by Pastor Tim Burt
I woke up early one day last week and wished I could have gone back to sleep. I was feeling really tired. We had just finished a week-long conference that had meetings morning and night. When I went to bed I was over-tired and it made me feel restless. When I woke up that next morning, I laid there for a minute and thought about where my day needed to go. I thought about my first meeting of the day.
I could easily postpone that one hour and get an extra hour of sleep. I quickly rebuked that thought. I knew there was much I needed to accomplish and God was comforting me reminding me that His grace would strengthen me through the day as He had time and time again!
Think about what our lives would be like if we did only what we felt like doing. Many people do. Before I had accepted received Jesus as my Lord, I leaned that direction. My life was focused on pleasing me. That doesn't mean I was mean or didn't do nice things for people. I often did, but my life was mostly focused on me. If I woke up tired, I plotted to call in sick or make up some lie or excuse as to why I couldn't come in. Lying and manipulating to get my desired outcome didn't seem evil. It was the way of the world. It seemed to me like everyone did that. That was my excuse. Everyone else did it why couldn't I? That was a season of life where I let my feelings or selfish desires guide most of my steps.
God created us as a three part being made up of our spirit, our soul (our mind and emotions) and our body. We see that in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NKJV) "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely...your whole spirit, soul, and body..." There are times where you mind and emotions what to lead, times where your fleshly desires (your body) selfishly want to lead, and then there is your spirit who should be always in the lead.
In coming to the Lord my heart and perspective changed. I learned that people can follow one of three leading desires within them. First, people can make the decision to follow the leading of what their flesh wants. Many do and the results are obvious—lives that are out of control from the extreme of obesity or chemical or sexual abuse, to the negative habits people have that they deep down despise because they know they are wrong.
Secondly, people can follow their intellect and emotions. The problem with that is our knowledge and understanding is limited to what we know. Honest people will admit that in the big picture of life, their intellect is grossly limited and overrated. I don't mean many aren't intellectually intelligent. But talk to someone who is berated by their boss, or who has lost a child to a drunk driver, or has been stricken by cancer, and they will tell you their intelligence didn't resolve their issues. Our understanding is limited and also has great ability to deceive us into thinking we can figure everything out and solve every problem.
The problem with our emotions and feelings leading us is that they are far too unstable to depend on. They can be easily triggered and spin out of control from being tired or weary, offended, or from being discouraged. You can't trust them when anger or hate or rage, is part of the mix. Our emotions can lead us astray when we are confused or afraid from rejection or fear. Letting our emotions lead us through life will always eventually lead us astray.
Thirdly, we can follow after and be led by the Holy Spirit. Our spirit led by the Holy Spirit is whom God wants us to follow. If we have given our life to Jesus, then the Holy Spirit lives within us. John 14:26 NKJV says, "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you." The Holy Spirit will lead you your spirit in the Father's will just as He led Jesus on the earth.
In Luke 5:4-5, Peter had just finished fishing all night and without success. He was tired and exhausted and had just finished cleaning his nets. Suddenly Jesus tells him to go out into the deep and launch his nets. Peter's tired flesh, his intellect, and his emotions were screaming but he kept them under control before Jesus. He just said in as nice a way as he could muster, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets." If Peter had gone by his intellect or his emotions, well you could figure out what his response would have been. Instead he yielded to the Lord. Upon obeying Jesus, there were so many fish that Peter and his men could hardly pull them in—their nets were breaking, and they needed more help.
Our intellect and our emotions are a gift from God when we use them in cooperation with the leading of God's Spirit. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, "We live by faith, not by sight." This means that we don't let our intellect lead our steps. Our intellect thrives on what it sees. We don't let our emotions lead our daily path as they are too often on a roller-coaster. They have great potential to lead us astray. We’ll use both of them daily but we position ourselves in our heart to listen to our spirit as it is led by God’s Holy Spirit. He’ll speak to us through the Word of God as we read His Word, or through other sources that teach His Word, or through His Holy Spirit bringing the Word and direction to our remembrance. If you would remember that what you need to know, God already has the answer to, you'd be more motivated to ask God to lead you in everything in your life. He desires to lead us and wants to help us succeed and be blessed. If we learn to lean on Him, ask, and listen, He will lead us and tell us where and how to cast our nets!
Romans 8:14 "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God."
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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