in times of prosperity, which is certainly where we would rather be. We don’t always think about those things. Sometimes when we’re going through good times and times of prosperity. We’re just kind of living life. And we’re going on our way, and we’re on our path. And we’re not always stopping and, and really just considering a How do I need to grow today? How do I need to be molded more like Christ?

Now obviously, the goal would be to live that way all the time to continually be looking at our lives, confessing and repenting where we’re not lined up with God, and then growing spiritually, that’s our goal. But I’m simply saying that sometimes it’s, it’s a little easier to see those things that need to be changed when we’re going through a time of difficulty. My pastoral mentor, years and years ago, I remember him preaching a sermon. It’s been 20 years ago, and he used this silly little illustration. But he compared people to tubes of toothpaste. And he said, people are like tubes of toothpaste, because when they get squeezed whatever’s inside of them comes out. And this is a silly little illustration. But what he was using it to talk about was how when we go through hard times, difficult seasons, even we just go through a difficult day, when when we find ourselves in the midst of a trial, which may just be lasting, you know, 10 minutes, or it may be lasting for a month or more. Whatever the case is, when we go through a trial, we often find that whatever’s inside of us, it tends to rear its head. And it’s a silly little illustration, but you know, 20 years ago, I’ve, I’ve remembered that. It’s stuck to me to this day.

And so I think that we should use the benefit of Times of Difficulty to really consider our lives. And so one of the things that I’m on proposing to us today and just asking is, how’s our life being led there, who’s leading us? Or what are we being led by? And I think in the midst of this pandemic, that we’re going through, Christians are really having an opportunity to consider that if they will, they’re having an opportunity to really stop and think, you know, what’s leading this, what’s leading my reaction? What’s leading my thoughts, what’s leading my behaviors right now? Because there’s a lot out there that is squeezing us. There’s a lot out there that’s causing us difficulties.

A passage that I want us to consider for today is from 2 Timothy chapter 1, verse 7.

2 Timothy 1:7 that says this,

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Expand Passage …
2 Timothy 1:7, ESV

And some translations there say, sound mind, power, love and self-control or power, love and sound mind. So think about what that passage from Paul is saying. So first of all, this spirit of God is not one of fear or timidity. And so if in our lives, we find ourselves being led by fear and reacting out of fear, that is a really good indication to us that we’re not being led by God’s Spirit. People react to fear in different ways. Some people when they’re afraid, they flee, they go into flight mode, they drawback and they just, you know, they get away from people, they get away from situations. They just, they flee, and they want to remove themselves so they don’t get hurt. Now, other people when they’re afraid, they go into not flight mode, but they go into fight mode. They want to defend themselves. They want to defend what is being threatened. They want to defend it because they’re afraid and so they may lash out, they may get anger, angry, they may get frustrated, they may find themselves really going after people hard, that are they feel are a threat because ultimately, they’re really just afraid.

And so when we find ourselves reacting in fight or flight, out of fear, we, it’s a really good indication that we’re being led by that fear. We’re not being led by the Spirit of God, we’re being led by fear. Because the Spirit of God gives us power, he gives us boldness, he gives us courage, he also gives us love. So we’re not gonna just flee from people, because we’re gonna engage them and love them, we’re not just going to flee from situations because we’re going to be bold and courageous. But we’re also not going to just want to fight people and be angry, because we have love in our hearts that is growing for people, even those we might disagree with. Now, this passage also tells us that God gave us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind — Self-control, sound judgment. So the Spirit of God brings us the wisdom of God. And that’s ultimately what we want to operate in.

We don’t want to operate in common sense. I mean, how many times have we said that parents say that all the time, right? God gave you common sense? Well, the truth is, God didn’t give us common sense. He gave us a spiritual sense, he gives us a spirit of wisdom. And I think somewhere in Ephesians, it talks about a spirit of wisdom and revelation. And that’s what we want to be led by. We want the wisdom of God, not the wisdom of man, not our own wisdom, not our own thoughts, we want to be led by the wisdom of God.

You know, if you give me about 90 seconds, just to say this, I think one of the things we’re seeing in the pandemic right now is, is Christians who are not being led by sound judgment, I think there are Christians who are responding, and maybe it’s out of, maybe it’s out of fear, but they’re not responding to the pandemic in a sound way. There’s a callousness about them toward the pandemic, that I don’t think is showing a love and an understanding and an empathy for those who are suffering and those who have went through a lot of pain during the pandemic. And I don’t think it’s a wise approach, or one that I can really say is definitely spirit-filled. On the other hand, I think there are Christians who, you know we’ve all wrestled with fear and the pandemic, but they’ve allowed themselves to start being led by that fear. And they’re lashing out in anger, they’re withdrawing from everyone because they’re afraid.

And I just want to encourage us that as believers, whether it’s in the midst of this pandemic, or whether it’s just in the midst of another difficulty that comes up down the road, or, you know, honestly, some, some people may listen to this. And you know, they know there’s a pandemic, but they’ve got so many other really difficult situations in their life, that that’s not the one that’s at the top of the list. And I just want to encourage us that God has given us a spirit, his spirit, the creator, and the Sustainer of the universe lives in believers. And he has promised us power, love, and a sound mind, sound wisdom that will help us to make really good decisions. And God will tell us where we need to be, and what we need to say, and how we need to act, and how we need to think and how we need to react to people. God will tell us that. He’ll tell us what to write, if we ask him, he’ll tell us what to say, if we ask him.

I really believe that. I really believe that God wants to be that involved in our lives. I really believe that God wants to lead us by His Spirit. And you know, I want to be someone who walks with God. I pray to be someone who walks with God. And I want you to be people who walk with God, and who are led by His Spirit, and who are making decisions out of his wisdom, who are courageous and bold and loving and experiencing his power. So how do we get there? Right? We only have about a minute left. But how do we get there? And let me just say, I want to put before you today on the podcast, the necessity of being led by the Spirit and get you thinking about this in your life. Maybe as you’re going through a time of difficulty. What do you see? What are you being led by?

But a couple of things. One, if you recognize that you’re not being led by the Spirit, that a lot of times you’re being led by your flesh, I would invite you to repent. The Bible says that. That we should repent when we see things that are not lined up with his word. So confess that and repent of it.

And then secondly, ask God for His Spirit. asked him to lead you. Luke chapter 11 says the Heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask. You have a rock-solid promise there. So ask him for the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your life. Ask him to be filled with the Spirit every day. Make that part of your daily prayers Ephesians 5:18 says, and then also make sure that you seek wise counsel. I think the Spirit of God works in us and the Spirit of God works through other believers in our lives. So it’s okay to put things before people and say, Hey, you know, this is how I’ve been reacting or this has been acting or this is how I’ve been thinking or this is how I’ve been feeling. Can you tell me do you think this is wisdom? I want to seek out the Spirit of God. What are your thoughts? Ask that as someone who’s a mature biblical person, someone who is is growing in their own faith and I think God will use that in your life.

I hope this has been helpful today. Now as you listened to the podcast, if you have any questions, use the email that you hear on the outro you can send in those questions or also topics that you’d like for us to talk about. If you found this helpful. Please share it let people know by word of mouth You can also go out to iTunes and give us a review and that’ll help other people find the show. Until next time, thank you for listening. Grace and peace to your family.

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