By what are you led?
We can be led by our emotions, following the dictates of the ebbs and flows of our passions. We can be led by our opinions, moving swiftly from one unstable presumption to another. We can be led by tradition, adhering to the conventions of generations past, wise or foolish. We can reject tradition and be led instead by the whims of culture.
Or we can be led by the immutable, omniscient, and transcendent Holy Spirit.
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Romans 8:14).
What does it mean to be led by the Spirit of God? Perhaps it would be beneficial to talk for a moment about inspiration. Consider this passage from Peter’s second letter:
“For we did not follow cleverly concocted fables when we made known to you the power and return of our Lord Jesus Christ; no, we were eyewitnesses of his grandeur. For he received honor and glory from God the Father, when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory: “This is my dear Son, in whom I am delighted.” When this voice was conveyed from heaven, we ourselves heard it, for we were with him on the holy mountain. Moreover, we possess the prophetic word as an altogether reliable thing. You do well if you pay attention to this as you would to a light shining in a murky place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you do well if you recognize this: No prophecy of scripture ever comes about by the prophet’s own imagination, for no prophecy was ever borne of human impulse; rather, men carried along by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” (2 Peter 1:16-21 NET)
Note first of all that Peter defends his message as an eyewitness. He was not led astray by “cleverly concocted fables,” nor did he spread them. He walked with Jesus, saw his deeds, and heard his words.
Second, he claims to “possess the prophetic word,” and this word is “an altogether reliable thing.” Peter is not just relying upon his veracity as an eyewitness, he has something even more credible, even more reliable.
Third, Peter wants them to recognize that this prophecy does not come about by the imagination of men. It is not created out of whole cloth, or conjured in the mind of man. Rather, these men were “carried along by the Holy Spirit” and “spoke from God.”
Inspiration has been a tricky thing to define. Often it is depicted as men groping for the right words before finally inspiration hits them. Yet Scripture claims that the men who wrote it were not moving themselves from word to word, they were moved by God. The direction was so thorough that they were speaking not just for God, but from him. Therefore, “all scripture is breathed out by God” (2 Timothy 3:16 ESV).
God allowed their personalities, their skills, and their personal situations to shine through, but each word was spoken by him, before it was penned by them. Thus they were led by the Spirit.
We are not direct recipients of inspiration today. Our experience with inspiration is secondary in nature. God does not move us as he moved them (see 1 Corinthians 13:8-12). The faith was revealed once for all time (Jude 3).
If we desire to be led by the Spirit we must be guided by what the Spirit revealed. His words must live in our hearts, direct our ways, and transform our lives.
By what are you led?