Hindrances to being
Led By The Spirit
Jesus said that ONLY those who worship Him in Spirit
are acceptable to Him.
Paul wrote about the necessity of being led by the Spirit. Are you so led?
Here are some tips to help you and explain more about this wonder.
Never forget what Jesus said:
The hour... now is,
when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for
the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who
worship Him MUST worship in spirit and truth (Jn
As I mentioned in Newsletter 21, it’s not
optional, it is essential to be led by God’s Spirit and for your
worship to be Spirit-led:
For to be carnally minded is death, but to be
spiritually minded is life and peace (Rom 8:6).
For those who live according to the flesh set
their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the
Spirit, the things of the Spirit (Rom 8:5).
But you are not in the flesh but in the
Spirit if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not
have the Spirit of Christ he is not His (Rom 8:9).
Are you His? Do you have evidence to show it?
That evidence is not just belief. There are
many Christians who believe in Christ, who believe they have His Spirit, and
who think that they are going to heaven when they die. But, a number of them
are deceived. They have deceived them- selves that, because they are ‘pretty
good’ people and have lived ‘pretty good’ lives, that they are worthy of
such a future.
I wouldn’t be so sure! Remember what Jesus
said of those with such a mentality in Luke 18?
He spoke this parable to some who trusted in
themselves, that they were righteous... (Luke 18:9).
Jesus then went on to point out by that
parable that your good impression of yourself can be an illusion. So, how
can you be sure that you will receive salvation? This is the test:
The Spirit itself is testifying together with
our spirit that we are children of God... If so be that we are suffering
together (Rom 8:16,17, Concordant Literal New Testament).
It’s by the Spirit!
The assurance is something that comes to your
spirit from the Spirit of grace, and it comes when you share in the
sufferings of Christ. It’s not when you feel good about yourself. It’s not
when you are comfortable in your little lifestyle, or when you’ve got what
you want, or when you prophesy a lot or heal the sick or do a lot of ‘works
It’s a matter of faith, not of
feelings or works. And that faith comes via the Spirit. In fact, the
feelings can be a delusion. There are many people who feel good about
themselves, but who are not yet headed for the Kingdom of
God. Why? Because they have not
taken the first step to being willing to bear the sufferings of Christ in
order to become like Him.
That’s the key – being willing to suffer with
Him (Phil 1:29; 1 Pet 4:13). And it’s not just any suffering, or suffering
for sin’s sake. It’s suffering in the course of overcoming sin, or making a
willing sacrifice (Rom 12:1) so that your nature can be changed from man’s
corrupted sinful nature (what it has become under Satan’s influence in this
evil world) to the wonderful pure nature of God.
The Effort Needed Against Sin
Helena was given a dream recently about this
very transition and what it takes to make it:
15th May 2003. She saw a young woman and
the struggle she had. She was attacked by her father who wanted to rape
her. In order to prevail, she had to exert terrific effort and resolve
to remain pure and undefiled. She withstood him, but only with all her
The father in this dream represents the evil influences of unconverted
family and the world around us, into which we have been born. The young
woman depicts the Church or those whom God has called to become His
After this scene, the dream also
conveyed some numbers which are highly symbolic. Helena saw an item for
sale for £13, reduced to £7.
This portrays, numerically, our transition from the evil in Satan’s
system (represented by 13), and how God can use it for His purposes, so
that we want the good and perfect will of God (7) in the end.
In overcoming sin, it requires every ‘ounce’
of effort on our part. Not that we overcome by our efforts! It’s not that,
But our willingness, or yearning, or desire –
which is shown by the effort we put out against sin – is the magnet which
draws God into the situation to help us.
Most sins are committed because people either
want to sin, or willingly comply with it. They don’t resist
it, because they are not bothered about the issue. Unconverted people don’t
care. To them sin is a joke or something of no consequence. But to God, it’s
no joke! It’s the most serious issue there is! It’s the difference between
life and death – for eternity, for you!!
If you want sin, He can’t accept you to be
with Him for the rest of ‘time’.
Incredibly, there are Christians who just
don’t care! They think that they are going to inherit eternal life while
they carry on doing what comes naturally, and just letting themselves lapse
into sin, or giving in to temptation, out of habit, carelessness, or sheer
laziness! They are utterly deluded! God will not give you eternal life while
you don’t have His mind towards sin.
If you think that you will get into the
Kingdom of God without making every effort
you can to muster your will against sinning, you are deceived!
