Pete gives four concrete tips that we can follow to be closer to the Holy Spirit. He reminds us the importance to be open and allow the Spirit lead us to a life closer to God.
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Reflective Study Guide Questions
“But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you.” John 16:7
- Pete gives some practical tips for how we can increase our capacity for being led by the Holy Spirit in our daily lives. For one, he says that we can do this by asking more often for the Holy Spirit to lead us. How can you incorporate asking the Holy Spirit to guide you into your daily life?
- Scripture reading can be another important part of increasing our capacity for being led by the Holy Spirit. How often do you make reading Scripture a part of your life? How can you work to increase the fruitfulness of reading the Word of God and to use Scripture for deeper spiritual growth?
- Often, the Holy Spirit leads us through others He has put into our lives. Have you ever experienced a growth in your relationship with God through holy friendships? How can you work to cultivate fruitful and holy friendships in your life more deeply?
- When we seek to grow in our capacity for being led by the Holy Spirit, we must be ready to act on His inspirations in our lives. How can you work on growing in your willingness and eagerness to act on the Holy Spirit’s inspirations?
Text: How to be Led by the Holy Spirit
Hi, Pete Burak, let’s begin with a prayer.
In the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Amen. Come Holy Spirit, come Holy Spirit. Oh, Jesus, we love you, we praise you we bless you and we thank you, and we ask for more of your Spirit Lord Jesus, same Spirit that fell upon the apostles at Pentecost fill our hearts and our minds right now. That we would be guided into all truth, that we would be introduced into all love, and that the power that you have for us would be ours in your Spirit. Amen, Amen, in the Father Son, Holy Spirit, Amen.
So the topic today- How to be Led, and Guided by the Holy Spirit throughout Lent into Easter, – really for the rest of our lives. Let’s begin in John 16. This is one of those passages that I think when Jesus said it the first time, must have been kind of a shock to His apostles. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was kind of like a “wait, what come again”? And we get a little bit, a little bit of evidence of that of how this verse starts. So this is sixteen seven (John 16:7). “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth.” Jesus is saying, “This is the truth.” And whenever He says, “Truly, truly I say to you.” Or, you know anything like this, it means He knows what He’s about to say is hard to understand. He knows it will be difficult to fully grasp, and so He’s like saying, “guys, I promise, this is true, listen to it, no matter how far-fetched; believe me.” “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away. For if I do not go away, the counselor will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you.”
“It is too much to your advantage that I go away.” Again, that must have been super confusing. How could it be possibly to our advantage? To have you in the flesh here with us, Jesus, you know, you walk on water, you raise people from the dead, you heal the sick, you feed us a lot, you teach us a new way of living, how is that better if you’re not here? And so Jesus goes on to describe why. He says, “I will send the counselor to you.” Who’s the counselor? – The Holy Spirit.
“And when He comes, He will convince the world of sin, and of righteousness and of the judgment of sin because they do not believe in me, of righteousness because I’ll go to the Father, and you will see me no more, and of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot hear or you cannot bear them now.”
That’s interesting line from Jesus. He saying there’s so much more that needs to be revealed to you. There’s so much more that will be revealed to you over time but you’re not ready for it yet. And what He’s saying there is, “I’m going to speak to you” through the spirit.
“When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears, He will speak and He will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for He will take what is mine, and declare to you. All that the Father has is mine.” Jesus says, “And therefore, I said, therefore, I said that He will take what is mine, and declare it to you.”
The Holy Spirit Invites You
There’s a lot in this passage, right? There’s a lot to unpack. The first thing I want to identify for us, is that being led by the Spirit is a participation in the Trinitarian nature of God. It’s an invitation to dwell, to live, to become part of that mystical and mysterious union between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, right. We know the father sends the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit to rescue humanity from the effects of sin and death. And to, to unleash for us a new life through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we have the opportunity; we have the access to eternal life.
And what is this eternal life? It’s it’s union. It’s union with God. That the love between the Father and the Son, which is the Holy Spirit is actually poured out to us is, is offered to us for those who believe in are baptized, that we have a tangible expression of this in baptism, we receive the Holy Spirit, we become part of God’s family, and now are living a new life. We have access to new power, we have a new destiny.
