Knowing God, chapter 20: Thou our guide

Guidance is a problem to many Christians, not because they doubt the truth of divine guidance, but because they are sure of it. They have no doubt as to God’s ability to lead, having read on it in books and having heard of it from friends and public speakers. The problem arises in that they doubt their own receptiveness to the guidance offered by God. [How I can identify with this paragraph!]

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Belief in the reality of God’s guidance rests on two foundational facts: first, the reality of God’s plan for us; second, the ability of God to communicate with us. God has a plan for individuals—He has an ‘eternal purpose’ which He accomplishes ‘in conformity with the purpose of His will’ (Eph 3:11, 1:11). He had a plan to redeem His people from bondage in Egypt; He had a plan to return them from exile in Babylon. He had a plan for Jesus, whose earthly ministry consisted entirely in doing His Father’s will. He had a plan for Paul, who in  5 of his letters announces himself an apostle ‘by the will of God’.

God can communicate His plan to us. He guided Jesus and Paul. The book of Acts records several instances of detailed guidance (8:26, 29, 10:19-20,13:2, 16:6-10, 18:9-11). Additionally, Scripture contains explicit promises of divine guidance– Ps 32:8; Is 58:11; Ps 25:8,9,12; Prov 3:6. In the NT, Paul prays that God would fill the Colossians “with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Col 1:9). A biblical truth that we can rely on for confirmation of God’s guidance is His goodness (Matt 7:11). We also have the Holy Spirit: ‘But you have an anointing from the Holy One…the anointing you received from him remains in you…his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit’ (1 John 2:20, 27). Doubt as to the availability of guidance would be an affront to the Spirit’s ministry.

God seeks His glory in our lives, and is glorifies only when we obey His will. It follows that He must teach us His way so that we may walk in it–Ps 23:3, Ps 119.

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Thankfully, if one misses God’s guidance and takes the wrong way, the damage isn’t irrevocable. Our God not only restores, but also He brings good out of our folly and mistakes. Jesus restores Peter after his denial, and corrected his course more than once after that (see Acts 10 and Gal 2:11-14).

In His sovereign grace, God wills to guide us in order to bring us safely home. Our concern therefore should be more for His glory than for our security—for that is already taken care of. [I need to remember this!]