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Following the Spirit's Lead

Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?
– Acts 18:26–31

As I look at this passage, I see the heart of our mission—crossing barriers to bring those on the outside into the community of faith. But who is behind this providential encounter? Well, God is, by His Holy Spirit.

The scene opens with the angel of the Lord speaking directly to Philip, telling him, “Arise and go south.” And what does Philip do? He gets up and he goes.

Now what’s important in this encounter is Philip’s response. He doesn’t say to God: “This is not part of my strategic plan.” He doesn’t make up excuses. He doesn’t shrink back in fear. He submits to the leading and guiding of the Spirit. Even though he doesn’t understand how everything is going to work out, he trusts that God knows, and so he simply obeys in faith.

How about us? How is God calling us to be used to fulfill His Great Commission? Perhaps He’s calling us to bear witness boldly in our places of work and our neighborhoods. Perhaps He’s calling us to radical generosity—giving beyond what is comfortable for the sake of the kingdom. Perhaps He is even calling some of us to answer the call to make disciples among the nations. Are we open to the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit in these things?

We are the means by which those on the outside are brought on the inside. Across the world, people are asking, “How can we understand unless someone guides us?” And so, how can we bear witness to our neighbors? How can we give lavishly toward kingdom-building efforts? Only by the power of the Holy Spirit in us.

Let us call upon the Spirit of Jesus to fill us and make us attentive to His leading; to grant us this privilege to be used by Him to advance His kingdom here and to the ends of the earth.

Lloyd Kim, Reflection Dec 7, 2021
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