So, the Holy Spirit being poured out on us is not just kind of a therapeutic self, self help thing. It’s not just like a battery that kind of empowers us. It’s He is the power that transforms us. So that we can actually fulfill that those great quotes from Aquinas, you know, God became man so we could be God’s right? That we could be so transformed by the mystical love of Christ, that we actually are grafted into His body in a real way that at the end of our lives, we are welcomed into heaven, because we are the Son, we are His body. We are, we are, we are there, right? That’s what the Holy Spirit does.
Becoming Like Jesus
But one of the things the Holy Spirit does is not only transform us internally, to become the character of Jesus, but He also helps us develop the competency of Jesus, and that’s one definition of a disciple that I like- growing in the character and competency of Jesus. Becoming who Jesus is, and doing the things He does. And there are a lot of things that Jesus does, right? He heals the sick, He opens the eyes of the blind, He sets captives free, He declares very strongly about the kingdom of God, what will include you or excludes you from the kingdom. But one of the things that Jesus says about Himself is that He is the way, the truth and the life. And the Holy Spirit shows us the way, help gives us the power to say yes to the way, and as the Scripture says, “guides us in the truth”, and then, as I just said a second ago, helps us step into new life.
And so it’s really important that a disciple has a relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Well, you know an incredibly insightful thing to say there. But it actually is worth thinking about. Are you actively walking in the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Is it as a daily part of your mentality or mindset to say, yes, I have a relationship with the Son and yes, through the Son, I have a relationship with the Father, but I’m aware of I’m paying attention to it and I’m cooperating with the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit?
A disciple of Jesus recognizes that without Pentecost, something is missing. Without that dwelling indwelling power source that guides us in truth, that transforms us, that purifies us from sin, that gives us insight as to where to go and what to do, that gives us the power to actually do that. Without that we can have all the trappings of religion, we can have all the trappings of faith, we can have, even in some ways the intellectual assent to what we’re called to do- but not have the the life that reflects that belief.
The Holy Spirit takes what we believe and puts it into action. And so it should be very important to us to be cooperating with the Holy Spirit, aware of the Holy Spirit, and to the best of our ability being guided by the Holy Spirit. But I wanna start with, you know, do you actually want to be guided by the Holy Spirit? Because when you look at the Scripture, there are lots of instances were being guided by the Holy Spirit leads to, at the time, some relatively uncomfortable situations.
So there’s a great passage right after Jesus is baptized and His identity is confirmed as the Son of the Father, the Holy Spirit drives Him into the wilderness where for 40 days and 40 nights. He prays fast and is tempted by the devil. You know, sign me up, doesn’t that sound fantastic? And what of course that develops for us, and what that reveals for us is the power of fasting, the power of solitude, the power of silence, but the Holy Spirit knew that even Jesus in a somewhat mysterious way, needed that time of alone time with the Father, that active time of prayer and fasting, to be more fully equipped to be able to fulfill His earthly mission, Not because Jesus needed it so much, but to demonstrate to us the power of being led into a certain desert by the Spirit, where we can be purified and then given a new task. That’s one instance of the Holy Spirit leading.
Stories with the Holy Spirit
Then you read the Acts of the Apostles and it’s like, every story it’s somebody filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, filled with the Spirit stands up and declares a very a strong message that often leads to some pretty painful ends. For instance, Steven, right, he’s dragged before the Sanhedrin, he’s put on trial for basically similar things that for Jesus, and in it he has this very long but very beautiful explanation for why they believe what they believe, why the, the Pharisees and Scribes and all those who are condemning Him should change their mind. But it starts the whole thing starts this whole kind of rant, if you will, is not really rant his whole homily, if you will, starts with Stephen full of the Holy Spirit. He’s guided by the Holy Spirit to lay out this is what, this is what it is, this is the truth, this is what you’re dealing with, you know, with his trial. What does that lead to them, they grind their teeth and they’re angry and they take him out and they stone him, leads to death.
So you have another instance this one’s a little less painful, but St. Philip right, walking along the side, the Holy Spirit takes him to a place and inspires him to, to jump into the chariot with Ethiopian eunuch. And it’s one of those things like, it’s not like Philip started his day going, “you know what I want to do? I’m just going to walk down the side of the road. “And the first person I see I’m going to “jump into their chariot. I’m going to explain the Scriptures to them.” No, he’s just going about his day, and the Holy Spirit kind of comes upon him in any way inspires him, to jump into this chariot, to be with this unit to explain the Scriptures to help them understand what he’s reading, and next thing you know, it culminates with him being baptized. And this new person, a new member of the body of Christ comes from Philip cooperating with the Holy Spirit.
