Week of September 8
The Guidance of God
Our society seems to take one misstep after another. People around us are wandering aimlessly through life, not knowing what they truly believe or whom they should follow. Politicians and community leaders have strayed off course as they have ignored the divine wisdom and guidance of God in order to follow their own human principles.
God wants to show us how to live abundant and joyful lives. He desires to lead the way for us through life, steering us away from temptation and sheltering us in the storms. He wants to give us guidance in our decisions. We are not to live as the world does, chasing after every new philosophical trend. Instead we are to live confidently knowing that the only One we need to follow is God.
Sometimes as Christians we allow ourselves to become obsessed with discerning God's will. We pour over the fine details, examining every possible option, worried that one wrong step will send us out of God's favor. We doubt past decisions that did not turn out the way we had hoped. We doubt our ability to discern God's will. We waste time regretting and worrying.
Instead of obsessing over our choices, we should focus on our complete willingness to obey the will of God when He shows it to us. We need to first be in a place of submission before God, willing to follow wherever He leads. We build that type of obedience by spending regular time with God in prayer and in His Word.
The psalmist declared, "He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way" (Psalm 25:9). If we focus on humbly obeying God, we can trust that He will guide us on the right paths. For many Christians, this is easier said than done. In theory, we all claim to want to be obedient to God, but in reality we hold on to our own plans. We are willing to accept God's will for us when it suits us, but we balk when He points in a direction outside of our comfort zones. We pray for Him to show us His will, secretly hoping it will be something we desire. We claim obedience, but remain latched on to our own wants.
Sometimes God's plans for us do not make sense. Sometimes they are uncomfortable or even painful. But if we truly walk in obedience to God, we will find contentment whatever circumstances He may bring. We can rejoice even in the times of teaching, training, and testing. We can trust that even if we make a misstep, our sovereign God can lead us back into His will.
The psalmist discovered the joys and benefits of obedience to God: "Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.…I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word. I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path" (Psalm 119:97, 100-105).
Unlike the worldly culture around us, we are not rudderless. We have God's guiding Holy Spirit to show us the best course. But first we must surrender completely to following His will and His commandments, even when they do not match our personal desires. We must spend regular time in prayer learning His voice and His heart. The more we know God, the easier it will be to discern His voice from our own self-serving thoughts. If you are resistant to giving God full control of your life, confess this to Him in prayer. Pray for His help in developing a humble and obedient heart in you. Pray that He will awaken the hearts of Christians across the country so they will also seek to obey His guidance.
"We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands."--1 John 2:3
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