Part 1: The Spirit Guided Life

{Galatians 5:16; NLT}
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.

I love to hike. For me hiking is one of those simple joys in life as I am able to spend time in God’s creation. There are few activities I like to do more than hiking.

A month ago I was able to take a week long hiking trip with three friends. We went to the mountains of Colorado and were able to log a little more than 40 miles in six days. Which wasn’t too bad given the fact that we were all lowlanders from the Midwest.

Most of the trails we hiked were well marked and there was no doubt about which direction we were supposed to go. We did run into one big exception to this and it happened on the very first hike of the week. We were hiking up to one of the 14,000 foot peaks and it was a struggle for us. We had just finished the steepest climb of the day and in the distance we could see our destination. The problem was that in the thick brush we could not find the trail. We had already hiked for six hours and we knew that we didn’t have too much longer before we had to turn around and hike back to the truck.

I studied the map that I had, but I just couldn’t find the trail. One of my friends, Mike, and I decided to continue on and make a bee line for peak. We didn’t make it far before we realized that there was valley between us and the peak and that there was no way we could reach it following the route we had chosen. We decided that we had better turn around and head back to the truck while there was still plenty of day light left.

In that situation what we needed was a guide. A person who knew the area, who had completed the hike, and could tell us the best route to take to reach the destination. That information would have been priceless to us. Even with a map we did not know the best way to go.

I think this is a good illustration of our lives as Christians. Most of the time the way of Jesus is well marked and we have no trouble knowing which way to go. This is especially true when we read and study the Bible which serves well as our map. Yet we have all had those times when we don’t understand what that Bible says or how it applies to our lives. We might find ourselves in a difficult situation with family or at work and we do what we think is best only to discover that the way we have chosen is not going to work.

The good news is that the New Testament tells us that we have a guide: the Holy Spirit. Our lives can be guided by someone who knows the territory and is able to lead us along the best path.

While this is wonderful news, if you are like me, you want to know how we can have Spirit guided life. We are told to let our lives be guided by the Spirit, but we have received very little teaching about how that happens. I want to take the next three posts and walk through three passages from Colossians to help us understand what it means to have a life that is guided by the Spirit.

We need a guide to help us navigate all the difficult and trying situations of our lives.  For the guide to be effective requires knowing how to communicate with him and receive his advice.  My goal with this series is to give us concrete ways to surrender our lives to the guidance of the Spirit.

Questions to Consider:

  • Why is having a guide so necessary if we are going to follow the way of Jesus?
  • Have you ever said to yourself: “I which somebody would just show me what to do!”?
  • How is your life being guided by the Spirit?
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