What's Steering You?

What spirit drives you? Does the spirit of fear influence your everyday life, or does the Spirit of God? Does a spirit of anger hover over your heart, or a spirit of love? The word spirit means “a governing influence or disposition.”1 God doesn’t want fear or any other negative influence to govern our hearts (2 Timothy 1:7). These influences will lead us down a path we won’t want to travel.

We can think of a spirit that drives us as a rudder that turns a boat in a particular direction and steers us to a particular destination. We can be steered into the shining waters of God’s strength, joy, and victory or into the murky pools of negativity, darkness, and desperation. Even when the storms come, with the right rudder we can continue on God’s course for our lives. Consider the following “rudders” and the destinations that they bring us to. What spirit do you want to drive you?


  • The spirit of fear leads us to paralysis, isolation, and missed opportunities.
  • The spirit of anger leads us to say harsh words, harbor bitter spirits, and have “out of control” reactions.
  • A critical spirit leads us to undermine people’s value and forget their strengths.
  • A selfish spirit leads us to forgo God’s plan, methods, and timing in favor of our own.
  • An anxious spirit leads us to focus on the problem instead of our heavenly Father who takes care of His children.
  • A spirit of laziness leads us to an unproductive life and a lack of fulfillment.
  • A covetous spirit leads us to take what others have or to resent them for it.

  • A loving spirit leads us to joy, “together,” fulfillment, and blessing others.
  • A peaceful spirit leads to a stable heart, a sound mind, and clear direction.
  • A spirit of hope leads us to take initiatives, pray without ceasing, and trust God.
  • The spirit of endurance leads us to complete the next leg of the race, give our all in each round of the fight, and not give up.
  • A spirit of wisdom leads us in God’s paths, avoiding pitfalls and doing good.
  • The Holy Spirit leads us to understand the truth, refuse sin and embrace God’s ways, and make a difference in the world around us.

 Are you headed in the right direction? Am I? If our rudder is leading us in the wrong direction, we can turn our boat around by replacing the wrong influences with the right ones. It takes a deliberate choice to “put off” the wrong influences and “put on” the right ones as Colossians 3:8-14 teaches us to do.

Allow God and His Word to be the helmsmen that steer your life in the right direction—into His joy, strength, fulfillment, and effectiveness. Refuse the wrong rudders, and flourish in the power and influence of the right spirit!

May this be our prayer: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24, NKJV). Amen.

Discussion Point: (Please leave a comment below.) Of the 7 negative rudders, which do you think is the most subtle, that it takes over gradually and we don't realize it until it's too late? And of the 6 good rudders, which one would you most like to steer you right now?



1 Pierce, Larry. The Online Bible. CD-ROM. Winterbourne, Ontario: Larry Pierce, 2007.

© Copyright 2014 by Katy Kauffman


rudders, spirit, direction in life, fear, anger, love, peace, joy, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

Comments (6)

  • anon

    Good job! I love this one, this is so true.
    I think the spirit of selfishness is the most subtle, as most people who are don't realise they are.
    as for the good Rudders, being guided by the Holy Spirit would help achieve the others and so would be my top choice

    May 09, 2014
  • anon

    Hey, I would agree that selfishness is subtle, something I've been aware of recently. The desire to get ahead of God can creep in there, and we have to guard against it. And the Holy Spirit is an excellent choice! Thanks for commenting!

    May 09, 2014
  • anon

    I have to agree. Selfishness seems VERY subtle. Alot of times you dont realize that you are being selfish until something happens in effect of your selfishness.  Howver,  iI had a tie between two good rudders that i want to steer me first  is to pray without ceasing and to trust God. The second one is: Give our all in each round of fight and not give up. I admit, i some times have a hard time with both of those.

    May 09, 2014
  • anon

    You're right, Kalin. The consequences of selfishness can greatly affect us and those around us, too. I liked the rudders you chose - hope and endurance. Those are rudders we could all use in so many different situations of life. Thanks for reading and posting!


    May 09, 2014
  • anon

    Great post, Katy!
    Of the 7 negative rudders, which do you think is the most subtle, that it takes over gradually and we don't realize it until it's too late? I think a selfish spirit is the most subtle only because it is one that I think all of us constantly have to struggle with without even realizing. Since we live every day focused on ourselves--our time, our desires, our tasks, our work, etc.--we tend to keep that mindset, all the while blinded to the needs and wants of others. I find myself many times only praying for myself: my future, my desires, my hopes, my dreams. Yet God says that we are to put others before ourselves! This is very difficult to do when we live our life every day according to us. Our focus should shift from "how can I get further, more, etc." to "how can I help this person get further, more, etc." If that happens, God will bless us tremendously--even if we don't see the reward until we reach heaven.
    And of the 6 good rudders, which one would you most like to steer you right now? I think the one I would most like to steer me right now is the Spirit of Peace. This is because I have struggled with anxiety and it has kept me back so much in the past. If I allowed the Spirit of Peace to steer me, then I would take on every opportunity God gives to me without allowing fear to get in the way.
    Thank you for sharing this, Katy! =)

    May 09, 2014
  • anon

    Tessa, I loved what you wrote! I feel like God is working in me the same way, to put my focus on Him and others. Whatever dreams or hopes we have, He's got it covered! And I hope I can trust Him. Putting others first is something I have been studying in Philippians. Chapter 2 is full of how to have joy, and a big part is being selfless and striving for the things of Christ.


    Thank you for your insightful comments. About the spirit of peace as well. No fear!  

    May 09, 2014

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Winning the Victory: A Blog by Katy Kauffman

Award-Winning Author, Editor, Bible Teacher

As co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies, Katy is a Bible study author and editor of Refresh Bible Study Magazine. Follow Katy's blog to receive posts sharing practical strategies for winning life's spiritual battles. 


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