How Does God Guide Us?

     I admit that I am a directionally challenged person.  One time when visiting my parents in Indianapolis, IN.  I drove over an hour following the GPS directions, attempting to get to Warren, Indiana, but was actually heading to Warren, Illinois.  Oops! We have to make so many decisions in life.  Columbia researcher Sheen Lyengar has found that the average person makes about seventy conscious decisions every day (All The Places To Go, How Will You Know?, John Ortberg, 8).  If you do the math that's about 1.7 million decisions in a 70 year life span (Ortberg, 8).  That's a massive amount of forks in the road!  William Jennings Bryan states, "Destiny is not a matter of chance.  It is a matter of choice."          
     Christians want to make wise choices.  We want to follow God's specific will for our lives.  Making those decisions is part of what builds our character.  So how do we discern God's guidance?   Despite my bad experience with GPS in Indiana (of course that was user error) I think the idea of a spiritual G.P.S. can be helpful.  
     Our thought life can be a mess.  Pastor Steven Furtick says "the average person has more than sixty thousand thoughts per day and over 80 percent of these thoughts are negative. (Crash The Chatterbox, 8)   Our thoughts can be incorrect and destructive.  In contrast, the Bible is God's word.  It's God's will for us laid out in black and white.  Psalms 119:104, 105 says of God's word "I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path."  The commands of Scripture help us understand right and wrong behavior.  We don't have to pray about whether or not to pay our taxes; the Bible is clear we should.  We don't have to seek godly counsel about whether we should have an extra marital affair; the Bible lays out the call of marital faithfulness.   The Word reveals God's primary will for you life--to become like Jesus in character.  Author Steve Green states, "No other book comes close to the Bible's impact and influence in transforming individuals, strengthening families, shaping nations, and determining human history."  (This Dangerous Book, 10)  Remember the Bible is the gold standard when it comes to guidance, judge everything else by it.  
     The Bible does not cover everything.  The Scripture gives me principles about the type of person I should marry but there is no page with my wife's picture and name.  Prayer is helpful with those decisions.  The Bible teaches me a work ethic but does not tell me which job offer to take.  Ephesians 2:10  states, "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."  What are the specific good works that I am suppossed to do?  Prayer helps give us an answer.  James offers us a powerful invitation:  "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you" (James 1:5) .  There have been many moments in my life where I was sure of what God wanted me to do; that certainty came from time in prayer.             
     I know many Christians are uncomfortable referring to themselves as saints but the Bible does. It just means one who is called out, a follower of Jesus Christ.  We need the saints, other Christians in our lives.  We need the postiive peer presure and support.  Proverbs states,  "The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice" (12:15).   I have avoided many mistakes over the years by just pausing on making a decision until I talk it through with a Christian mentor.  I've heard it said, "life is a team sport." I don't know how many times I've only seen two options as a solution to a problem, then I'll talk to my wife and she gives me an option I had not considered. God puts other Christians in your life, in part, to help you understand his will for any given situation.   Sometimes it doesn't even have to a be person I actually know.  A clarifying question I often use comes from Pastor Andy Stanley. He says, "In light of my past experience, and my future hopes and dreams, what's the wise thing to do?"   That question is gold.  Bring it out with a mentor when you are trying to make a hard decision.      
     In conclusion, God wants to help us flourish through making great decisions.  Why don't you try His G.P.S.?

Pastor Derek Dickinson
Journey Christian Church

Photo by Henry Perks on Unsplash