But when you perceive sin as despicable – as
God perceives it – then you can be more assured that His Spirit will find a
home in you, and He will help you in your struggles against it.
You have not yet resisted to bloodshed,
striving against sin (Heb 12:4).
When Jesus agonised in the garden before His
ordeal of crucifixion, He sweated drops of blood (Luke 22:44). This is a
known medical fact that can occur in times of extreme stress, so it’s not
fictitious or exaggeration.
Do you know what was His greatest agony? It
wasn’t just the premonition of the horrific torture he would have to endure
to pay the price of our sins. It was the thought that if He made one
slip-up, harboured one evil thought against those who
were going to brutalise Him, that such a sin would cause us to forfeit what
He was about to purchase for us! He could not afford to fail! His love was
so great for you and me, but so too was His awareness of the inexorable
price of sin!
That could not be waived! If He sinned, just
once, He would have lost the ability to redeem us – to buy us back from
Jesus resisted ‘unto blood’ against sin. What
about you? What’s your view of sin? That it really doesn’t matter much? That
you can drift along and take things easy, spiritually-speaking?
Success in Overcoming
The ‘formula’ for success in overcoming is to
put out all your effort against it – even to the degree that you are willing
to die, to shed blood – in order to resist it. Then, God gives you the help
via His Spirit to do the rest which you cannot do. What you are unable to do
(because sin is a spiritual issue and you need His spiritual help to resist
it and overcome evil spiritual desires), He will do for you. He knows what
you need. He’s just waiting to see whether you really want His righteousness
Too many don’t. They only care for things of
the flesh, so that’s what He lets them have – until they are sick of it all!
When they have had their belly full of sin –
the allure of the £13 garment – then He can turn things around for them and
make it easier for them by ‘reducing the price’ to £7. God has paid what we
could not. He makes His perfection available to us through His Spirit when
He sees our willingness and love for what He holds dear.
There is nothing more endearing to Him than
your attitude of yearning for spiritual purity. SPIRITUAL DESPERATION is
what it takes! Then God pulls you through.
You want His Spirit? You want to be led by
Him? You want His power in overcoming?
You can have it! But you’ve got to be
desperate! You’ve got to want what He wants, not what you
Merlin Carothers relates the story of his own
conversion, and of how God required something of Merlin’s grandfather in his
Grandmother was a sweet old lady, and I
thought a great deal of grandfather, but going to visit them was still
an ordeal I avoided whenever possible. They made me nervous. Grandmother
always found an opportunity to talk about God.
‘I’m doing fine,’ I’d say. ‘Don’t worry
But she would insist: ‘You need to give
your life to Christ, Merlin.’
It bugged me more than I wanted to
admit. I hated to hurt Grandfather’s feelings, but I didn’t have time
for any of that religious stuff. I’d just begun to live!
One Sunday evening shortly after I’d
come back from Germany, I went to see Grandmother and Grandfather. I
quickly realised I’d made a mistake. They were getting ready to go to
‘Come with us, Merlin,’ Grandmother
said. ‘We haven’t seen you for so long; we’d love to have you come.’
I squirmed in my chair. How could I
tactfully get out of this one?
‘I’d like to,’ I said finally. ‘But some
friends have already asked if they could come pick me up.’
Grandmother looked disappointed, and as
soon as I could get to the phone I began calling everyone I knew. To my
dismay I couldn’t find anyone who was free to come pick me up.
It was getting close to church time, and
I couldn’t say to my grandparents: ‘I just don’t want to go.’
At the zero hour I had no choice. Off we
The church service was held in a barn,
but everyone there seemed to be happy. Poor people, I thought, they
don’t know anything about real life out there in the world, or they
wouldn’t waste an evening in a barn.
The singing began and I picked up a hymn
book to follow the words. I at least had to look as if I was with it.
Suddenly I heard a deep voice speak
directly in my ear.
‘What – what did you say?’ I whirled
around to find no one behind me.
There was the voice again: ‘Tonight you
must make a decision for Me. If you don’t, it will be too late.’
I shook my head and said automatically,
‘It just will be!’
Was I losing my marbles? But the voice
was real. It was God, and He knew me! In a flash I suddenly saw it. Why
hadn’t I seen it before. God was real; He was the answer. In Him was
everything I’d ever searched for.
‘Yes, God,’ I heard myself mutter. ‘I’ll
do it; whatever You want.’
The service went on, but I was in
another world. This was crazy, but I knew God!
