Your hand in God’s hand

Selwyn finishes his discussion on the steps to take to discern God’s guidance. He says, for the seventh step: ” … see if God is saying anything to you through your circumstances. … They must be evaluated not on their own but in line with other factors – the inner witness, principles of Scripture, the advice of mature Christians, and so on.”

It has been my experience that God often works this way – He uses your current circumstances to refine you – to transform you, over time, to become more like Jesus.

The other point, which Selwyn raises is this: ” … sometimes even when the path becomes clear you may still need to take a step of faith. “

I also agree with Selwyn on this point too; faith is demonstrated by our actions – to take the first step, hand in hand with your loving God. Our faith in action, illustrates to others and ourselves, that we fully believe that God loves us; and that He will always take us by  the hand, and guide us – when we step out for Him. I know this – because He perfectly loves you.

More steps – to take, in seeking God’s guidance

Selwyn continues, in today’s study,  to look at additional steps to take to guide us in the discernment of  God’s guidance for us on a particular issue.

Step 4.  ‘Reason with God, think through the issues carefully, and present your reasoning to God’; in the same way, as a child presents their ideas on what they would like to do – to their parents.

Step 5. ‘The more important the decision you have to make, the more time, if possible, should be given to it. We should be careful about this, of course, because if some decisions are postponed too long the matter is decided by our indecisiveness. Give yourself a deadline for the task. Whenever I have an important decision to make I enter into a 24-hour fast; that helps to clear the mind and makes it more receptive to God’s leading.’ Now I’ve included Selwyn’s entire comments on this step – for a number of reasons: first, his point about postponing a decision is important; and secondly, his practice of undertaking a fast – while this is not essential, it is, I feel – important to demonstrate to ourselves the commitment we have in seeking God’s guidance. How many reading this – actually fast – at all?

Step 6. ‘If guidance is still not clear, consider sharing your concern with a mature Christian friend or with a group.’ Only share your concern with a person, or persons, who have a proven track record in keeping their relationship with God at the centre of everything they do! There are a lot of religious people who are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Yet, it is true that God often uses others to help us know His desires.

Good advice from Selwyn, don’t you think?

A step-by-step plan

I think that the first step which Selwyn talks about, in regard to seeking guidance from God, is the most important: “Right from the start adopt the attitude ‘Your will be done’ “.

All too often, we approach God with a view of getting what we want – we place our personal desires at the highest priority – and, fail to consider that God may have a better solution prepared for us.

Selwyn’s second step, is: “Spend time in prayer with God, putting before Him the matter about which you are praying for guidance. ”  Again, many, in this one-minuteworld, want instant results. Yet, there are many examples in Scripture where perseverance in prayer over a long time, can be found.  I think God often uses this time to grow our relationship with Him.

The third step discussed today is an obvious one: “Consider if there is a biblical principle that clearly relates to the issue on which you need guidance.”  Personal guidance from God will always be aligned with His written Word – one possible result of prayer with God could be to direct you to a relevant area in Scripture – where clear guidance can be found.

These steps can be trusted – because God loves you; none of His children who approach Him with love will be ignored  –  guidance will always be provided – the Spirit who dwells within us, will help us to understand God’s directions. Do you agree?

Supernatural intervention

I’ve pasted the first part of today’s study – as follows:

 Acts 16:9 (NIV):   ‘… Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia … begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”’ (v.9)

An interesting example of supernatural guidance is the vision Paul received which we read about in the passage before us today – a vision which brought about a change of his plans. You would think that if anyone planned his future in a spiritual way, it was Paul. But here he seems to be moving in a direction other than that which God intended for him, and so the Holy Spirit intervenes supernaturally and spectacularly to direct him into a new sphere of activity. This intervention was exceptional, and obviously not something to which the great apostle was accustomed.”

Firstly, let me say – that the Spirit who enacted the supernatural guidance – to direct Paul; is the same Spirit who guides each one of us. Supernatural intervention has been going on since time began and will continue until time ends. Anyone, who teaches a different view is not being led by the Holy Spirit!

Secondly, even the most gifted apostle needs to be re-directed by God; likewise, no matter how sure we are of  the direction we have taken, we must be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit  to change our plans.

Thirdly, this type of intervention is exceptional – I feel that it does not occur with the minor, daily choices we are habitually called to make, as we live out our lives.

Any views?

 

If an angel says …

I think that the verse used by Selwyn to illustrate the principle he is writing about in today’s study; is one, we all should be aware of – at all times.

1 Corinthians 12:11 (NIV): “All these are the work of the one and the same Spirit, and he gives to each one, just as he determines.”

I feel that it’s important to understand that the God of the Old Testament – is the same God we see in Jesus as recorded in the New Testament – and, He is the same Spirit who works in our lives, today.

The point which Selwyn raises in today’s study – is one, I fully agree with: God continues to guide His people through supernatural methods; however, they are occasional rather than normal.

In addition, the messages we may receive through supernatural means MUST align with God’s Word as recorded in Scripture – we are told to test everything – and the foundation of any test of the truth, is God’s Word.

Reasoning in the light of God

Overall, I agree with Selwyn’s views; with the one qualification – I think that our human reason has been corrupted – it cannot be trusted, unless it’s tested by the searching light of God’s insight.

Consequently, I think Selwyn’s concluding remark is important: “… our mind-set has been developed through consistent exposure to the principles of God’s Word by daily reading, study and prayer.”

It’s only when our mind-set has been nurtured in this way, can we have the slightest confidence in our reason – otherwise, our reason is always self-centred. Do your agree?