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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Hearing the Sound of the Spirit

What does it mean to be led by the Spirit"? [See quote from Romans below.] How does the Spirit help us fight our battles? Give an example. (Serendipity Bible Forth Edition, page 1575).

Romans 8:14-15 (NIV)

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

The leading of the Spirit is one the most important yet most treacherous concepts in Christianity.  How do we know we are being led by the Spirit rather than by secretively selfish, hurtful motives? It is tempting to quickly respond that if the direction indicated breaks the Golden Rule, then it must not be of the Spirit; yet we have the image of Abraham obeying God and both ready and willing to kill his son in sacrifice.  That is, obeying God (the first commandment) sometimes seems to conflict and trump the second and like commandment--the Golden Rule.  An issue long wrestled with by earnest folk is war and the nature of battle.  In war to conquer evil we must hate and kill our enemy rather than love them.  No one promises that Christianity is a sure-fire sedative to moral anxieties as we have seen demonstrated time and again in wrecked human psyches.  

In all seriousness I come down to a rather unsatisfactory conclusion regarding when we know we are being led by the Spirit (and in this I am assuming an earnest-seeking, experienced believer).  It is the fairly reliable test we find when an accomplished artist says--"I know a good work of art when I see/hear it"--an observation enhanced by mastery.  In many ways the pilgrim's journey lays the foundation and seasoning for hearing rightly the Holy Spirit.  

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