Grandfather was in deep thought beside
me. I didn’t know it then, but he told me later. He was carrying on his
own battle with God. For years he’d been smoking and chewing tobacco.
Forty years of addiction to the weed had him hooked pretty good. Many a
time he’d tried to quit, but had been seized with violent headaches and
soon was back to chewing and smoking heavier than before.
Now he was sitting next to me in the
meeting making his own commitment. ‘God, if you’ll change Merlin, I’ll
give up my chewing and smoking even if it kills me.’
No wonder Grandfather nearly collapsed
when I went forward at the end of the meeting to make public the
decision I’d made during the singing.
Years later I was by his bedside when
his time came to die. He looked up at me and smiled, ‘Merlin,’ he said,
‘I kept my promise to God.’
That Sunday night I couldn’t wait to get
home and read the Bible. I wanted to know God, and I read hungrily page
after page. I had a wonderful feeling of excitement inside. It was even
better than jumping off an aeroplane with a parachute. [Merlin Carothers
was in the army.] That night God had reached down inside me, and I was
changed into a new being. I felt as if I was standing on the threshold
of exciting adventures the likes of which I couldn’t even begin to
imagine yet. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was still alive; the
God who parted the Red Sea and spoke through a burning bush and sent His
Son to die on a cross – He was my Father too!
I could suddenly understand what my
earthly father had tried to tell me. When he was 36 years old he was
confined to a bed for the first time in his life. Three days later his
heart stopped. The doctor was there with an injection, and my father’s
heart began beating again. He opened his eyes and said: ‘That won’t be
necessary, doctor. I am going to leave now.’ He raised himself up in bed
and looked around the room with a radiant glow on his face.
‘Look!’ he said. ‘They are here to take
me!’ With that he lay back and was gone. My father had known Jesus as
his personal Friend and Saviour. He had been ready to go. (From
Prison to Praise by Merlin Carothers, pp 20-22.)
Merlin’s grandfather – who had been hooked
for 40 years with an addictive craving for nicotine – had to come to the
point of relinquishing what he wanted, in the flesh. That
sinful selfish desire had to go, and be replaced by a spiritual yearning for
the things of God. When he was willing to die to self, God came in.
The willingness to die to selfish desires
gives you the resolve to overcome. Then God helps you.
Are You Prepared To Die?
The problem with so many Christians in the
West is softness – not just physical softness, but spiritual softness. They
have little commitment. Many of them are not willing to die for their
Too many have been fed self-centred theology.
They have come to Christ for what they want. They think God is there
to bless them, end of equation. They look on religion as a one-way
But, as I said earlier, the ‘secret’ to
success in overcoming in your spiritual life is whether you are willing to
suffer for Jesus’ sake.
If you truly have faith in God to heal you,
you put yourself in His capable hands. That means you will probably have to
endure pain and suffering for a while until He steps in to deliver you. But
many Christians’ ‘faith’ is shallow. When the pain kicks in, they reach out
– not for God, but for the medicine bottle or the pain killers. Their faith
evaporates, and they run to the doctor to ask for a shot of morphine or
Faith in God can either be strengthened and
deepened through trials, or destroyed. It depends how you react to them. If
your motive is selfish, you are best to go to the doctor, because God can’t
help you when all you want is to carry on in your self-willed lifestyle and
But if your commitment is one of death to
self, so that Jesus can live in you, He will heal you.
I have put my trust in God to restore my
broken and decayed teeth. They are full of holes – many of them from
dentists’ blunders 30 years ago when I knew no better than to follow the
tradition which I was taught. Now, with only the remains of my molars, I am
waiting for God’s healing. After I put my complete trust in Him for them to
be restored (when I was going through a very painful toothache), about three
years ago, He gave me a dream in which He promised to totally restore them
and ‘touch’ me at the same time. (Dream given 16th July 2000, recorded in
Newsletter 11, p 21.)
You can stand on God’s promises. They are
sure. He wants you to be equally reliable, too. If you are too
self-indulgent, He will allow things to occur to ‘toughen’ you up,
spiritually speaking, as He showed in the following dream:
10th May 2003. M. 1) Re-doing a soft
bit of plaster.
I had done some plastering high up (over
a large doorway) on the outside of a wall (external plastering with sand
and cement is called ‘rendering’). It was still softish. I thought that
was because it had not had time to fully set, even though it had been
done a few days previously. When I put my hand on it and leaned against
it, my hand sunk in and left a mark. I discovered that the render in
this place was on top of polystyrene, hence the reason the render was
still soft and my hand left an indentation. Perhaps the mix was too weak
at 6:1, so I re-did the small patch in a stronger mix of about 3:1.
