I don’t claim to do this as much as I should and much of this may be more theory than practice for me but, the Bible does clearly articulate some practical ways to follow the Holy Spirit.
IN COMPLETE FAITH~
One of my favorites is a verse that my dad encouraged me to memorize a couple years ago, Prov.3:5-7- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.“
Trusting God and fearing God go hand-in-hand. We need a reverential fear, or awe of God to trust Him to be and do what He has promised, which is a lot! To do that fully we cannot trust in our own understanding or wisdom. That is not to say that we can’t use our own understanding or wisdom but, we take our ideas and cast them at the Lord’s feet in prayer and believe that He will guide us with the wisdom that we need. (James 1:5)
If we fully trust in God, He will fully direct our paths because it is God’s will for us to be filled with the full knowledge of His will! (Col.1:9) That’s why Solomon simply wrote to “acknowledge God in all our ways…” Depending on God for some things is good but, that won’t bring us into the fullness of His will for us.
Romans 14:23 carries this idea a little further: “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” Whatever we do that is not in faith of God, we are better off not doing because it is sin. I’m preaching to myself here, because I have been wrestling with this for a while and still am. May the Lord be gracious and patient with us!
IN PERFECT LOVE~
1 Cor.13 describes how to operate in your spiritual gift(s) but, it also describes how to do everything else too. “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.8Love never ends.”
Notice that the emphasis is not just on what we do but the attitude that we do it in. I have heard that “Love is a verb” and I totally get the point but, true agape/love is more than an action. It is the intent of the heart, the attitude and the motivation behind the action. Paul made that very clear in the first 8 verses of 1 Cor.13.
HOLY SPIRIT FRUIT~
Jesus told His faithful 11 disciples: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” He was talking about more than physical “fruit” like; buildings, programs, numbered converts, orphans feed and dollars raised. Those things are all good but, Jesus was talking about “Fruit of the Spirit” as described in Gal.5:22,23~
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Jesus said that “you will know a tree by it’s fruit, whether it be good or bad.”
Simply put, if whatever we are doing is in these attitudes; we are probably following the Spirit. If not, we are probably following our own fleshly desires.
One more interesting thing about fruits of the Spirit is that grace is not mentioned. Because grace is not a fruit of the Spirit but it is the power of the Spirit to bear fruit!