Friday, April 14, 2006

Spirit led or Self-driven

Ask anyone about the type of person they admire and most times you get the same list of attributes. They name some one that is self-driven, a goal-getter, hard working, self made, independent, determined, a leader, assertive, self-reliant, self-confident, persistent, insistent, self-assured, believes and has faith in himself. These are individuals who fought against all odds to reach their goals and fulfill their purpose. They work hard for what they have, they asked no one for favors or handouts, and they owe no one anything. But, notice that all the attributes are about self being praised and affirmed.

In contrast we have Jesus. Yes, he was hard working and fought against all odds. But not once did He use His own power to do anything. He never affirmed self, He affirmed submission to the Holy Spirit. Let’s read some verses that will show what I mean. In Isaiah 11:2 we read, “And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him …” In John 9:4 we read that He says of Himself, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” Luke says in chapter 4 verse 1 that, “Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness…” Isaiah prophesied that he would say of Himself, that,

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
Isaiah 61:2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

In the gospel of John, Jesus is quoted saying that He never did His own will. Let’s read,

John 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
John 6:39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

The Bible passages say that the Spirit in all things guided Christ. Some verses say that the Spirit led Him and others say that the Spirit sent Christ. Since the Bible says that Christ did as the Spirit asked Him to do, this means Christ was willing to do the Spirit’s bidding, and we can conclude that Christ was not self-driven. Christ stands in contrast to those attributes above. Christ was not His own man. All the attributes of the self-made man above did not apply to Him. He did not open His own doors, he was not self-reliant, self-confident, nor did He believe or have faith in Himself. He trusted, was dependent, and had faith and believed in His Father and the Holy Spirit. Christ never did His own will. He prayed that the Father would reveal His will to Him, and did as the Father bid Him to do. Christ never asked the Father to bless His plans; He had no plans of His own. Instead He followed the plans given to Him by the Holy Spirit.

What about us? Are we to be self-driven or Spirit led? The words of Romans 8:14 have the answer, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Notice the conditional clause at the beginning of the verse. It does not say that that if we are children of God, then we are led by the Spirit. No, it actually says that those who are led by the Spirit are sons and daughters of Christ. Are you allowing the Spirit of God to dwell in you and lead you? I pray and hope that you consider this question prayerfully. Let us not deceive ourselves into thinking that if we do the right things – keep the Sabbath, pay tithes, study our quarterly, etc. - we are sons and daughters of God. None of it matters unless we are being led by the Spirit to do it.

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