Travelling is one of the great themes in the Bible. Abraham left his home and journeyed to a foreign land in obedience to God’s command, Jesus and his disciples spent three years traveling together, and Paul, Timothy, and James were missionaries in foreign lands. The life of faith that Christians are called to, described through the life-journeys of believers in Hebrews 11, is both beautiful and sobering.
The idea of being on a journey resonates with every human, because we are constantly encountering new challenges in which wisdom is needed. Whether on a voyage far from home or while making a way through various stages of life, acting with wisdom is difficult. The choices we need to make are usually complicated. Many circumstances in life are beyond the scope of our influence. In those cases we especially need the wisdom to trust that God is in control. How do Christians learn to live wisely on this journey of life?
These verses tell us that we need to rely on both Scripture and the guidance of the Holy Spirit:
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy. 3:16-17 NIV
“I have much more to say to you. It is more than you can handle right now. 13 But when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own. He will speak only what he hears. And he will tell you what is still going to happen. 14 He will bring me glory. That’s because what he receives from me he will show to you. 15 Everything that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said what the Holy Spirit receives from me he will show to you.” John 16:12-15 NIV
If the Bible can “thoroughly equip (us) for every good work” why do we need the Holy Spirit? Isn’t learning from a book, and especially the Bible, more reliable than learning from a spirit? What could the Holy Spirit add to what the Bible can teach us?
“I have much more to say to you. It is more than you can handle right now. John 16:12
We need to be taught as we go through life stages. To take an everyday example: a child entering preschool needs to learn the basics of making friends and taking turns. Getting a lecture on choosing a career path would be more than they could handle. In the same way, Jesus taught his disciples with truth that was relevant to them, and the Holy Spirit meets us where we are.
The Bible is “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”. (2 Timothy 3:16b). But when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. (John 16:13)
The Spirit helps us understand how to apply scripture to our lives and will prompt us to act and speak in ways that build his kingdom. Jesus did not give his disciples a huge amount of information while expecting them to figure out how it applied to all the situations in which they would find themselves. He taught them more through stories and by his example of his actions in many situations. In the same way, the Holy Spirit assists us in applying the Bible’s wisdom to everyday life.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
We can all get discouraged, and need perspective and the comfort that the Holy Spirit provides. Jesus said the Holy Spirit will be a comfort to all believers in whatever circumstance we find ourselves.
In 1 Kings 19:12b, God speaks to Elijah in “the sound of a low whisper”, not through the awesome and mighty sounds of the wind, earthquake, and fire that preceded it. In his message, Alex said that this “thin” sound is like milled grain being poured into a container.
Find a place where you can encounter ‘thin’ sounds. Some of my personal favorites sounds – wind whispering through dry grasses, the metallic brushing of Canadian geese in flight, melting snow and ice, and a chain moved by the wind, swinging against a flagpole with an irregular rhythm. Even in a noisy household, there are ‘thin’ sounds–a small child breathing, a pet padding across a hardwood floor, chopping and stirring as food is prepared.
As you tune into thin and beautiful sounds in our noisy world, ask God to help you be sensitive to the gentle leading of the Holy Spirit.