Jun19TueJune 19, 2018
Oh, the dreaded words of your GPS when you realized that you have missed a turn and now your unit is working on processing the error of your ways and you realize in that moment how much time is lost due to your error. Today, we put great faith in our GPS to get us to our intended destination and for the most part it’s a great tool. I can’t help but laugh when I think of that Office episode where Michael convinces Dwight that they need to turn immediately and they end up driving into a lake. https://vimeo.com/15390422
When I reflect on divine guidance, it is God, our intimate and close Father who uses His Holy Spirit to guide us and to lead us like a GPS, but so much more personal. He has so much grace for us as well even when we get off track and how He refines us through His Word and leads us by His still small voice.
I remember so clearly God’s leading for Sharon and I when we made a shift and transitioned from a youth ministry in London, ON to Surrey, BC. At the time when I was approached about the position out west, there was no good reason to move. We had a vibrant youth ministry that year and had seen over 20 youth place their new found faith in Jesus. However, I told the person on the phone that I would be open to consider it. The day that the package came I was reading Oswald Chambers’ devotional, “My Upmost For His Highest”. It was based on Luke 9:61 where everyone who was asked to follow Jesus said, but… I have to do this or that, basically the timing wasn’t good. He went on to say that often when God calls you it goes against your common sense and that when the LORD sends an opportunity of adventure your way, take it.
I knew right then that God was leading me and it was time for us to recalculate and in a few short months we would be on our way to a new ministry.
Here are some truths I’ve learned along the way about how God leads, guides and directs.
The first step to God’s leading in our lives is the willingness to lay down our own plans and purposes and fully surrender them to God.
We need to get to the place where we recognize that planning apart from God is inadequate, can be an adventure in missing the point and is a plan that is never fully realized for our life. In fact, the Bible says that planning without God is the death of a plan!
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a person, but its end is the way of death.
Jeremiah also clearly states the problem of man’s inability to direct his life.
Jeremiah 10:23 Lord, we know that people do not control their own destiny. It is not in their power to determine what will happen to them.
Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
You get the point J
There is a plan that comes in to being fully when we learn to fully lean on God. We learn to do by acknowledging Him every step of the way.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding.
6 Acknowledge him in all your ways,
and he will make your paths straight.
Practically, how do we acknowledge God?
Often when we think of planning or God’s will for that matter, our mind immediately goes to the following:
Who will I marry? (someone who will make me happy and who is perfect, of course).
Where will I work? (where it will be wonderful, challenging, and financially rewarding).
What car should I buy? (one that never breaks down).
What house should I buy? (one next door to Christians so I won’t have to witness).
Where should I go to school? (where I can make all A’s, meet the right person, or get away from mom and dad).
What kind of pastor does God want our church to have? (someone who can walk on water, leap tall buildings, and fly faster than a speeding bullet) .
However, God’s will is so much more encompassing of our lives than just this.
Clarity in His leading is discovered through devotion to the LORD and a real desire to do His will.
to please and glorify Him.
Psalm 25:12 The Lord shows his faithful followers
the way they should live.
2 Corinthians 5:9 So then whether we are alive or away, we make it our ambition to please him.
Psalm 37:4-5 Then you will take delight in the Lord,
and he will answer your prayers.
5 Commit your future to the Lord!
Trust in him, and he will act on your behalf.
1 Thessalonians 4:1 Finally then, brothers and sisters, we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received instruction from us about how you must live and please God (as you are in fact living) that you do so more and more.
Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Clarity is sharpened through His Word
In the Word of God, we have specific commands. Some things we don’t have to pray about
If a road sign says, speed limit 80km/h, that’s a command and if we speed, we know we are liable to get a speeding ticket
It is God’s will for us to pray, to know His Word, to meet together regularly, for husbands to love their wives, etc. We are not to steal, commit adultery, lie, spread gossip, grumble, or be critical. All such commands express the will of God.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
We know if something contradicts the revealed Word of God that we already have, that we don’t even need to ask the question.
In the Word of God, we also have principles or guidelines
If a road sign says, ‘high winds on bridge ahead’ we know that it is a caution. We can still move forward with the understanding that we need to be aware and be in control.
John 17:14-16 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them, because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but that you keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to the world just as I do not belong to the world.
So, the guideline here is that while we are part of this present world, we shouldn’t just conform to the culture around us. There should be a marked difference in the way that we treat others.
God leads us to the destination by His Holy Spirit
Acts 20:22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.
Prayer is a two way conversation
We are gifted uniquely by God and have talents, abilities and God given strengths that He wants on display!
There are circumstances and open and closed doors always for us to consider
Philippians 1:12-18 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that my situation has actually turned out to advance the gospel: 13 The whole imperial guard and everyone else knows that I am in prison for the sake of Christ, 14 and most of the brothers and sisters, having confidence in the Lord because of my imprisonment, now more than ever dare to speak the word fearlessly.
I often personally reflect on how a move for my family has significantly affected my life as a child and then as an adult, the lives of my children in particular.
God uses the counsel of other believers for the process of confirmation
He can use a word of prophecy, a vision, a dream, a strong impression all to give us the confirmation we need to step confidently in the direction that He is leading us.
He also uses our common sense and wisdom at times.
For example, someone may want to become an artist or an architect but does they have artistic talent or drafting capabilities? If not, it is probably not the Lord leading them there.
Learning to bloom where we are planted.
…and at times He doesn’t.
There are definitely things that we need to take into account when we discern what God’s leading, guiding and directing is.
God never calls us to do something that is contrary to His character, His revealed will in Scripture.
God doesn’t often give us a desire to do something or be something that is completely incongruent to who He has created us to be.
The most important thing is our daily relationship with the Lord and keeping and living in the moment to moment with Him, acknowledging Him in all of our ways!
More verses to encourage you along the way!
Proverbs 16:1-3 The intentions of the heart belong to a man,
but the answer of the tongue comes from the Lord.
2 All the ways of a person seem right in his own opinion,
but the Lord weighs the motives.
3 Commit your works to the Lord,
and your plans will be established.
Proverbs 16:9 A person plans his course,
but the Lord directs his steps.
James 1:5 But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him.
1 Peter 5:6-7 And God will exalt you in due time, if you humble yourselves under his mighty hand 7 by casting all your cares on him because he cares for you.