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The Adventure of Spirit-led Living

My brother David lives on the edge. He likes action, he likes adventure and he can’t stand to sit around for too long before taking off again. He has traveled to over 150 countries, jumped out of an airplane, swam with sharks and I guarantee you he is currently contemplating which daring feat he can conquer next.

I am pretty much the complete opposite of my brother. I wouldn’t dream of jumping out of an airplane and I have already decided to never swim in the ocean so I don’t get attacked by a shark. I think I watched Jaws one too many times growing up because I can’t stop thinking about how my feet would be dangling below the surface of the water….accessible to shark teeth.

But I have discovered another kind of adventure that I want to share with you today. It’s the adventure of letting the Holy Spirit lead our lives and having the guts to follow Him! I have been living this adventure for a number of years now and I have to admit, I’m having the time of my life!

You see, for nearly 34 years, I pretty much followed one thing… my brain. If I couldn’t figure it out, I wouldn’t do it. If it didn’t seem reasonable, I didn’t do it. If it messed with my plan, I wouldn’t even consider it. To be honest, my life was organized, orderly and boring. But thankfully, God helped me change the faulty belief I held that said everything had to make sense to my brain for me to move forward.

God began to work with me and teach me that I didn’t have to live by what my brain dictated, but I could live by following the leading of the Holy Spirit instead. I didn’t have any idea what an adventure I was in for when I agreed with God to make the switch. I have less control over my life now than I have ever had; yet, I’m enjoying my life more than ever!

Spirit-led living has affected every area of my life in a positive way. My marriage, parenting, friendships, giving, writing, homeschooling, and on and on.

Jesus said this about The Holy Spirit’s role in our lives:

John 14:16 

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever. (AMP)

Do you know how good this verse is? It’s like amazingly good news! But I have to admit that I didn’t really get it for years. I would subconsciously think. ‘Thanks God, but I’ve got it all figured out. My mind has my life under control so… I’m actually good.” I wouldn’t say it out loud, but I was living it. I spent much more time overriding the Spirit of God than I actually spent listening to anything He had to say and more time doing my own thing than following His lead.

You should have heard my brain’s reaction when I announced that I would no longer continue letting it rule my life. My brain had a panic attack. It had been the boss for many, many years and it didn’t like having to give up that role. I informed my brain that it was now going to live subservient to my Spirit and oh how it tried to flood me with fearful thoughts of what would happen if I lived this way.

I actually had to learn how to walk again, by the Spirit, and this is still an ongoing process every single day. It’s one of the gems I have found on my journey of grace.

Spirit-led living won’t always make sense to our mind. Sometimes we will feel led to do something that our mind is telling us not to do or we can be led not to do something that our mind is screaming at us that we better do.

After working hard for days to make sure other responsibilities I had were finished first, I finally had the opportunity to sit down and write this blog post. Then about 15 minutes into my writing, the Holy Spirit had me stop, receive communion for myself and on behalf of a friend and text her a specific word of encouragement. I don’t even ask questions anymore.

It was not all that long ago that I would have thought, this doesn’t make sense. I need to write this blog post. Why should I stop and do that? Like I said….. I don’t even ask anymore. I know there is a plan in everything the Holy Spirit leads me to do and I don’t have to know what that plan is. That’s been huge for me, not having to know.

I have seen so many amazing things happen when I stop what I have planned and minister to a specific person or stop and give my daughters a hug or stop and tell my husband I love him.

I have stood in awe of what comes out of Spirit-led moments. Moments where maybe I am prompted to share a certain scripture with my girls and that leads us into a phenomenal conversation or moments like the one at Whole Foods a few weeks ago where I heard a lady say that she had pain in her knee and I knew I was suppose to ask her if she would tell me her first name so I could pray for her healing.

Listen, in this day and age, I better be hearing from the Spirit to ask a complete stranger their name, but I couldn’t shake it. I knew the Holy Spirit was leading me. I asked her and she was so visibly touched by me having overheard her and the fact that I even cared enough to stop and offer prayer.

