Guidance from the Lord is something most of us long for and find a challenge to be confident about when we do receive it. We so often want the quick wins in life but rarely does it happen that way. Generally, it is about wanting to hear His Spirit speak into our hearts.
Key guidance concepts:
- God will never guide you against the principles in His Word but will always guide you to follow His Word and of course, it helps if you read it.
- God usually wants you to use the brain he gave you to make some of the basic choices in life such as where you will shop for your food or what you will wear today. It is sometimes good to ask Him but often He may be silent, just because it is something you are quite capable of doing for yourself.
- God’s primary will and plan for the believer’s life, is to grow and mature in the faith and all that means. (Hebrews 6:1) This includes His plan for us to express our faith in serving others. Ephesians 2:10, James 2:17
- When we are doing something for God, we want The Lord to be doing it through us. Psalm 127:1
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Develop your prayer life.
It is wonderful if you want to hear God’s guidance but there is normally no instant pathway for learning to hear His Spirit speaking to you. Having an “ear that can hear” comes from prayer and seeking Him each day.
If each day is about giving God priority in your life, then you will learn to recognise His voice guiding you more and more. Giving Him priority will involve prayer, reading His Word, learning to walk in reliance on His Spirit and aiming to live a life pleasing to Him.
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
If you have given God second place in your life and you suddenly need His input, it is going to be a bigger challenge because how will your untrained inner/spiritual ear hear His voice.
We walk by faith.
God rarely speaks to anyone audibly. He is looking for us to walk in faith. (Hebrews 11:6) Therefore, there will always be that level of not knowing for sure from a human perspective if the guidance you believe you received, is truly from God or not.
5Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight
What about silence
Sometimes we can ask God and it appears as if He is silent. We need to choose to have faith and know that He always hears and is always with us in all circumstances. His silence may be a lesson in Trust or for some other reason. The response should be to never give up praying. Luke 18:1
What about a “fleece”?
Gideon is famous for the “fleece” he put out to get clear guidance from God. (Judges 6) Gideon asked God to make the ground wet but a woolen fleece dry and vise versa to confirm the guidance or more importantly for Gideon to be confident that God would go with Him as He said He would. God chose Gideon for a task and did what He needed to do to get Gideon on board.
The problem with this approach is that we are asking God to take away the faith aspect. Jesus called the generation wicked and adulterous when He was asked for a sign (Matthew 12:39). Gideon’s story happened but it is not a pattern for us to follow and we need to remember Hebrews 11:6 which says that without faith it is impossible to please Him.
Sometimes it is valuable to talk and pray with other believers and seek wise input even when you believe you have heard God’s voice clearly.
Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors, there is safety. (ESV)
In seeking advice, remember that God is ultimately looking to connect with us personally and we need to come to our own conclusion for ourselves, otherwise, we will blame someone else if all goes wrong.
- Grow your daily relationship with God and learn to recognise His voice in your heart.
- Learn to recognise when there is self-interest and it is your own voice talking to yourself.
- Choose to trust God no matter what.
- Ask for wise counsel from other believers when needed.
- Understand that God may speak to you in a variety of ways.
- You could consider whether you need to fast and set aside a dedicated prayer time with the Lord.