John 8:12 ESV
“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”
Galatians 5:16 ESV
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
Jesus Christ is God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So, he is indeed the light (truth, righteousness, salvation) of the world. He died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (1 Pet 2:24; Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).
If we follow Jesus in obedience to his commands (New Covenant), we will not walk (conduct our lives, in practice) in darkness (sin, wickedness), but we will have the light (truth, salvation) of life. You say you don’t want to sin? Follow Jesus in obedience to his teachings on how we are to live.
Jesus, after his death and resurrection, ascended back to the Father in heaven. Then he sent his Holy Spirit to indwell his followers. The Spirit of God is God living within us who follow Jesus; he is Jesus living within us. We have the Spirit of God dwelling within us and we have the mind of Christ.
Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to live within us to be our counselor, comforter, encourager, strength, guide, wisdom, and teacher. He teaches us all things and reminds us of what Jesus taught when he lived on the earth.
Yes, he does this through the written word, which is spiritually discerned, but he is not limited to just the written word of God. For God himself spoke to humankind through his created works so that we are without excuse (Rom 1:18-32). It just needs to agree with God’s word.
So, walking by the Spirit is the same as following Jesus in surrender to his will for our lives, and he speaks to us individually, calling us to particular ministries, giving us assignments in his body, gifting us with spiritual gifts, and leading us each day where we should go and to what we should say.
And then he speaks to us collectively giving us instructions through his written word in godly living, holiness, righteousness, purity, honesty, uprightness, obedience, repentance, and submission to his Lordship.
John 8:13-16 ESV
“So the Pharisees said to him, ‘You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.’ Jesus answered, ‘Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me.’”
The Pharisees were judging Jesus, not according to God’s Spirit, but according to the flesh of man, according to their opinions. And they made many false judgments about him, too, for they were relying on their own thinking and reasoning or on the traditions of man to make their judgments.
And we have many people today who will do the same to us, who will make judgments about us or about certain beliefs we have based on human opinion, culture, traditions, and church denominations and their theologies.
One of these is this idea that certain spiritual gifts have ceased to exist, and going along with that is the notion that we cannot hear the Spirit speaking to us in our minds, that we can only hear God speak through the written word of God and only as strictly applied in Scripture, so we can’t get a personal application out of Scripture.
We can’t read the story of David and Goliath, for example, and get from that encouragement of how we need to be strong in battle against our enemies, and how we need to rely on the Lord for our strength, wisdom and guidance in what to do and what to say to our enemies. It can only be a Bible story.
We can’t learn, either, from the stories of Daniel in the lions’ den or Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace that we are to stand strong against all opposition and not fear man or what they may do to us, or that we must stand strong in our faith, for they are just Bible stories.
But is that true? No! “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Tim 3:16-17 ESV
But Scripture is spiritually discerned, so the Holy Spirit must give us the discernment to know how to apply these Scriptures to our lives that may not have originally been intended for us specifically but from which we can learn. So, we have to be able to hear (not audibly) the Spirit’s voice speaking the personal application to our lives so that, by the Spirit, we can apply the word.
John 8:28-30 ESV
“So Jesus said to them, ‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.’ As he was saying these things, many believed in him.”
Jesus spoke as the Father taught him. And he sent us the Holy Spirit to be our teacher and counselor. And we are to walk according to the Spirit and to be led by the Spirit, so we have to be able to hear from the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to us as he determines, not as man determines, and these are supernatural, not of our flesh. He may give us the gift of prophecy or discerning of spirits or wisdom or knowledge about things we would not know about in the natural.
And God gives us assignments within the body of Christ as he determines, not as man determines, and these are spiritual assignments, not of the flesh of man. And so, he has to call us to these assignments individually, and he does that through his Spirit, which is also how he lets us know what gifts we have of the Spirit, too.
If preachers are preaching sermons not led and directed of the Spirit of God, with God the Spirit leading them in what to say and then speaking through them, then they are operating in the flesh, not in the Spirit.
Yes, they can intellectually study the Scriptures and teach them intellectually, and we can learn from them, but they will be lacking in the power of God’s Spirit, and they won’t be led of the Spirit, and thus they are not of the Spirit but of the flesh.
We need a fresh word from God every day. We need to hear God speak to our hearts in these trying times in which we live to give comfort, instruction, direction, wisdom, and discernment to know what is true and what is false. We need the Spirit to give us understanding and to give us the right words to say. So, we need to have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches in our world today.
But there are people telling us we can’t hear God’s Spirit, and they will oppose us, and they will try to convince us that God can’t speak to us through his Spirit or that the Spirit will not give us certain gifts. But what they are saying is not biblical. So, don’t let them discourage you from listening to God’s voice and from following the lead of the Holy Spirit.
All Through the Night
An Original Work / December 7, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures
Blessed are you when you’re persecuted
Because of your faith in Jesus Christ.
Blessed are you when people insult you,
And falsely say what leads folks to doubt.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is
Great in the heavens. You’re not alone.
When you are persecuted in one place,
Flee to another. God will be there.
You will be hated by all the nations
Because you testify of God’s grace.
Many will seize you and persecute you,
And put to death the foll’wers of Christ.
Yet, do not fear what humans may do to you,
For I’m with you all through the night.
I tell you, love your enemies with my love,
And forgive as I forgave you.
Pray for those who do evil against you.
Rest in my love and grace from above.