I encouraged her that God cares about everything she is concerned about and also encouraged her to expect a miracle. I haven’t seen her again at Whole Foods but I don’t really need to because I did the part that God was leading me to do by His Spirit. I am not responsible for the outcome, only for following Him.

We can be tuned into the people around us and what is going on in their lives just like Jesus was. When we study the gospels, it’s the stops of Jesus that stand out to us, because He was always stopping for people, aware of those around Him and the condition of their heart. If they were hurting, He sensed it. If they were afraid, He felt it. If they felt like a failure, he saw it and purposely took extra time to show them compassion.

When my family and I leave our home, we go out of the house knowing we are Christ’s ambassadors. We talk a lot as a family about how we are representatives for Jesus. We know our mission is not to go out and beat people over the head with our Bible’s, but to bring love, light and encouragement into the dark places of their world. We go out of the house as sons and daughters of the most high God, with the intent of slipping in and out of people’s lives to get them thinking about Jesus.

You haven’t begun to see adventure until you start living with this purpose in mind. I mean, you really don’t know what God has planned for you from day to day and it gives you a sense of excitement. It is no longer about your plan, but His plan for you each day and from my own personal experience, time and time again, when I live out His plan for me by following The Spirit, He always helps me get everything that I need to get accomplished, completed by the time it needs to be done. Our productivity goes up, up, up, when we live Spirit-led lives!

I noticed a huge difference in my ability to be a witness to my own kids, my husband and people out in public once I started ministering led by the Spirit because The Holy Spirit knows exactly what each person needs and He opens the doors for us. We don’t have to kick them down or pressure people. Ministry is natural when it’s Spirit-led.

We can live Spirit-led lives. Obviously, since we are human, and our own mind, will and emotions get involved, we don’t always succeed; but by the grace of God we can continually learn how to defer to the Spirit more and more. Then, when we do end up getting out of step with the Spirit, we can simply make the choice to receive God’s grace once again to help us get right back in step with Him!

We are teaching our kids this as a way of life as well. It has been so much fun teaching them! We have discovered something; if we just try to control our kids by heaping up rules and regulations on them, it eventually backfires on us.

There are many things our kids ask us about that give us the opportunity to teach them how to be led by the Spirit. It is really cool to begin to encourage them to pray about various situations and come back and tell us what they are feeling in their hearts. It teaches them to begin to live Spirit-led lives for themselves and it gives them confidence that they can hear from God instead of us just spelling everything out for them.

The Spirit Leads Us Into All Truth

In John 16:12-14 

Jesus said:

12 I have much more to tell you, but now it would be too much for you to bear. 13 When, however, the Spirit comes, who reveals the truth about God, He will lead you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own authority, but He will speak of what He hears and will tell you of things to come. 14 He will give Me glory, because He will take what I say and tell it to you. (GNT)

One thing that I have learned on this journey is that I can’t hear what God wants me to do in life if I am running around like crazy all the time.

Just for clarification, when I say ‘hear Him,’ I am talking about a ‘knowing’ or a ‘certainty’ that I feel inside on which way to turn in each situation. I am not referring to hearing an audible voice. The Bible says be led by peace and that overwhelming sense of peace in our hearts or the lack of it helps us determine how to proceed in any given situation.

It is a good idea to wait for a period of time (maybe only a few seconds sometimes and maybe longer other times) to make sure we are actually being led by the Spirit and not our own soul (mind, will and emotions). I used to be terrible at this. I almost never waited, but would rush into something new, completely living life based on the dictates of my mind. But now I am learning to just wait a bit and listen. Here’s an example.

A few mornings ago I woke up and one of the first thoughts I had was, I think I should write a blog post this morning and then do my work. My emotions and my will came quickly to support my mind because I absolutely love to write and I love to help people. But, thank God I have learned to wait and consider that decision instead of just rushing forward as I had done previously for so many years of my life.