And so the Holy Spirit just has this throughout all the scriptures, but in a particular way, actually, the apostles demonstrates to us the power and the potential for when people cooperate with His prompting, step into it and move in it. So this is all just my case for why being led by the Spirit is really important.
Now, the question is, how? How do we do this? And there’s a lot of wisdom out there, for how to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. But I want to give you four tips, okay? Four practical tips on how being led by the Spirit can be more of a reality in your life.
Come Holy Spirit
Okay, first one, and this one is, you know, not terribly insightful, but ask for more. And my one of my favorite prayers is three words. Come, Holy Spirit. It’s like a text message to Jesus. It’s a prayer, He always answers. If you want more of this, Holy Spirit, you want to be more aware of the Spirit’s presence in you, and again, when we when we say more of the Holy Spirit, it’s not so much like something from outside coming in, but more of tapping into and cooperating with what we have already received at baptism and confirmation. And it’s, it’s a bit of a limitation of language but saying more come Holy Spirit or give more of the Holy Spirit is, is saying I want to cooperate with what’s inside me. I want to take the lid off, I want to let Him out, I want Him to more fully, and some of the posts really talked about this more fully possess me not in possession in like the weird exorcist way where our head spins around where we lose ourselves. But actually we become more of who we are called to be when we are possessed by the same spirit that animated Christ.
So the first tip is to say, come Holy Spirit. This, this was driven home for me a few years ago when I was I was in a men’s group, and we all decided that we wanted to live more powerfully in the love of the Holy Spirit. And we just decided every morning we’d get up, and the first thing we do is we’d say, come Holy Spirit. And it’s amazing, when you start your day that way; how the Lord answers that prayer it will give you insights throughout the day on how you’re supposed to act. So that’s number one.
Second one is, Scripture talks about itself as the sword of the Spirit. Paul says that in Ephesians, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. So if we want to be more led by the Spirit, read the book, read Scripture, spend time in this word, because we get accustomed then to the voice of God, we get accustomed to hearing how He speaks what He talks about. And it provides insight and clarity for different moments of discernment. But also just in everyday stuff, you’ll find Scriptures coming to mind in the different circumstances of your life, when you actually spend time in the word.
Third tip, share this process with a friend. It’s amazing how often the Spirit guides us through somebody else. So being around other Spirit-filled people will allow us both kind of catch the good infection and be more cooperate with what the Lord is doing in them, but also for us, allows us to hear the voice of God through our friends.
Ask for the Holy Spirit
And then the fourth tip is, be bold, be bold, ask for the Holy Spirit. And then when you feel like He’s starting to prompt you to do something, to say something, to write something, to move in this direction, to try it to test it. St. Paul says, “Do not despise process.” Excuse me, “do not despise prophecy, “test everything hold fast to what is good.”
So in conclusion, tip number one, ask for more, be more attentive to the Holy Spirit, three words come Holy Spirit, you can do 1000 times a day. Tip number two, read the book, read the Scriptures get accustomed to how the Lord has spoken to us all throughout our history, and just get used to hearing the voice of God. Number three, find a friend who’s filled with the Spirit and spend some time with them. You will hear the Lord through them, you’ll be able to as iron sharpens iron both move more in the power of the Holy Spirit. And then number four, hear the Lord and act on it.
It’s really not that big of a deal if we hear the Lord but if we don’t do anything about if we don’t test it, if we don’t lean into it, the word can fall on the wayside and not bear the fruit that it could possibly do for us. So it’s really important as a disciple to be led by the Spirit. Let’s do these tips and see what He does.
About Pete Burak
Pete Burak is the director of i.d.9:16, the young adult outreach of Renewal Ministries. He is a 2010 graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, and has a Master’s Degree in Theology from Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan. Pete is a frequent speaker on discipleship and evangelization, and he is the co-director of Pine Hills Boys Camp. He is the co-founder of the Millennial Church Conference, a monthly columnist for Faith Magazine, and the host of the popular YouTube show called Cathlist. Pete and his wife Cait have four children.