Being Led of the Spirit
(Galatians 5:18) But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Christians do well to be led of the Spirit. When they are so led, they may be assured that they are not under the law (the “do and live” law of Moses, GAL 3:10-12), per our text. They are not under the law's condemnation (ROM 8:1), nor are they under its form of duty and service (COL 2:14-17). Clearly, being led of the Spirit is important for professing Christians, but which spirit? Scripture speaks much of the Spirit of God but it also speaks of many other spirits. On the dangerous side, we read of “...another spirit...” (2CO 11:4), an “...unclean spirit...” (MAT 12:43), “...seducing spirits...” (1TI 4:1), “...evil spirits...” (LUK 7:21), “...spirits of devils, working miracles...” (REV 16:14), etc. Having one's thoughts and conduct influenced by a spirit such as these would be unwise, to say the least. We also read of things like “...the spirit of the Philistines...” (2CH 21:16) who were the belligerent enemies of God's Israel. Similarly, there is the “...spirit of Egypt...” (ISA 19:3). There is the “...spirit of deep sleep...” (ISA 29:10), a divine punishment that blinds men to the truth. There is the “...spirit of whoredoms...” (HOS 4:12), an influence that caused God's people to err. There is the “...spirit of divination...” (ACT 16:16), a devilish counterfeit of God's prescience. There is the “...spirit of fear...” which is antithetical to a sound mind (2TI 1:7). We are even told that the innate “...spirit of man which is in him...” does not know the things of God (1CO 2:11) and therefore it cannot ultimately be trusted: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (PRO 14:12). None of these spirits should lead Christians. NUM 5:11-31 speaks of a curiosity called “...the law of jealousies...” (NUM 5:29) whereby God commanded an unusual method for determining the fidelity (or lack thereof) of a suspected adulteress. Consider the following verses where something called “the spirit of jealousy” influences a man and he has a powerful impression that something is amiss: (NUM 5:12) Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man's wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him, (NUM 5:13) And a man lie with her carnally, and it be hid from the eyes of her husband, and be kept close, and she be defiled, and there be no witness against her, neither she be taken with the manner; (NUM 5:14) And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled: (NUM 5:15) Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is an offering of jealousy, an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance. Sometimes Christians talk about how they are being led by the spirit when they have an overwhelming impression about someone or something. Then they think or act in accord with that, assuming that it is divine leading. But notice in v. 14 that the “spirit of jealousy” could come upon a man if his wife WAS defiled, or if she was NOT defiled. The fact that the “spirit of jealousy” came upon the man proved nothing as far as a valid conclusion was concerned. This should remind us to beware of feelings, impressions, suspicions, coincidences, etc., for they may be “spirits” indeed, but not the spirit of truth which leads to valid conclusions. God leads “...in the paths of righteousness...” (PSA 23:3), not in the foggy labyrinths of feelings or superstition. God defines righteousness by His precepts (PSA 119:128), therefore “Make me to go in the path of thy commandments...” (PSA 119:35). If we would be truly led of the Spirit, we would be led by God's holy Bible which was inspired by the Spirit (2PE 1:21; 1PE 1:10-11) and is “...the sword of the Spirit...” (EPH 6:17). For true spiritual leading, we should essentially open our Bible, sincerely praying, “Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me...” (PSA 25:4-5), asking in faith, nothing wavering (JAM 1:5-6). The supreme form of being led of the Spirit is submission to the word of the apostles of Jesus Christ whereby we can discern between spirits: (1JO 4:6) We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. When one is following the leading of the Spirit according to the words He inspired and preserved in the Scripture (especially the New Testament), he can be sure that he is on the right path. Any spirit which influences his thoughts or conduct in a different direction than God's word is a spirit of error that should not be heeded. True Spirit-led people are those who want to be conformed to the Bible's instruction for them at all times. Such people have many blessed assurances, especially: (ROM 8:14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.