In Romans 8 vs 14 we read that those who are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God (NIV). I think that probably most of us would want to ‘do’ better at being led by the Spirit. Learning to walk in the Spirit is one of those mystical and personal things, but I would like to share with you how ‘thanksgiving’ has played a huge part in that journey for me.
If we look at the time when Jesus was being led by the Spirit into the wilderness, we find that different words are used in the different gospels to convey what it was that the Spirit did and what Jesus experienced.
In Matthew chapter 4 vs 1 we read that Jesus was “led” or “guided” even “drawn” by the spirit. In Mark’s gospel, a different Greek word is used, and is translated variously in different versions, that Jesus was “driven”, “compelled”, “forced” or “impelled” by the Spirit into the wilderness. These are all words we can recognise for ourselves in our own walk with the Holy Spirit.
Now if we can imagine a fast flowing stream with a small log on it. As the log floats along it sometimes meets obstacles along the way, rocks or debris or other twigs etc. To move past the obstacle the log depends on the flow of water.
The water sometimes becomes forceful and drives or compels the log to move around the obstacle. Sometimes it looks as if the stream is gently leading or drawing the log, almost pulling it around the obstacle. While at other times the level of the water rises and simply lifts and carries the log over the obstacles. The main thing is that the log stays afloat, stays buoyant.
If you can imagine that the stream is the flowing Holy Spirit and that you are the log, we can see that the flow of the Holy Spirit in our lives and our moving with Him through the various challenges and joys of everyday life depend on us staying buoyant. We know that ‘obstacles’ come our way as we go through a day. Difficult situations arise or decisions have to be made and we are not sure what we should be doing or what the Lord would like us to do.
We can stay buoyant in those moments if we can turn our hearts to the Holy Spirit in thanksgiving. Thank Him that He is with and indeed within us, that we know He loves to guide us, that He will lead us and carry us through any difficulties. Thank Him that He will, if necessary, nudge or even thrust us into the right path, and that He will give us wisdom or insight where we need it.
The truth is that He is our wonderful Helper and He delights to do just that. Our thanksgiving keeps us in a buoyant place and enables Him to lead, guide or carry us through any and every circumstance in which we find ourselves. Thanksgiving takes our eyes off of the ‘obstacle’ in front of us and our own ability to ‘do well’ and tunes us in to the promptings of the Holy Spirit however they might come.
It’s part of relaxing and trusting Him, our precious counselor and friend. The one who Jesus said He was going to send as our ‘on board’ helper.