The Guiding Ministry of the Holy Spirit
Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth….
— John 16:13
In most Middle Eastern countries, ancient ruins are scattered throughout the land, dating from biblical times. To visit these sites, it is required that a person be accompanied by an “official guide.” These guides are certified by the government and undergo a rigorous certification, which must be renewed annually. The process requires guides to receive ongoing education and training in a variety of subjects, such as history, art, and archeology, in addition to earning their initial degrees. Official guides are not simply individuals who snapped a “tour guide” badge on their shirt or jacket; they are highly trained specialists who invested years of study in order to obtain and maintain that hard-earned status.
To make a tour interesting for a group, a guide must know how to communicate effectively and give clear instructions concerning where to go, what to stay away from, and so on. Hiring good guides can be expensive because they have spent so many years studying and training. However, their expertise is invaluable. As they lead people through a site, tour guides impart information that can be obtained only through many years of studying — a commitment that most people obviously cannot make.
In many large, complex sites, such as the ancient ruins of Ephesus and Pergamum in modern-day Turkey, it would almost be foolish to try to see these sites without a certified guide. These sites are huge, and parts of the ancient roads are deteriorated, twisted, rocky, and potentially dangerous. In fact, there are so many paths to take that an uninformed person could easily get confused and lost along the way. However, with a good guide at your side, you can rest assured that you will not get hurt or lost as you explore, and you’ll conclude your experience with a wonderful memory of a trip well executed.
With this example in mind, let’s look at John 16:13, where Jesus told His disciples, “Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth.…” In this verse, Jesus used the example of a tour guide to describe the guiding ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Just as a guide leads a group through a historical site, the Holy Spirit wants to guide us through life.
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The word “guide” in John 16:13 is the Greek word odega — a word that describes a tour guide or one who would lead you on an excursion. As we have seen, a tour guide is a professional who has gained an intimate knowledge of a site you want to see through years of dedication and experience. He knows all the shortcuts and all the points of interest, and he can relate its history in depth. Your willingness to allow the guide to lead and your willingness to follow his directions will save you from making mistakes and drawing incorrect conclusions about where you are, where you are headed, and what are you are seeing.
This Greek word odega describes the guiding ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Jesus was informing us that if we are willing to listen to the Holy Spirit and to follow His instructions, He will act as a Guide for our lives. Like the tour guides discussed in the example above, the Holy Spirit knows what lies ahead of us. He knows the obstacles we should avoid; He sees our ultimate destination; and He knows God’s plan for our lives down to the smallest detail. The Holy Spirit knows every route God desires for us to take — and if we are willing to follow the Spirit’s leading, He will give us a wonderful and memorable experience along the path of life.
My friend, I want to tell you that the Holy Spirit deeply desires to guide you in life. If you’ll let Him lead you, He will offer you sound guidance in every sphere of your life. If you listen to His voice, He will tell you the career you should choose, the person you should marry, and the place you should live. He is the only One who knows the future; therefore, He is the only One who is truly qualified to lead and guide you.
Divine guidance is one of the biggest challenges we face in the Christian life. However, Jesus explicitly said that the Holy Spirit is here to lead and guide us every step along the way. What a relief and security it affords us to know that God the Father has charged the Holy Spirit with the responsibility of leading and guiding us to the right place at the right time — every single time. And He also warns us away from certain people, places, and situations. This is His job! Without His direction, we are incapable of discerning where we should go in life, the people with whom we should surround ourselves, and the best timing for our endeavors.
However, in order for this to happen, we have to make an effort to listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice and be willing to follow His instruction. If we will do that, we’ll find that the Spirit of God is leading us, just as He did the apostles in the book of Acts!
Today I urge you to open your heart to the guiding ministry of the Holy Spirit. Trust that He is the Spirit of Truth who will not mislead you. “Take the hand” of the Holy Spirit and tell Him from your heart: “Holy Spirit, I trust You from this moment forward to be my Guide every step of the way!”
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Holy Spirit, I open my heart to Your leading and guiding in life. I repent for foolishly having tried to lead myself through difficult decisions and questions, when you were always right there, wanting to lead me along the way. You know the plan of God for me down to the smallest detail, and from this time forward, I will do my best to consult You and to yield to Your guidance for my life. You know everything about me, my future, and which steps I need to take next. Rather than try to figure it all out on my own, I entrust myself to you as my official Guide to lead me each step of the way!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I declare by faith that I am led by the Holy Spirit. He was sent to lead and direct me, and I am learning to hear His voice, to recognize His leading, and to allow Him to be the Senior Guide in my life. I know that as a result of being guided by the Spirit, my life is going to be more adventuresome and filled with less mistakes, for the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, and He will never lead me down a wrong path. Holy Spirit, I’m ready — let’s get started today!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Can you think of a moment in your life when the Holy Spirit supernaturally led you through difficult decisions and questions? When was that experience, and have you ever shared it with anyone else?
- How do you recognize the guidance of the Holy Spirit? If someone asked you to describe what it is like to be led by the Holy Spirit, how would you put it into words? Why don’t you practice describing it so you’ll be ready to help someone else understand what it is like to receive guidance from the Holy Spirit?
- What situation are you facing right now that requires supernatural direction? How will you let the Holy Spirit guide you down the path that lies before you?