"For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God" TNIV Version
I get fed up sometimes of people telling me that all Christians should know the bible inside out, that they should be able to quote verse and chapter to back up every viewpoint they utter. Yes, I agree that this would be a useful tool for debating beliefs with other Christians, but surely you can be a Christian (even one with a strong faith) without being able to do this. The above verse certainly seems to suggest this. According to the verse above the most important thing to be children of God is to be led by the spirit.
What is The Spirit? A few weeks ago I found myself having to explain what The Spirit was (along with one other Christian) to a group of Year 6 children, most of whom had non-faith backgrounds. I suddenly realised how little the term 'Spirit' as understood by the general population bears resemblance to the meaning used by Christians. Surely Spirit is most commonly used to mean alchol, or liquer. But clearly this is not what is meant by 'the Spirit of God'.
So, how do you explain The Spirit of God to non-believers? In this I can only speak from my own experiences. For me the Spirit is a feeling, a warmth that often appears at the most difficult times. It's like the warmest fire burning inside my heart, so powerful that it makes me want to cry for joy. It can be a conviction that I should do something which I know God would approve of, but seems totally irrational to my conscience mind e.g. standing up infront of others when my knees are shaking. At the times when I truly feel the Spirit I can't help but be led by it, to do otherwise would be so painful that I could hardly bear it.
But could I honestly say that I'm led by the Spirit of God 24/7? I wish I could, but I suspect if I'm honest the best I can say is that I try to be led by the Spirit yet can be easily distracted. In today's world we are taught to live for the moment and expect instant gratification. And, therefore, it can be hard to follow something that can appear as abstract as the spirit; that requires complete single-minded attention; and whose aim is to fulfil God's kingdom (something that can often seem so far away from the world we live on). I often worry that I could so easily find myself led by money and the world's expectations rather than The Spirit of God. This is why it's so important to find the time to reflect on the bible, the positives of the day, or how our faith is being expressed! This is why it's so important to find where and when you hear the Spirit the most and make time for those moments!