A 3 to 1 mix of sand and cement is very
durable. It’s so tough that it can withstand very severe weather conditions
for a very long time. But some Christians appear OK on the outside, yet what
God sees on the inside is not OK.
If what is inside you is like polystyrene –
without strength and reliable density – how can God rely upon you? You don’t
really trust Him; you trust in whatever gets you what you want – and
usually the sooner the better!
In the above dream, I leaned on this render
and it caved in. Some people are like that – totally unreliable. They cave
in when pressure comes. Their faith wavers. They relinquish their faith in
God, because they look to the physical. God doesn’t seem to be running to
their aid quick enough, and so they start to disbelieve that He will.
When Yun – a zealous Chinese Christian – was
imprisoned for preaching Christ, he found himself in a cell with another
brother whose faith was wavering. Suddenly, Yun felt the Spirit stirring him
within. He began to scrape his fingers on the rough stone wall of the cell
until blood came. He inscribed the shape of a cross on the wall using the
tips of his painful fingers as the brush and his own blood as the ink. He
exhorted the brother not to lose heart, but to be strong and resilient.
Yun was tough because his commitment was
total. He was fully committed to Jesus, not to himself.
Self-indulgence and self-centredness erode
such pure faith. They are hindrances to being led by the Spirit.
If you want to succeed spiritually, you have
got to be tougher on yourself. God was
saying in the dream that certain people need to ‘toughen up’. If you
are soft on sin, you need to be firmer and harder on yourself.
Jesus paid with His lifeblood to deliver you
from sin. He wrote His opinion of sin with ALL his blood, not just with half a pint as Yun did. Have you yet resisted
to bloodshed, striving against sin? Or are you still selfish?
You have not yet resisted to bloodshed,
striving against sin (Heb 12:4).
Sin is the most central issue for us as
followers of Jesus. Jesus came to show us how to vanquish it. But many
believers want to believe the lie that Jesus has done it all for us. In one
sense He has. He paid the price of all sin on the cross. And He enables us
to overcome by the power of His Spirit living in us. But that does not mean
what many take it to mean – that their battle is all over just because its
outcome is already determined.
Too many take the sloppy approach to sin and
don’t care. They won’t be in the Kingdom of
God. Notice it:
He who overcomes shall inherit all things,
and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving,
abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars
shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which
is the second death (Rev 21:7,8).
Do you realise that what all these sinners
had in common is that THEY DIDN’T CARE ABOUT SIN?! They treated it lightly. They had a big ‘sin pile’ in their
personal lives, but ignored it and carried on pleasing themselves.
Some of these people will undoubtedly be
‘Christians’ who have believed the lies of easy salvation – “all you have to
do is to believe in Jesus.” The liars who taught them such heresies will be
in the fire of destruction, too!
Notice also what heads the list –
cowardice and unbelief. I bet you don’t view these two sins the
way God does!
So, briefly, here are some other hindrances
to being led by the Spirit:
It’s ironic, but we have known people who
have done very little in their lives, yet who have a high opinion of
themselves. Pride is having a high regard for one’s own qualities or merits.
You can have pride about almost anything, but the core of it hinges on self.
It’s a subtle form of self worship.
Many religious people are proud, which is why Jesus addressed this
problem in Luke 18:9-14. Their pride,
however, may be well hidden.
Similar to pride, arrogance rears its ugly
head more outwardly. Presumptuousness is its chief ally. We have seen this
Many people criticise us for the job we are
commissioned to do for God. Arrogant people detest prophets! God detests
If you read Matthew 25:25-26, you will see
God’s appraisal of those who bury the Holy Spirit and don’t use it. He calls
them wicked and lazy! These are Christians – “many who are
called” – but they don’t really care about sin. They let their ‘sin pile’
grow, while they continue down the same old road to get what they
want. While they pamper themselves, fear holds them back from doing what
they should. They don’t please God.
4) Contentment with self.
Remember Job? He had to lose everything
before he could be delivered from this one. (See Luke 12:15 for a spiritual
tip about wealth.)
This is intertwined with the last point, and
often with all the others too. All those listed in Rev 21:8 were complacent
about sin. It took them to utter ruin. If you are to avoid it, you need to
be like Jacob, who was prepared to suffer to receive his reward from God
(Gen 32:25). Are you?
Heap, July 2003