How God Guides — Part 3 April 2, 2012
If God doesn’t guide through hunches, feelings, orrandom events (the assertion of last week’s column), how does He guide?
He guides by His Spirit through the word of God.The Spirit’s voice is a mediated voice; it’s not an unmediated impression, aspontaneous urge, or a random event. The Holy Spirit speaks to us through themedium of the Bible. Else how can we distinguish between our own desires,temptations from the devil, and the “feeling” of God’s Spirit leading us? Thecommand of Ephesians 5:18 to “be filled with the Spirit” finds its parallel inColossians 3:16, which says “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” TheSpirit filling is synonymous with the word dwelling.
In other words, God’s perfect will for your life willalways be found spelled out in the principles of His word. As you read the wordand God’s Spirit applies it specifically and personally to your life,you can be certain that God is leading you. If you read “Pray without ceasing”and feel strongly convicted to pray more often, mark it down: God has justspoken to you.
What this means practically is that if the Bibledoesn’t mention your specific situation, God offers you freedom to choosewhatever option appears best, wisest, and most advantageous for His glory.There is no “right” or “wrong” choice in non-moral areas: for example, whatcollege to attend, which direction to turn on the way home, or what job offerto accept. If no biblical principles would be violated by the options beforeyou, then you are morally free to make whatever decision you choose. Godexpects His children to make choices based on wisdom, not randomimpulses or pious feelings. Notice the decision-making rationale in theseverses:
Therefore when we could endure it no longer, we thoughtit best to be left behind at Athensalone. (1 Thes 3:1)
I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus… (Phil 2:25)
When I arrive, whomever you may approve, I shall sendthem with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem;and if it is fitting for me to go also, they will go with me. (1 Cor 16:3‑4)
Other examples abound, but the point is clear. God’swill is spelled out in the Bible. For areas not mentioned there, wisdom is thekey.
Next time: answering the felt concern of personalcloseness.