Mention the leading of the Holy Spirit and one would almost expect to hear accounts of manifestations, prophetic utterances, mighty miracles and great spiritual exploits. Not that these are inaccurate but perhaps we have been conditioned to expect only the big things when the Spirit desires to lead us even in the most mundane of chores. In fact, I wrestled with the Spirit in one of these little leadings just the other day.
It had been a packed morning for me (as it usually is with our household of six* children) – getting the kids up and ready, helping with breakfast, rushing out and back with the bags of groceries. Tired and exhausted, and it was only 10am, I had a quick shower and changed to leave for work. The hot and humid weather didn’t help at all and within minutes, I was perspiring again as I packed my computer and work stuff, all the while thinking to myself, “Gotta get to office quick. So much work to do!”
Just then, my one-year old daughter, Deborah, crawled in and I was greeted with her broad smile … and a strong scent that filled the entire room. My little one had done ‘big business’ and there was no ignoring that fact, and smell. Immediately, I rationalised, “I am too busy and I am running late. Serene will just have to change her.” At that moment, the Holy Spirit reminded me, “Your wife is unpacking the groceries, and the children are waiting for her to resume school with them. Help her. Change Deborah’s diaper.”
“But I am late! I have work to do!” I found myself arguing. The truth was that I didn’t want to do it and I didn’t relish the inconvenience of the delay and detour from the nobler task of preparing the next lesson for my students at the School of Ministry. But the one who needed to learn a lesson in ministry that morning was me, and the Holy Spirit gently said again, “Help her. Change Deborah’s diaper.” This time, I heeded the instruction and obeyed the Holy Spirit’s leading.
It is definitely more exciting to be led by the Spirit to do mighty things for God. But God is looking for obedience not only in the big things, but also in the little things. Interestingly, it is when we are faithful in the little things that God will move us on to bigger things. Changing a diaper may not appear to extend the Kingdom of God at all, but it revealed the pride and self-importance I had placed upon myself and my ministry. I may desire to excel in matters of the Kingdom but God knows the need to develop the character of the Kingdom in me before I can be trusted to manage such matters. And that is what the leading of the Spirit is all about; that we may be changed by the Spirit into the image of Jesus Christ, from glory to glory (2 Cor 3:18). Likewise, Rom 8:14 says, “For as many as are led by the Spirit, these are sons of God.”
Don’t limit the Holy Spirit to power encounters and supernatural happenings in church services and ministries only. If you’d allow Him, God desires to lead you and guide you through every aspect of life in extremely real and practical ways. The next time you feel a prompting to mop the floor, to switch off the light, to pick up litter, to clean up after your children, or to hug your spouse, it could very well be the leading of the Holy Spirit. Be sensitive to His voice and be prompt to obey.
*as at the time of writing this article; the number has since increased to seven.