R U Driven or Led?

 Aug 12, 2011


Why do you do what you do?  Is it a thought or a feeling?  Is it a rule or a law?

I’ve been trying to stress home the idea of living a life of being led by the prompting of the Holy Spirit and not by any other thought, feeling or idea.


When I was much younger attending church, one of the first theological words I heard was conviction.  Is the Holy Spirit convicting you of something?  When you did that wrong thing, did you feel conviction?


But not until the last several years has the Lord begun to specifically define and show to me what that word conviction really looks and feels like.  And how the Holy Spirit truly leads us in our lives.


One definition of the word conviction is referring to when Paul is preaching and it states that he preached with conviction, or forcefulness. 


There are actually two Greeks words for conviction in the context I am referring to and not what I expected to find.  You may find a full word study on the word conviction by clicking here.


The first meaning is ‘full assurance’ and the other is ‘correction’.  The use correction is only used once when Paul was talking to Timothy in:


2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;


Hmmm, the scripture, not the Holy Spirit, is for correction.  Just like a textbook not the teacher.


I don’t think I would get any argument if I made the statement that this is a harsh world.  A world where we are introduced to pain and suffering at a very young age.  There are mean people in this world doing mean things.


Even our own parents, as much as they loved us, didn’t always discipline and correct the way that was appropriate.  I know as a parent myself, I can look back and see that sometimes I did whatever it took to get them to do what I wanted or needed them to do.


If I had to spank them, I would.  If I had to ground them, I would.  If I had to yell and scream, I would.  If I had to place guilt on them, I would.


But I’ll be the first to admit, I was not a perfect parent.  In fact, I was far from it.  But our Father God is a perfect parent and doesn’t parent at all the way we do.  And the Holy Spirit is our teacher and guide here on this earth and a perfect and gentle teacher, always leading us not pushing us.


But since all that we know is the parenting we have experienced here on this earth we automatically associate it to our Father God.


So when we hear from the pulpit that the Holy Spirit will convict us, our minds go to something difficult and highly unpleasant.  We usually associate feeling guilty.


As we grow older in the Lord we don’t sever that feeling of guilt from true conviction.


Let me give you some examples:


You go to church every Sunday because you feel convicted if you don’t, or is it guilt?

You give offerings because you feel convicted if you don’t, or is it guilt?

You try to ‘be good’ because you feel convicted if you don’t, or is it guilt?


Are you starting to think now?  Look back and the feelings that you have and the thoughts that you have in these instances?


As I began to ponder this myself, I really wanted to know what it was that was motivating me to do the things I did.  I wanted a clean heart and a clear conscience and I wanted to do things out of the leading of the Holy Spirit and not for any other reason.


Then the Lord began to teach me about conviction versus guilt.  Guilt and condemnation come from the enemy.  So Father God would never use the emotion of guilt to correct or to move us.  So the very first thing I had to do was to learn to resist guilt.  The moment a thought or feeling of guilt would enter my mind, I would take it captive and reject it.  2 Corinthians 10:15


So then what and how does the Holy Spirit lead?  Picture these two examples:


In one you are held at knife point and are poked and prodded to move forward against your will while feeling dread and remorse.  But you move because the sharp point of the guilt-knife hurts!


In the second, you are a sweet young puppy and you have a safe and comfortable harness on.  You have a leash attached to the chest portion of the harness.  You feel a slight tug from the leash, just below the center of your chest.  It is a gentle tug, one that could easily be missed if you weren’t paying attention and there is a gentle loving voice urging you to come.  But when you do recognize it, you get up and move forward, at your own pace being led in the correct direction.


We must practice to learn to silence guilt and listen with a slightly turned ear to the voice of the Spirit, to learn to feel that tug in the center of our being.


Psalms 46:10:  Cease striving and know that I am God; …


You have also read the version where it says, Be still and know that I am God.  I love this because sometimes we are striving to obey the voice of guilt in our lives so much that we cannot hear God and know His true heart for us.


How does the enemy feed guilt into our lives?  By thoughts and words.  They may enter our minds through the words of other people telling us that we have not done enough or are not good enough or are failing in some way.


