“For 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 the children of God.” Romans 8:14-16
The earmark of a mature believer is their ability to be led of the Holy Ghost. Paul tells the church at Rome that our position as sons of God is directly tied to our ability to be led by the Holy Ghost. We are spirits, we possess a soul, and we live in a body (1 Thess. 5:23). The Holy Ghost doesn’t speak to our bodies; our bodies are the temple that houses the reborn spirit. Neither does he speak to our minds. Our minds are the devices that house our senses so we can function in a material world. Above those two faculties, lie the real us, and that is the spirit man. This is the faculty that receives from God, and as Paul tells us, the faculty that the Holy Ghost bears witness to. Being the case, it is imperative to develop a sensitive spirit so it becomes easy to hear. If we don’t hear, we can easily become sincerely deceived.
Paul’s First Missionary Journey
Acts 13:1-2 says that before Paul embarked on his first missionary journey, certain prophets and teachers had given themselves to fasting and ministering unto the Lord. Notice Paul didn’t step out until he had sought God. Fasting is not something we do to petition God. It doesn’t move him one bit. He doesn’t see us go on a hunger strike and then pity us. “Oh looks like my child isn’t eating until I move on his behalf. Better act quick or he is going to die of starvation.” You can’t force God’s hand. The purpose of fasting is to tune the carnal desires of your body out so that your spirit can become more sensitive to the things of God. You become more aware of spiritual things because your body is not in the way to create distraction via the digestion process (which is a tremendous physical activity). On top of fasting the early Church practiced ministering unto the Lord. Ministering unto the Lord is a type of contemplative mediation (Jos. 1:8) that fixes ones soul (desires, will, and emotions) on the Lord. It is worship. With all the static out of the way, they were able to get onto the same wavelength as God.
That is the problem a lot of the time. We are too busy to get into rhythm with the Spirit so that we can flow. God wants to participate we his people the way a conductor participates as the leader of an orchestra. Following him and not doing our own things will create a beautiful harmonious sound and bring each one to their fullest potential. You see, the Spirit has rhythm. Everything that comes from God has a rhythm (money, healing, blessing, direction, miracles, signs, wonders). When you step in to preach a service you can pick up that there is a rhythm for healings, or maybe a rhythm for prophetic unction, or maybe a rhythm for teaching, or worship, etc. And because the early church worked to get their spirits sensitive and get into rhythm, the next step the spirit had was to send out Paul and Barnabas on a missionary journey.
The first thing Paul and Barnabas encounter is a false prophet operating under a spirit of sorcery or magical arts. The political leader, Sergius Paulus, requests to hear the Word of God. This is an interesting fact considering that Sergius Paulus had been influenced by BarJesus up until this time. What was it that caused his heart to be pricked and open to the gospel? It was the prayers of the saints. No doubt their prayers had dispatched angelic forces (1 Cor. 13:1) to go forth before Paul and Barnabas to prepare the preaching of the gospel. Paphos was a territory controlled by a principality and it was being demonstrated in Barjesus. However, angelic forces had arrived before God’s preachers and because they were sensitive to the Holy Ghost, the Holy Ghost was able to lead them down the same path the prayers of the saints had cut and the angels had followed. The result was the flow of the gifts (a word of knowledge, the working of miracles) that shut down the deceiving spirit of sorcery and turned the heart of Sergius Paulus. Learning to flow with the Holy Ghost is the most dangerous thing to hell because once we get in rhythm with the Spirit we will begin to shut down the works of darkness. This is because Spirit as leads and guides into all truth (Jn. 16:13). Truth is light and it exposes darkness (Acts 26:18). And once the darkness is exposed, those in it come to the light (Mt. 4:16)!
Be Sober, Be Vigilant
Peter told powerful, Holy Ghost filled saints to be watchful that the enemy doesn’t come to them and gulp them down or swallow them (1 Pet. 5:8-9). This isn’t just referring to “the trials of life” that every church person seems to have. It is the technique the enemy uses to get you to the point in which you have these problems; and it all begins with destroying our ability to be led of the Holy Ghost. The forces of hell want to shut this ability down because then the believer will be tossed about by “every wind” of doctrine that comes along. That means, if it looks like its God it must be God. NO! That is why immature Christians have bought books like “The Secret” and “A New Earth”. “Well, they mention Jesus in it and even give a few Scriptures. And after all, Oprah reads it.” Talk about dumb. These are the same people that are the ones coming down for healing and every altar call imaginable. They are deceived because the enemy disguises himself as light and because they have not developed an ear to hear from the Spirit, they just follow trends and fads. Thank God Paul didn’t follow trends, fads, and every spiritual working that seemed good to the people of his time…he would have been swallowed up and taken off the course of God plan that was foreordained from the beginning of time (Eph. 2:10). But the attempt was made in Acts 16. The Word says in verse 12-18 that as Paul and Silas has entered into Philippi, they met Lydia. Lydia had been prepared ahead a time by the prayers of the saints through intercession and she received the Word of the Lord. As they went to the place of prayer, the devil assigned a deceptive spirit masked as light to “meet” or “hook up alongside” Paul. This spirit that operated in this woman was spirit of divination or fortune telling. You see people are influenced by spirits (Jn. 8:44). Unless we are born again and filled with the Holy Ghost, we are susceptible to whatever the enemy decides to send. In this woman’s case she had the spirit of “Puthon”, or python. It was a pythonic spirit that had attached itself to her. Why is it called a python? That goes back to its function. Spirits have different operations (good and bad) (1 Cor. 12:6). Like people, they have certain specialties and things they do. This spirit is called phython because python is the symbol of Apollos, god of the sun, or otherwise knows as “the greatest light”. When one could provide light, direction, and a clear path by foretelling your future, it was said they had the spirit of Apollos. Why did this spirit come to hook up with Paul? Well, spirits recognize men of God and try to seduce them to shut em down (Acts 19:15). A python is a constricting snake. It isn’t venomous. Venomous snakes kill from the inside out and strike fast. A constrictor is slow and waits until you fall asleep then in creeps up alongside you. It is desirous to intermingle with you until it has your arms, legs, and torso interweaved with itself before it crushes you. After that it drops its jaw and swallows you alive. Now instead of going where you want to go, you are in its belly going where he wants you to go. In Paul’s case, hadn’t he been sensitive and watchful constantly participating with the Holy Ghost, he would have allowed this spirit to continue to follow him saying “these men are servants of the most high God”, until it had intermingled with his ministry. Eventually it would have began to crush his reputation and swallow his ministry alive (1 Pet. 5:8) till he was no longer following God’s path but inside the enemies belly going down the path of destruction (Mt. 7:13-14). Paul had an ear to hear and when the Spirit told him to, he turned to that spirit, and cast it out. He exposed the enemy with light because he heard the Holy Ghost speak. He was sensitive because of his consistent practice of praying in the Holy Ghost (1 Cor. 14:18). As a result the enemy couldn’t steal from him or those he was responsible to ministering to.
He Leads Us
The chief thing we need to work for above all the logistics of personal and professional life, is our sensitivity to the Holy Ghost. Not everything that appears sugary is sweet and not everything that shines is gold. And many times the only way to tell is by the voice of the Spirit bearing witness to truth in our heart. This is maturity. Hearing him will save us time, effort, money, our ministry, and many times … our life. It did for Paul.