Have you had a time in your life in which you were not faced with difficult decisions or circumstances? I’m just taking a guess, but probably not many. Most of us face difficult decisions and circumstances every day. And to be really honest, life is hard–sometimes, really hard!
We’ve all been taught to seek advice and guidance when we face challenging or defining moments in life. But did you know that seeking guidance is actually a discipline…a spiritual discipline? Simply put, “guidance” is hearing God’s voice and obeying Him. Guidance requires discipline in two primary ways:
1. Intentionally listening to God.
2. Obeying what He says.
Neither comes naturally. Both aspects of this discipline must be intentional, and they each take effort.
Guidance as a spiritual discipline is Holy Spirit led. This means that God in us, the Holy Spirit, guides and directs us. He shows us the way. Jesus said, “when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). We just need to seek, trust, and obey Him. We do this through Scripture, prayer, reason, and circumstances–although Scripture should be our ultimate authority when listening to God. The Bible says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Guidance can be practiced both individually and corporately. Individual guidance is when God gives each of His children divine instruction through the Holy Spirit and His Word. This is when God speaks to an individual concerning a particular matter.
Corporate guidance is when God guides groups of people who gather in fellowship to seek the will of God. One example of this in Scripture is the Israelites following the cloud. The cloud was viewed as God’s presence or guidance. Exodus 40:36-37 says, “In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did no lift, they did not set out–until the day it lifted.” As a group and community, the Israelites watched and listened for God. The whole community only moved when God moved them. And they were called to be obedient to this way of life, daily.
Like the Israelites, we too are called to be obedient to God and His leading. We need our own regular time with God; we need to study His Word, listen to Him, and share our hearts with Him. But we also need the church. We cannot live the life God designed us to live alone. We are called to do it in a loving, serving, and worshipful community of other believers.
If we regularly seek God as individuals and get deeply rooted in a Biblical local church, we will be much better equipped to make some of life’s most difficult decisions.
As you seek direction and guidance today, may this be your prayer:
“Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” (Psalm 25:4-5)