In a previous post I wrote called Christian Clones, I spoke about self-help books that take the plan God gave them for their life and decided it was the only plan for everyone.  That is another way that guilt enters our minds. 


We try to follow a diet or weight loss plan and it doesn’t work for us.  We try to manage our money the way the book says to do and we can’t do it that way.  So we feel guilty that we were not able to be successful at this and we are overridden with guilt and condemnation.


If we do something we perceive as wrong we feel guilt.  That is not from the Holy Spirit.  We as a people are conditioned to respond to guilt, especially when we’ve been taught that it is conviction from the Holy Spirit.


Also when we do read the Word for true instruction, if we read about things we have done wrong in the past or still struggling with, the enemy is quick to bring guilt!  He will tell you what a bad person or Christian you are and God will abandon you and not love you anymore because you’ve not done what He asked of you in the Word.  And we interpret this as conviction from the Holy Spirit!


Remember, that is the enemy!  The Holy Spirit is a loving and leading entity not a pushing and prodding entity.  Immediately reject the guilt, be still and listen for the soothing loving voice of the Father to lead you forward.


Even if you feel guilt after doing something wrong, it is still not of the Lord.  He wants to lead you into doing right, not pressure you at the knife point of guilt after you have done wrong.


You will move forward much quicker and go much farther with the gentle leading of the Holy Spirit. You can be assured that you are going in the right direction, much more so than if you moved forward reluctantly at the sharp knife point of guilt.  There will be less ground gained and you can be almost certain that you won’t be on the path that the Holy Spirit would be leading you on no matter how ‘good’ it may seem.


But if we can put aside the feeling of guilt and allow ourselves to hear the gentle leading of the Holy Spirit, He will lead us to the very best goals, good deeds and a peaceful lifestyle, gently and easily, but on a path that makes sense for your individual life, not someone else’s path.


It takes much practice and it is something that I am still learning to do every moment of every day.  But I routinely stop, lean my ear to the Spirit and sense His quiet leading in the midst of the ciaos and noise and that is the way I choose to go.  I know that this will become an unconscious habit for me and not something that I have to remember to do.


Don’t let guilt speak louder in your life than the Holy Spirit.  Learn to silence it once and for all.

 Hammer and Nail

No matter what your beliefs are, I want to thank you for visiting my Christian blog!


3 thoughts on “R U Driven or Led?

  1. Barbara Spillman says:

    Nancy, I enjoyed your article on R U Driven or Led, and it’s interesting how topics come up from others that relate to everyday conversations you’ve been having with someone else! My husband and I were recently talking about church, and how as a parent you can make a child (specifically a teen) go to church, and he/she may go begrudingly and with an attitude with a capital A, nevertheless, they are there, hearing the Word, soaking it in, and it can still get through the thick wall of attitude and be received!! A young child quickly learns if he/she breaks the rules, discipline will follow either with a spanking, time out, loss of privilege, etc. In that moment of discipline, a child is needing to respond positively out of a sense of guilt placed on them for their negative behavior. Then there’s those rewarding moments as a parent when you see that same child show love to a sibling or friend, with generosity to the point of even being willing to give away a favorite toy or possession. In that instance the child is giving love to another as he/she has been given and demonstrated the same kind of love.
    It’s a joy as a Christian when you want to devour the Word and go to church because you have an insatiable thirst to know God more, commune with Him more deeply, and live your life in accordance with His will. That comes from being led of the Holy Spirit rather than out of a sense of guilt. Even in giving in church or to another, there is no sense of joy in giving when it’s done out of a sense of obligation or duty. How much more rewarding to give out of a sense of utter thankfulness to God for all He has done for us, beginning with the gift of His only begotten Son, who did not think it was beneath him to be crucified on a cross, taking the burden of the sins of the world upon his shoulders. The world is forever trying to distract us away from our time with God. But it is in those quiet moments with Him, we hear Him speak to us, ever so gently, and encourage us in the way we should go. May we cherish those precious moments with Him as never before.


    • Nancy says:

      Thanks Barbara! When God began showing me just how evil guilt was it made me stop and think just how often I’ve used it to try and motivate someone else. I was truly shamed! Thanks so much for your comments. We appreciate them!!


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