Chapter 23 – The Leading of the Spirit

“As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God” Romans 8:14,16.

The very same Spirit who leads us as children also assures us that we are children. Without His leading there can be no assurance of our relationship as children of God. True, full assurance of faith is enjoyed by him who surrenders himself entirely to the leading of the Spirit.

Of what does this leading consist? Mainly of this, that our whole, hidden, inner life is guided by Him so that it may be what it ought to be. We must firmly believe this. Our growth and increase, our development and progress, is not our work but His. We are to trust Him for this. As a tree or animal grows by the spirit of life given to it by God, so does the Christian grow by the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.1 We have to cherish the joyful assurance that the Spirit–whom the Father gives to us–guides our hidden life with His divine wisdom and power. He brings it where God will have it.

Then there are also special directions of this leading. “He will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13). When we read the Word of God, we are to wait for the Spirit to make us experience the truth and the essential power of what God says. He makes the Word living and powerful. He leads us into a life corresponding to the Word.2

When you pray, you can rely on His leading, “The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities” (Romans 8:26). He leads us to what we must desire. He leads us to the way in which we are to pray–trustfully, persistently, and mightily.3

He leads us in the way of sanctification. He leads us in the path of righteousness. He leads us into all the will of God.4

He will lead in our speaking and working for the Lord. Every child has need of Him to know and to do the work of the Father. Without Him, no child can please or serve the Father. The leading of the Spirit is the blessed privilege, the sure token, and the only power of a child of God.5

And how can you fully enjoy this leading? The first thing that is necessary for this is faith. You must take time, young Christian, to have your heart filled with the deep and living consciousness that the Spirit lives within you. Concerning what the Spirit is in you and for you, you are to read God’s glorious declarations in the Word until you are filled with the conviction that you truly are a temple of the Spirit. Ignorance or unbelief on this point makes it impossible for the Spirit to speak in you and to lead you. Cherish an ever-abiding assurance that the Spirit of God lives in you.6

Then the second thing that is necessary is this–hold yourself still, so that you may hear the voice of the Spirit, “He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street” (Isaiah 42:2). He whispers gently and quietly. Only the soul that sets itself very silently toward God can perceive His voice and guidance. When we become needlessly involved with the world–its business, its cares, its enjoyments, its literature, its politics–the Spirit cannot lead us. When our service for God is a bustling and working in our own wisdom and strength, the Spirit cannot be heard in us. The weak and the simple–who are willing to have themselves taught in humility–receive the leading of the Spirit. Sit down every morning, and often in the day, to say, “Lord Jesus, I know nothing; I will be silent. Let the Spirit lead me.”7

And then–be obedient. Listen to the inner voice, and do what it says to you. Fill your heart every day with the Word. When the Spirit reveals to you what the Word says, take it upon yourself to do it. Therefore, you will become capable of further teaching. The full blessing of the Spirit is promised to the obedient.8

Young Christian, know that you are a temple of the Spirit. Know that it is only through the daily leading of the Spirit that you can walk as a child of God, with the witness that you are pleasing the Father.

Precious Saviour, imprint this lesson deeply on my mind. The Holy Spirit is in me. His leading is every day and everywhere indispensable for me. I cannot hear His voice in the Word when I do not wait silently upon Him. Lord, encircle me with Your holy love; keep watch over me so that I may always walk as a pupil of the Spirit. Amen.


1) Hos. 14:6,7; Matt. 6:28; Mark 4:26,28; Luke 2:40; Rom. 8:2

2) John 6:63; 14:26; 1 Cor. 2:10,14; 1 Thess. 2:13

3) Zech. 12:10; Rom. 8:27; Jude 20

4) 1 Thess. 5:23,24; 1 Pet. 1:2, 15

5) Matt. 10:20; Acts 1:8; Rom. 8:9,13; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 1:13

6) Acts 19:2; Rom. 5:5; 1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Cor. 5:5; Gal. 3:5,14

7) I Chron. 19:12; Ps. 62:2,6; 131:2; Heb. 2:20; Zech. 4:6

8) John 14:15; Acts 5:32


1. It is often asked, “How do I know that I will continue standing, that I will be kept, that I will increase?” The question dishonours the Holy Spirit–it is the sign that you do not know Him or do not trust Him. The question indicates that you are seeking the secret of strength for perseverance in yourself, and not in the Holy Spirit, your heavenly guide.

2. As God sees to it that every moment there is air for me to breathe, so the Holy Spirit will increasingly maintain life in the hidden depths of my soul. He will not break off His own work.

3. From the time that we receive the Holy Spirit, we have nothing to do but to honour His work, to keep our hands off of it, and to trust Him and let Him work.

4. The beginning and the end of the work of the Spirit is to reveal Jesus to me and to cause me to abide in Him. As soon as I become concerned with the work of the Spirit in me, I hinder Him. He cannot work when I am not willing to look upon Jesus.

5. The voice of the Father, the voice of the good Shepherd, the voice of the Holy Spirit, is very gentle. We must learn to become deaf to other voices, to the world and its news, to friends and their thoughts, to our own ego and its desires. Then we will recognise the voice of the Spirit. Let us often set ourselves silent in prayer, entirely silent, to offer up our will and our thoughts, and with our eyes upon Jesus, to keep ear and heart open for the voice of the Spirit.