In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.” —Proverbs 3:6
Many schools today have guid-counsellors. If the guidance given is wrong, disastrous results may ensue. As Christians, we too have a Guidance Counsellor, the Holy Spirit. “He will guide you into all truth.” John 16:13.
Every true Christian wishes to be guided by God. We sing, “Guide us, O Thou Jehovah.” Surely this is the desire of every Christian reading this article. It should be of particular interest to the young Christian whose life’s direction and work may as yet not be clear.
The question is this — Is it possible to know that God is leading me? It is a very difficult matter and even some of God’s most respected servants have not always been sure of the way. However, as they look back, they can see that God did actually lead them, even if they were not fully aware of it at the time. Most of the trouble in guidance lies with ourselves. Often we want God merely to confirm the path we have already chosen. We want His acquiescence on that which we have already decided. God may allow this in His permissive will, but this is not His best for us. God has a perfect way for each one of us. Our prayer should be “Teach me Thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path.” “Not my will, but Thine be done.” Like Paul, we should say: “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?”
There are certain conditions which must be met before God will guide us. First of all, we must be amenable to His leading. “The meek will He guide in judgment” (Psa. 25:9). Then we must realize our own lack and depend on God’s wisdom. “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God.” How many times the writer has claimed this promise. Finally, we must be prepared to exercise both faith and obedience. “If any man do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.” There is a principle laid down here, namely that we will get no guidance if we have made up our mind to go our own way. These words were found in the flyleaf of an earnest Christian’s Bible: “My soul is not my own, for it belongs to Jesus Christ who purchased it with His own precious blood. To withhold it from Him would be theft, for He paid the full price on Calvary. Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.” With such an attitude we can expect God’s guidance.
This brings us to a fuller consideration of the matter. It is not only knowing which way to go; what decision to make at any particular point in our lives; but it should be a leading along the line of God’s will, a leading into the knowledge of His perfect will. God has promised both in the Old Testament and in the New, that He will guide and direct in our lives.
To know God’s guidance is one of the great comforts of the Christian life— one which the unbeliever cannot possibly know. This does not mean that there will be no difficulties in our lives, but there will be a life of blessing and fruitfulness. Paul was clearly told by the Lord that he was to testify of Christ both in Jerusalem and in Rome. He was convinced that this was God’s will for him, yet consider the troubles on the way —riots, shipwreck, imprisonment. Through it all, Paul was happy in the centre of His will.
Someone has said that this is “the age of the shrug.” We refuse to get excited about anything, no matter how serious the times. People just don’t want to be bothered, it is too much trouble to be concerned. It is an age of indifference and complacency. However, we cannot afford to shrug off God’s will for us.
So then, how can we, in our everyday lives, know the will of God and His guidance for the way? How may we discern His will? First of all, do not use tricks, such as opening your Bible at random and hope that you will perceive God’s will in this fashion. Even the devil can use God’s word. One man tried this and opened at the words, “Judas went out and hanged himself.” He said: “I didn’t do too good that time. I’ll try again.” This time he opened up at “Go and do thou likewise.” We can discover God’s will for us in the Holy Scriptures, but only by prayerful, careful reading and studying of His Word. Secondly, we can call upon God who dwells within us by His Holy Spirit. All the fullness of His Power and Wisdom is available to us through the indwelling Spirit of God who will lead us as we engage in prayer and are guided by His Word. Lastly, circumstances combined with the Word of God and Spirit of God will often mould and move us in a certain direction. When these three coincide — the Word of God, the Spirit of God, with the inner conviction that this is the will of God, combined with circumstances — then go forward, don’t wait. You will recall, the Israelites were told to go forward and fight the foe. They knew God’s will, but held back. Then, at a later time, they said they would go to battle, but God said, “Don’t go now.” It was too late. They went anyway, and were defeated.
God does not always show us all His will immediately. Often He wishes to exercise us. As we go forward in faith, He opens up the way for us. Do not be discouraged if God does not immediately reveal all His will to you. However, as He does open up His will and you are sure of it, don’t hold back — go forward as He leads.
If God leads us day by day, He will also lead in our public meetings. If we are not amenable to God’s will and leading throughout the week, do you suppose that He will lead us for an hour on Sunday morning?
When led by God’s Spirit, it is not necessarily by a great supernatural leading, but by a quiet direction from God. Often guidance comes in a very natural and easy way by asking Him to guide us and direct our thoughts and by committing our will to Him. Many are stumbled looking for a strange, supernatural experience in the matter of guidance, much as many of us looked for a strange feeling when we wanted to be saved. All we had to do was to take God at His Word, and it’s much the same as far as guidance is concerned.
Often the Lord leads in mysterious ways. These are apparently contrary to common sense. There is an earthly wisdom and a heavenly wisdom. Abraham went out, not knowing whither he went. It appeared foolish, yet he went out in faith. What a blessing he was to Israel and the whole world! Noah was considered a fool, but his action in building the ark and in obeying God saved the human race from extinction.
What are some of the results of being led by the Lord? Firstly, He will guide us into all truth. It is not merely knowing what a Scripture means, but rather into the experience and enjoyment of it. Secondly, there will be a feeling of well-being, knowing that we are in His will. Finally, the blessing of the Lord will be upon our lives. This will not necessarily be without difficulties.
His will is always best in our lives. All that seems most wrong is most right if it be His sweet will.
He will guide you! He shall direct your paths!