Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Following the Spirit's Lead

“Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.’ (Acts 8:26-29 NIV)

As I sat down next to the man, I felt a strong sense I needed to meet him. I have sat down next to a lot of strangers before, but rarely have felt the direction to meet them.  I waited for the traditional “meet and greet” time that is common in most churches (and one of the most uncomfortable minutes of any Sunday morning, but that will have to be addressed at another time), but it never came.  So as the service ended, I made sure to make eye contact with the gentleman to my left.  We greeted one another and I learned he was a professor and had three students involved in our ministry in his classes.  We talked for a short while and seemed to connect at a bit deeper level than one does in those circumstances. There are a number of possible reasons why the Lord wanted us to meet, and it will become clearer in the future, but there is no doubt He did want us to meet.  

There are times in our lives as followers of Jesus that the Lord will direct us in very specific ways involving other people.  In my life I have been directed to talk with certain people, give money to certain people, pray for certain people, and give books to certain people.  And none of these were close friends and many were complete strangers.  In some cases, the results, as they did for Philip, explained why God made such a request, but in others the reasons remain a mystery.  

It really doesn’t matter if the leading makes much sense.  What matters is that we are obedient to it.  I am sure Philip thought it rather odd that the Lord wanted him to go somewhere without a specific reason, and then, on his way, to be told to stand by the chariot of a royal official.  Of course, the Lord knew what He was doing and the result was an important official becoming a follower of Jesus and taking the Gospel to a new continent.  

Today, be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading and ready to obey.  You never know what He might have in mind, but you can trust it is something significant.   

© Jim Musser 2013

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