“Oh, what a beautiful morning!” Each day of our trip to Israel this past February began with those words from the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, “Oklahoma!” As the tour bus departed from our hotel each day, the song was lifted up by Menachem, our tour guide, who then spent the rest of the day bringing us insight and knowledge about the sites we visited. In many ways, it was that insight, provided by someone who knew the country and its history like the back of his hand, that made the trip the memorable experience that it was. Without the help of our guide, we still might have seen many wonderful things, but we would not have experienced them quite as fully as we did. As our tour guide, Menachem was invaluable to us as we traveled in a place we had never been before.
As followers of Christ, we have a guide who helps us each step of the way along our journey through life. That guide is the Holy Spirit, who gives each one of us guidance as we face the challenges, difficulties, and decisions that face us every day. It is the same Holy Spirit who guided Moses when he raised his staff and the Red Sea parted (Isaiah 63:11-14). It is the same Holy Spirit who led Jesus in His ministry (Luke 4:1). And it is the same Holy Spirit who guided the early church in its corporate decisions (Acts 13:2). For each of us, as individual believers, the Holy Spirit dwells within us, to lead us and to guide us. And when we are led and guided by the Holy Spirit, we are the sons and daughters of God (Romans 8:14).
In what ways does the Holy Spirit guide us? He guides us as we read the Word of God, helping us to understand it and to keep it before us at all times (Isaiah 59:21). He guides us in prayer. When we are weak and do not know what to pray for or how to pray, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groanings that are too deep for words (Romans 8:26). He guides us through the spiritual gifts that each of us has been given, empowering us to use those gifts in service to God and to the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). He guides us as we witness to others, sharing the Good News of salvation through Jesus (Mark 13:11), giving us the words to speak (1 Corinthians 2:13). And, He guides us into a knowledge of truth, the truth that comes only from God (John 16:13).
Like Menachem on our Israel trip, the Holy Spirit is invaluable to us as we walk through life. It is only through His guidance that we can fully realize the goal of becoming more and more like Christ.