Needed: Spirit Led Leaders
ďHave you seen the television commercials where
some pro athlete is playing some sport and is all sweaty and hot and then
he lifts up a bottle of some particular drink and instantly all his
carbohydrates are restored, his electrolytes level off and he is ready for
more action. He is empowered by this mystical liquid concoction that is a
miracle drink with all the nutrients needed to make you into a super man
or woman of physical prowess. And it taste good too! Weíre expected to
believe that this drink has the power to quench a personís thirst, restore
their strength and give them power to go on.
ĒWouldnít we all love a thirst quencher that had the power to make
us into super men and women? Able to be empowered to do whatever
needed to be done--especially in the spiritual realm.
ĒWhat would you say if I told you there really is a thirst quencher
that can empower us in our walk for God?Ē (Neil Olcott, Spewing
Forth Living Water, via Sermoncentral.com.)
37 On the last
and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If
anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in
me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from
within him." 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in
him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given,
since Jesus had not yet been glorified. NIV
On one occasion of the last and greatest
day of the Feast of Tabernacles Jesus stood up and promised believers
living waters would flow from them. The Feast of Tabernacles was
celebrated as a memorial to how the Jews lived in the wilderness while God
sustained them. The feast was held in autumn, and it was also a time when
they celebrated the blessings of harvest.
On the seventh day of the feast there was
a solemn ceremony of the pouring of water. The Jewish people would
come to the temple with a lulab in their hands. A lulab is a bunch of
branches consisting of three myrtle branches, each representing Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob. It also consisted of two willow branches which
represented Moses and Aaron. I was reading from modern Judaism where it is
said the entire lulab represented Joseph. You may recall Joseph was the
one man who saved all of Godís people during the seven years of famine in
Egypt. He was the savior of Abrahamís descendants as he went to Egypt
rising to a position of power. He saved his family when the seven years of
They came to the temple in procession
surrounding the altar of burnt offerings waving the lulab branches in
their hands singing Psalms 118:
25 O LORD, save
O LORD, grant us
26 Blessed is he
who comes in the name of the LORD.
From the house
of the LORD we bless you.
27 The LORD is
and he has made
his light shine upon us.
With boughs in
hand, join in the festal procession
up to the horns
of the altar. NIV
While they were singing the priests filled
a golden picture with water as they repeated the words of Isaiah 12:3:
ďWith joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.Ē The
pouring out of the water was a symbol of the pouring out of the Holy
Spirit upon his people. This naturally drew their attention to the
Messianic age when God would pour out his blessings upon all the earth.
For I will pour
water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out
my Spirit on
and my blessing on your descendants.
Just as Moses split the rock causing water
to flow from it, so the Messiah would cause water to flow from the house
of the Lord. Joel writes, ď. . . a fountain shall come forth out of the
house of the LordĒ (Joel 3:8).
As this ceremony was taking place Jesus
stood up and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to
me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said,
streams of living water will flow from within him." By this he meant the
Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that
time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been
glorifiedĒ (John 7:37-39 NIV).
Moses provides water to sustain life in
the wilderness. Christ provides living water that wells up inside
us and streams forth from us in channels of living water. Jesus spoke to
the Samaritan woman at Jacobís well saying, "Everyone who drinks this
water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give him
will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a
spring of water welling up to eternal life" (John 4:13-14 NIV).
Leaders must Become Channels of Living Water
If you wish to lead Godís people you must
desire living water before you can become a channel of living water for
others. Leaders without the influence of the Holy Spirit become
blind guides who lead others to stumble. The only way we can
become a channel through which life giving water flows is through the
presence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the only one who can make
you a channel of living water to bless others.
Some want the discussion of the Holy
Spirit to revolve around the mechanics how he works in our lives today.
Let me just say that his work is supernatural. The growth of a seed is
supernatural. I canít explain how it grows. It just grows by Godís power.
Sometimes it a single seed can split a brick wall. It can grow up through
a crack in concrete as it destroys a patio. I canít tell you how seed
grows, but I do know the ground needs to be cultivated, planted and
watered, but we depend upon God to make it grow.
