What does it mean to be led by the Spirit? For Jesus, it meant allowing God to lead him, no matter how uncomfortable he felt.
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned to familiar waters. Nazareth was where he grew up. He knew everyone by name and their stories. And everyone knew him and his family.
At the local synagogue, Jesus volunteered (as he normally did) to read to his neighbors from Isaiah:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me. He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (vv. 18-19)
With these words, Jesus proclaimed who he was and what he was about. But familiarity truly breeds contempt: “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” The very people who knew Jesus didn’t really know him at all.
Of course you and I have never made Messianic claims. But the same Spirit that led Jesus leads us. It leads us to also share in the gospel that can help the poor, the marginalized and the oppressed.
And yet you usually don’t follow these paths. It’s safer to express your faith within closed doors among like-minded people. It’s uncomfortable to go door-to-door to share your faith. You don’t want people to think you’re weird or annoying. These are people you have to live with everyday, you tell yourself.
Following the Holy Spirit doesn’t always mean doing something you feel uncomfortable. But it does nudge at you to do something for God. You weren’t made to just sit down and do nothing.
As a church, everyone seems to ask ourselves, “How are we doing as a church?” But instead you should be asking yourselves “What is the Holy Spirit leading us to do for God?”
To know God is to know your mission in life, just as it was when Jesus stood before his neighbors. To ignore the Holy Spirit, you deny yourself both.