For the month of January, we will be guided by Byron Parson and his work on the Spirit-led life. No matter what our particular struggles are, the Spirit desires a voice in our recovery.
Below is from the introduction to his book, Walk This Way: The Spirit-led Life.
“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son… ” – Hebrews 1:1-2
“Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it .’” – Isaiah 30:21
God has always desired an intimate and active relationship with us. He enjoyed an intimacy with Adam and Eve. The Bible says he strolled in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, in the cool of the day. When Elisha ran for his life to the mountains of Judah, God appeared to him and whispered words of comfort and direction. The apostle Paul reassured the Christians in Philippi, reminding them, “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” God expressed his ever-presence and aid to Isaiah with these words: “Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” Throughout the scriptures, God has been present, vocal, and active in the lives of his people.
Jesus communicated the nearness of God in even more intimate ways. He said that the Father would make his home in our hearts. It’s one thing to have God show up for the holidays or in times of trouble; it’s a whole other matter for him to take up permanent residence. Nothing says, “I want more out of this relationship,” like moving in. Is that God’s toothbrush on my sink?
You never really know someone like you do when they move in. And that’s the point with God. A Spirit-led relationship leads to a greater experience and recognition of Him. Knowledge of the scriptures gives us an indication of what God is like his ways, and the pursuits of his heart. The tricky thing is that a detailed knowledge of the scriptures alone does not produce intimacy. Relational intimacy is not a matter of knowing demographic information about someone. It is a dynamic mutual responsiveness to each other.
A great example of this is Israel’s King David. The Bible says David was “a man after God’s own heart.” Though the biblical record spends time addressing David’s embrace of Scripture and commitment to spiritual disciplines, there is something else that sets him apart. It’s this “after God’s own heart” business. David didn’t just read the scriptures; he went about his day in a moment-by-moment communication with the God to whom the Scriptures pointed. The Bible reveals that God communicated to David in ways David perceived, understood, and to which he responded. And at the same time, David’s prayerful requests, concerns, and expressions of praise were heard by God and responded to in a way that David could discern. David had an ongoing communication and mutually responsive relationship with God.
Similarly, it was said of Enoch that “he walked with God and was no more because God had taken him away.” There is no comment in Scripture about evening devotions, principles adhered to, or sacrifices made. The text only says that Enoch walked with God.
What did Enoch do? There was no Bible for him to read because the Scriptures had not yet been written. There were no prescribed sacrifices to offer, seeing that Enoch lived many years before Moses and the law. There was no temple service to attend. Enoch died over 2,200 years before Solomon’s Temple was constructed. Somehow Enoch walked with God and pleased him in a manner that many others with the Bible, the Law, and the Temple could never match.
Lastly, in a prayer offered up before the raising of Lazarus from the dead, Jesus says of the father, “I know that you always hear me. I’ve said this for the benefit of the people that they may believe and know that you sent me.” In Jesus’ relationship with the Father, he knew God was actively listening as much as he was gently speaking.
It is the Holy Spirit who makes a mutually responsive relationship with God possible. It was through the Spirit that God created us in the first place. Humans, unlike any other living creature, were created with the unique capacity to commune with God. It is the Spirit who fans that communion into flames, deepens it, and strengthens it.
A Spirit-led life cannot be achieved by our works, efforts, or even sacrifices. Never has the Scripture been truer, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit” (Zechariah 4:6). It is the Holy Spirit who communes with our spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who knows the mind of God. He communicates the longings of our hearts to God. He comforts us. It is through God’s Spirit that in addition to our Bible knowledge, a moment-by-moment connection with God is made possible.
Byron provides counseling, coaching, and consulting services for individual breakthroughs and personal development through resolving intrusive thoughts, emotional blocks, disruptive fears, anger, and stress. He employs Immanuel Prayer, biblical meditation, emotional freedom technique, and other modalities for relief and development.
Byron Parson is the author of Walk This Way: The Spirit-led Life, speaker, and spiritual director of more than 20 years. He is married to his beautiful wife, Lauri. They have two children, Blake & Nina. Byron has been a disciple for 39 years. You can find out more about Byron and his ministry at byronparson.com.