God doesnít explain how a lot of things
work. He doesnít tell us the intricate details of his plan. He
just asks us to following him by faith. You donít have to know how the
Spirit works, you are asked to believe in order to receive. In the same
way the Holy Spirit grows within the Christian. I canít explain it in
intricate detail, but I can tell you the things you must do to allow him
to grow within your heart.
The Holy Spirit speaks to us through the
Scriptures, but it is not the only way he is working in our lives.
There is no way to follow God without a study of the Scripture. If you
want the Holy Spirit to speak to you open your Bible and read the Spiritís
message. The Bible is the Spiritís message given to us from the mind of
God (2 Corinthians 2:1ff)
16 All scripture
is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for
reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man
of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. KJV
The Spirit desires to give us correct
doctrine. He desires to reprove and rebuked what is wrong with our
world and us. He desires to correct what is wrong as he instructs us in
the right way. When the Word begins its rebuke, it is easy to close our
Bibles. We may do it because of guilt, fear, or out of frustration because
we donít know how to go beyond the intellectual levelówe donít know how to
make application because we lack wisdom. In doing so we put out the
Spiritís fireóquench the fire.
19 Do not put
out the Spirit's fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test
everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil. NIV
19 Quench not
the Spirit. KJV
Godís Spirit comes into our lives to
rebuke us, but he doesnít come to find fault. He comes to give us wisdom
so we can know how to live righteous lives.
The Spirit not only speaks us through the
word of God. He actively works in our hearts and minds to direct our lives
5 If any of you
lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without
finding fault, and it will be given to him. NIV
The Spirit searches our minds and hearts
as he intercedes to God for us so that Godís purposes will be wrought in
22 We know that
the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right
up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the
firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our
adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we
were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he
already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it
26 In the same
way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to
pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words
cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the
Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with
28 And we know
that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have
been called according to his purpose. NIV
Going beyond the intellectual requires
depending upon the Spirit to give you spiritual discernment and wisdom.
The Holy Spirit gives us wisdom as he searches our hearts and intercedes
to God for him to work his will in our lives. During frustrating times we
must rely upon the Holy Spiritís help. He searches our mind, and heart and
communicates the message to God. He works with God to accomplish Godís
will in our lives as God seeks to work all things out for good.
Without the ongoing active work of Christ
and his Spirit in our lives we are going to do absolutely nothing.
5 "I am the
vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will
bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. NIV
Prerequisites for Spirit Led Leaders
If I want to be a leader I must first
hunger and thirst for the Holy Spiritís guidance. Jesus says,
ďBlessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will
be filledĒ (Matthew 5:6 NIV). Do you know what happens when we hunger and
thirst for Godís righteousnessówe are filled with the reality of Godís
Holy Spirit. Those who are filled, naturally become channels of blessing
Have you noticed how hungry and thirsty we
are today? We seem to be looking for something greater, something
newer, something more pleasurable, something more tasteful, or something
more inspirational, something more substantial. We are like the Athenians
on Mars Hill who were looking for a new philosophy of life. Isnít it
strange how we allow the superficial desires blind us to what is realóto
our deepest need?
hunger is real, but we are blinded to what we need to fill it because we
listen to the flesh. The flesh blinds us to the Spiritís presence as it
misdirects our lives away from the call of the Spirit.
The flesh seeks to lead us to adapt therapeutic approach as
it leads men to Circuit City, and women to the shopping mall for a
We return with our pockets
and heart emptied.
There is only one way the Holy Spirit can
become our guide---we must want him as our guide. We are
always as full of Godís Spirit as we want to be, for God gives his Holy
Spirit to those who ask. Our desire to receive the Holy Spirit must go
beyond baptism. We receive the Holy Spirit at baptism (Acts 2:38), but
thatís not enough. We are admonished to be filled with Godís Spirit. We
must desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We must ask God to give us
his Holy Spirit.
