Following the Holy Spirit’s lead is often a tricky thing. We might want to say that the trickiness of it is because He doesn’t exactly “speak” like He did in Acts 13:1-3. “If He would” we surmise “it would be a whole lot easier.”
But, I would submit to you today that the real reason it is “tricky” to follow the Holy Spirit at times has more to do with us than it has to do with Him. What we are very good at is muddying the waters ourselves which lays the “trickiness of following Him at out feet”. We are the ones that make it difficult, here are 5 reasons why we struggle following Him at times.
1. He doesn’t always work within our systems…
“Our” – organizational, theological and belief systems. We often try to determine what is of God through man made lenses rather than the word of God and the movement of His Spirit. It is tough sometimes to know the difference between a man made system and one the Bible actually teaches. We fear going against the frame work of how we have been taught the Holy Spirit works. Part of this is a good thing, it comes from a desire not to err doctrinally. But when doctrine prevents us from following the Holy Spirit (though we may not realize it because we feel comfort in the system we have) we wind up in the place we were fearful of – doctrinal error. If that happens – the truth is – we have been living in doctrinal error for quite sometime and the situation we are faced with at that moment is God’s way of helping us correct that.
2. It’s hard.
Sometimes we have done a tone of work, we want something to go a certain way and we have set a plan in motion and are following it then the Holy Spirit moves and we ignore His voice because it would be too much work to retrace our steps and redo the work we have done and change it to His. We are good at coming up with reasons why our way, the one we have worked on, is the way we should do it. The problem is we are very unsettled in the depths of our souls about it. We repeat the reasons to some how bring peace to our souls but it never happens. Why? The Holy Spirit wants us to change what we are doing and will continue to prob us/ unsettle us to try to get us to listen to Him and follow His directions.
3. We like to talk, go slow and pray too much.
Sometimes people will talk and talk, discuss and discuss, and pray and pray, just filling the room with noise to give the facade they are trying to discern God’s will. Sometimes it is because people are fearful of taking the next step and talking, discussing and praying is a safe measure that gives them the feeling they are really doing something. (Politicians BTW do this all the time with the exception of course or praying). Sometimes people do this because they really like their plan but are unsettled about it (see #2 above). So they talk, discuss and pray hoping they will make it to a place where they feel good and safe before they make a decision.
I am not against prayer – it is very important. But when prayer is used a stalling agent it hinders the progress of what God wants to do.
4. When we are more concern with people’s approval than we are stepping out and doing what the Holy Spirit is leading us to do.
Going against the flow can be a daunting thing. So, we choose to go against the Spirit’s call which seems to be easier though its more damaging for us spiritually. What we are saying is, the price we would have to pay to step out is not worth obeying the Spirit’s call. So we convince ourselves we must have not “heard the Spirit correctly” to cope with that fact.
5. We really just want things to remain the same.
We go to church, we want church to be the same as it always has been or like the church down the street. If things even smell like they are changing our opinion is voiced. There is something uneasy about following the Holy Spirit sometimes. Not because of what we stated in #2 above, but because we often find our security in the way things have always been done rather than in God. The way things have always been done is very attractive because we understand how those things should function, if they were to be changed it would be unsettling and we just don’t want anything else in our lives to come unhinged. This is misplaced security. Our security should be in God and in Him alone.
That said, what are some reasons you think people choose not to follow the Holy Spirit? Please state them in the comments below…