Scripture talks about being led by the Spirit (see Luke 4:1; Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:18). But exactly what does it look like? Well, to truly be led by the Spirit of God, then the initial step is that the Holy Spirit must be dwelling in us. That seems obvious, right?
There’s more, though. Interacting regularly with the Word of God will allow His Spirit more access into our hearts and minds. If you ignore the Bible – the life-giving and life-changing Word of God – you have cut off the main avenue that the Lord uses to lead and guide by His Spirit. The converse is also true. The more you engage with the Word – reading, studying, memorizing – the clearer will be the voice of the Spirit in any given situation.
In his book, The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives, Dallas Willard comments about Charles Sheldon’s classic novel, In His Steps. In doing so, he also comments about the WWJD – What Would Jesus Do? – movement.
The book is entirely focused upon trying to do what Jesus supposedly would do in response to specific choices…. There is no suggestion that his power to choose rightly was rooted in the kind of overall life he had adopted in order to maintain his inner balance and his connection with his Father. The book does not state that to follow in his steps is to adopt the total manner of life he did. So the idea conveyed is an absolutely fatal one—that to follow him simply means to try to behave as he did “on the spot.” … There is no realization that what he did in such cases was, in large and essential measure, the natural outflow of the life he lived when not “on the spot.” [Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988), 9]
Willard is right. The idea of simply making on-the-spot decisions removed from the rest of life is absurd. We could, of course, make a decision on what we think might be Jesus’ reaction. But unless His Word is dwelling in us, on what basis do we make such decisions? We’re not, at that point, being led by the Spirit. It’s just a spur of the moment idea with no true basis.
Why not, instead, allow His Word to shape and form all our actions in every area of life. If we really do that, we won’t even need to ask the question.