The Teaching Spirit
A daily devotion for May 13th
26I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.
...just as it has taught you, remain in him (1 John 2:27b).
The emphasis in these verses is on the words
as it has taught you. What the Spirit has taught you, not what He has taught the other fellow. After the resurrection, Jesus said to Peter,
Feed my sheep. And Peter turned and looked at John and said,
Lord, what about him? Do you remember what Jesus said?
That is none of your business. You follow me. What I teach this man to do is for him to know. What I have said for you to do, that is for you to do (John 21:15-22).
This is an intensely personal thing. What you have learned from the word of the Spirit, through the intermediacy of human teachers, is to be the ground of your actions. But your activity must always be based on the conviction of what has come home to you. In other words, you walk by faith in the Word of God as God has taught it to you and not by what you have learned by tradition. Tradition has, historically, been one of the most deadly foes of the church and has held people back from advancement in their spiritual life.
Any time you condition people to take their truth secondhand through some other individual, some line of authorities standing in succession above them, you have conditioned them to respond immediately to falsehood as well if it starts from the top. That is why hierarchies go astray so quickly and so easily. No, in the Christian life, all truth is intensely personal and comes directly to you from the Holy Spirit.
That means you do not need to have a scholar interpreting the Word of God for you. You can be grateful for scholars, you can read their helpful comments, and the Lord will use them to teach you something, but you are not dependent upon them. You have no need that any person teach you at that level, for the Holy Spirit can instruct you. We must be open, of course, to hear all that others have to say. Charles Spurgeon once said,
I do not understand those men who have such a high opinion of what the Holy Spirit says to them, and such a low opinion of what he says to anyone else. We must remember that the Spirit of God does speak through other people, as well as through us. But, finally, we must act only on what the Lord has said to us. That is what made it possible for Martin Luther to stand alone before the emperor, with all the assembled dignitaries of state and church arrayed in opposition to him, and to say,
Here I stand! I can do no other, God help me. He was listening to the voice of the Spirit to him.
Now this obedience is absolutely necessary because it is only on this basis that you can
abide in him, and that is where fruitfulness comes from. You cannot go another's route, you cannot live another's spiritual life for him or her or force him or her to go your route either. You are to open the Word, pour over it, listen to the Holy Spirit in it, listen to others as the Holy Spirit has taught them, and then, faced with this entire array of external testimony, obey that which the Spirit confirms to your heart is the truth. John says when you do that, you will abide in Him.
Father, thank You for this amazing phenomenon of a teaching Spirit within me. Make me willing to hear, having eyes to see and ears to hear. Let it penetrate to that depth of spirit by which I shall understand and grasp these amazing riches in Christ Jesus.
Life Application: The Holy Spirit is our personal teacher as we spend time in the Word of God. Are we open to listening to the Spirit of Christ in our brothers and sisters also?
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.