One important thing for every Christian community to remember…
The Bible is a horrible document for telling us exactly what to do in every situation.
When (ahem) understood properly, it’s a great document for showing God’s character, His purpose, our nature and how we’ve been designed to live.
For these two reasons, our approach for guidance from the Lord should be…Be led by the Spirit…with reference to His words.
It’s important that a Christian community is learning both the leading of the Spirit and His words. But many times we struggle with one or the other or both.
I’ve been a part of groups of people that loved to learn the words of God. They would have Bible studies multiple nights a week in an effort to learn more and more of what the Bible could teach them. This is a good thing. But I noticed something concerning.
It was rarely if ever asked “what is the Lord showing us right now?” They found it easy to listen to the Bible and hard to listen to the Lord. This also played out in meetings. It was easy to talk about scriptures and hard to talk to and about the Lord. Prayer was dry and meetings lacked a feeling of Life behind them.
I’ve also been in groups that loved to listen for the Spirit. They would always be talking about what the Lord told them (so they claimed). This is also a good thing. But I noticed something concerning.
There were too many “thus saith the Lord’s” spewing out of their mouths that, upon examination, didn’t align with God’s words. In extreme cases, every time you encountered some people, they would be SURE about a divine word they received from the LORD.
This made life with them chaotic and fairly unbearable. Claiming such an attuned ear to the Lord is typically just a way for people to elevate themselves to feel better about their spirituality. Over the years, I’ve recognized that the more attuned a person is to the Lord, the less they claim it.
When you are all about being Spirit-led without a strong reference to His words, you can be prone to attributing things to the Lord that are definitely not of Him.
Both of these imbalances can create trouble.
As a writer and speaker, I’ve found myself personally leaning toward learning information more than listening. I’ve found setting aside more time for journaling and conversation with other believers about my thoughts and feelings has allowed me to strike more of a balance.
As you and your church continue to pursue the Lord, think about how you can build habits into your life that will allow you to continuously grow in your ability to be led by the Spirit with reference to His words.
And when it comes to your posture and confidence in either…stay humble and always be suspicious of yourself.