As I prayed and waited, it wasn’t even a minute and I knew that writing a blog post was not what I was suppose to do. I did not have peace about this. I needed to get some other things completed first.

Blog posts take me a decent amount of time to write because it is important to me to study the scriptures to support my post and to only release it when I feel it is really finished. So it is not something I just whip up in a few minutes.

Actually, let me say that I have no idea how I am doing this in the first place. I do not know what I am going to write (except for the idea and possibly a title) until I sit down and start typing. Then, every time I do, the Holy Spirit leads me in what to write. I won’t take the credit for it because each time I write, I just sit here and think, how in the world is all this coming together? The only answer is by God’s grace!

I didn’t even go to college. In the natural I am not that smart and certainly not a literary genius, yet we are seeing really good fruit from this blog. God is good and my husband and I are so thankful to God for this.

I am telling you this to encourage you that God wants to use you to help other people too. Put all your trust in God and He will lead you every step of the way by His Spirit into the destiny He has planned for you. He will also cause you to have the abilities that you need to fulfill your destiny!

These lyrics from Amy Grant’s song titled, ‘Hope Set High’ say it all.

“You know that when it all comes down
When it all comes down
If there’s anything good that happens in life
It’s from Jesus.”

I hope you are beginning to see what an incredible way this is to live because I have a strong desire to help people enter the rest of God and this is one of the keys to you being able to do this. As we learn to follow the Spirit’s lead, life just gets better and better.

In regards to your schedule and slowing down a bit, I simply encourage you to start by praying about this and if there are any changes you need to make, the Holy Spirit, your Helper, will give you answers. He has a way of showing us, even one easy change we can make sometimes, that makes a world of difference.

Because I have learned to do this, I do not normally over-schedule things anymore. But recently I did over-commit. I made several new commitments each week and we were definitely feeling the stress of it. I tried to hold out until one of the commitments ended, but it wasn’t working so I prayed about it and decided to drop one day of activities.

In this particular situation, I could do this without breaking my word to anyone. Otherwise, in order to walk in integrity, I would have needed to ask that person if I could be released from my commitment.

Walking in integrity is something my parents taught me well so I know I don’t have the freedom to just go around committing to things and then breaking my commitments all the time; although, there are extenuating circumstances sometimes that call for us to explain our dilemma to the people involved and ask them if they would release us from our commitment.

Things just calmed right down after we made this change and gave ourselves a little extra breathing room. As I look back on the situation now, I see that I over-committed in an effort to please my kids.

Wanting to do things that make our kids happy is a good thing, but following what God wants is more important. Besides, I’ve learned that if I stress myself and my family out by over-scheduling life, we are all going to end up unhappy anyway.

Now, there are periods of time in our lives when we do have busier seasons and when that happens, God’s grace is right there to help us through these times while being able to remain at rest. Rest is not necessarily a rest from work, but we can rest in work.

I think we all agree though, that life can get crazy out-of-control if we are just doing everything we want, think or feel we need to do without consulting our Helper. I do not believe the Holy Spirit would ever lead us into something bad and stress is bad so following His lead is the only way to live!

The Spirit Functions As A Fruit-Producer In Our Lives

When the Spirit indwells us, He begins the work of harvesting His fruit in our lives – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (see Galatians 5:22-23) These are not works of our flesh, which is incapable of producing such fruit, but they are products of the Spirit’s presence within.

John 14:26

But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you. (AMP)

See, according to this scripture, the Holy Spirit is right there in us teaching us all things, but if we allow ourselves to get agitated, disturbed, fearful, intimidated, cowardly and unsettled as John 14:27 says, then we won’t receive the grace or direction from the Holy Spirit that is being offered in John 14:26.

He (the Spirit of grace) never stops supplying, so we need to believe this promise in John 14:26, stay in rest and never stop receiving!

I hope you will join me by making the announcement to your brain that it is no longer running the show because we have a far superior solution. We have a gift that Jesus asked the Father to send us. The wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit!

If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!

Sandra McCollom

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