9 "So I say to
you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and
the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who
seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
11 "Which of you
fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or
if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though
you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more
will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" NIV
A man named Jones had a dream that he died
and upon entering heaven Peter took him on a heavenly tour. As he
traveled through heaven he realized it was more beautiful than anything he
could have ever imagined. However, there was a strange magnificent white
marble building sitting in the midst of the heavenly Jerusalem. It didnít
have any windows; the building only had a beautiful porch with large
columns with a single door to enter. He inquired of Peter about the nature
of the building. Peter simply told him, ďYou donít want to know what that
building is all about.Ē His curiosity got best of him, so he kept
inquiring of Peter. Peter continued to give him the same answer. The manís
curiosity finally overwhelmed him to the point he insisted on seeing the
building. Peter finally agreed.
They went up and opened the door of the
building. It was one huge room over a mile long. The only things in the
room were shelves filled with over tenís of millions little white boxes.
The man begins to inquire about what was in the boxes. Again Peter said,
ďYou really donít want to know what is in those boxes.Ē The manís
curiosity rose even more the moment he realized that a name was on each
box. He inquired of Peter about the boxes with names on them. Peter gave
him the same answer, ďYou really donít want to know what is in those
He finally inquired of Peter if there was a box
with his name on it. Peter assured him there was a box in the room with
his name on it. The man couldnít stand it any longer, so he pressured
Peter to allow him to look in his box. Peter agreed.
He went through the rows of shelves until he
came to the ďJĒ section. He finally found the boxes with ďJonesĒ on them.
He finally found the right ďJonesĒ with his name on the box. He brought
the box out and opened it. But he didnít understand what he saw in the
box. It was full of things he felt he deeply needed while he was alive. He
inquired of Peter about all the things he saw in the box. Peter simply
said, ďAll those wonderful things you see inside that box, are all the
blessings God intended to give you, but you never asked for any of them.Ē
The Holy Spirit is a gentleman, and he
wonít come in where he is not wanted. There is no doubt that we
want to be filled today. We want to be filled with self-confidence,
self-love, and some want to be filled with self-righteousness. Many want
their lives to be filled with winning as we compete against others. The
Christians at Corinth learned competition signaled the influence of a
carnal mind. Most of what this world is peddling to fill our lives leaves
us emptier than we have ever been. Paul says, ďBut the widow who lives for
pleasure is dead even while she livesĒ (1 Timothy 5:6-7 NIV)
Our bodies are Godís vessels designed to
be poured full of the Holy Spirit. Paul admonishes us to present
our bodies a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1-2). Our bodies were
designed to be Godís vessel. He canít pour his Holy Spirit into our
vessels if they are not empty.
Nothing hides Godís possible blessings
from our lives worse than disobedience. Disobedience is one major
reason we donít ask. The Holy Spirit want come into our lives tolerating
disobedience. He has given us the inspired Word, and he wonít come into
our lives if we refuse to live by the Word he has given us. As long as we
refuse to live up to his word, we will never be able to see the blessings
God desires to give.
3 It is God's
will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual
immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control his own body in a
way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the heathen,
who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong his
brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such
sins, as we have already told you and warned you. 7 For God did not call
us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, he who rejects this
instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.
Nothing hides Godís possible blessings
from our lives worse than disobedience. Disobedience is one major
reason we donít ask. As long as we refuse to live up to his word, we will
never be able to see the blessings God desires to give.
God wants each of us to experience the full
measure of his Spirit, but it is up to us.
You can choose to receive the gift of the Holy
Spirit through baptism (Acts 2:38). Then you must decide to allow him to
fill your heart with his presence.
The only prerequisite is that you hunger to be
filled with his presence to lead you. Come to God obeying the Spiritís
message. Live for him as you study his message and pray for the Spirit to
give you wisdom to live out the message.
We are assured of the Holy Spiritís
presence in our lives when the Holy Spirit is able to produce the fruits
of the Spirit in our hearts.
22 But the fruit
of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is
no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful
nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let
us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking
and envying each other. NIV