My friend Mike is training to run a marathon. He’s in his fifties, so he watches what he eats and gets up early to run several days a week with friends. He’s always loved running. He once told me that he feels total freedom when he runs, but you’ll never see Mike run alone. He always runs with friends. He’s up to a half marathon now – running with a friend on his left and a friend on his right. It’s not that he lacks the courage to run alone; on the contrary, he has exceptional courage. Mike is legally blind. When he runs, he holds on to one end of a shoe string and his friend holds the other end. So while he cannot see where he’s running, he can still know the freedom he knew prior to losing his eyesight in his twenties.
Running for Mike is only possible because he is willing to be led. His willingness to follow another communicates a tremendous amount of trust in his running partners. He needs them. He depends on them even if they lead him down a path he may not have chosen for himself. He pays a great deal of attention to the slightest movement of the shoe string.
It is said of Jesus that he was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. Jesus was willing to follow, even when it meant going to a place that he might not have chosen for himself. . .
It is significant that both times Paul uses the phrase “led by the Spirit” it is in the context of one’s battle with temptation. This is the context for Jesus as well. Clearly the lesson is this: our greatest need for dependence on the Holy Spirit takes place during our greatest times of temptation.
How might that change the nature of your battle with temptation? What if, when the desires of your heart began to heat up, you gave your undivided attention to the leading of the Holy Spirit? Like Mike, my marathon-running friend, your mind would be focused on the slightest movement of the shoestrings.
The Holy Spirit didn’t lead Jesus into temptation; he led Jesus through the temptation. Jesus needed to be willing to let him lead. So do you, and so do I.
Taken from Just Like Jesus – biblical strategies for growing well by Phil Moser, pages 50-51. Available for purchase at www.biblicalstrategies.com