I recently read two stories, that from outward appearances appear to be polar opposites, but both garnered positive responses, because I think both reflect the leading of the Holy Spirit.
The first involves a story out of Cary, North Carolina, when two groups of believers, one led by Pastors Soboma and Faith Wokoma of Legacy Center Church and the other by Love Wins Ministry’s Shara and Daniel Chalmers, peacefully walked arm and arm with demonstrators who were protesting the death of George Floyd in that community.
Then at the end, as Jesus did with His disciples, the two Christians groups voluntarily washed the feet of the demonstrators. This included two Christian police chiefs from the area who also participated, showing, like Jesus, they were there to serve all people.
Shara Chalmers told CBN:
“We really need to have action now, not just prayer. It was an incredible movement of unity and there was such a presence of Jesus.”
But something completely different happened at a demonstration in Georgia. When Georgia State Trooper O’Neal Saddler showed up in uniform, some protestors asked the black officer to kneel before them as someone videoed the event.
But Saddler had a different response. He told the protestors:
“If I didn’t have respect. I wouldn’t [be here]. I was supposed to be out of town this weekend with my wife. I took off today, this weekend, but I’m out here to make sure y’all are safe.”
Then Saddler added:
“Don’t go there with respect. OK? I have much respect, but I only kneel for one person.”
At that moment one of the demonstrators shouted out “And that’s God.”
To which Saddler responded “God” with several demonstrators thanking Saddler for his response.
Both responses were led by the Holy Spirit, and in one sense they were the polar opposite of each other. Yet both were the right thing to do at that moment.
It is becoming increasingly important for believers to gain a greater sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives.
In Romans 8:14, Paul writes:
“For as many as are being led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”
In his article, Learning to Follow the Leader, Rick Renner says that in the Greek the Holy Spirit is put first in this verse after people and reads more accurately, “For as many as the Holy Spirit leads they are the sons of God.”
The Holy Spirit needs to be in front leading our lives, not tagging along behind.
Renner points out that the Greek word ‘ago’ translated ‘led’ is also the root to another Greek word ‘agon’ that provides a slightly different meaning.
He says ‘agon’ “describes an intense conflict, such as a struggle in a wrestling match or a struggle of the human will.”
Submitting ourselves to the Holy Spirit’s leading requires a submission of our flesh to God. It is not always easy. Sometimes there is pressure to do the opposite as was the case for Officer Saddler and sometimes it requires us to humble ourselves as the believers did in Cary, North Carolina.
But as the days grow darker, following the Holy Spirit’s leading will no longer be an option for believers.