In his book "Discovering God's Will," Sinclair B. Ferguson explains the concept of guidance and how to discover God's will. Do you need guidance to find out God's will in your life? When we are deeply perplexed and do not know what to do, or which particular course of action to take, we need God's guidance. How does God guide us? How do we recognize His will for our lives? Do we think about the wonder of guidance? The Holy Spirit helps us to see life in the long-term, to look at a life of eternal realities, with eternity's values in view. God promises to reveal His purposes to His people. Guidance is a divine concept. How does the Heavenly Father guide His children? What principles does He employ to guide us? We must learn the principles which, when applied to our own lives, will help us to discover God's will. We learn about guidance by learning about the Guide.
Knowing God and His ways helps us to do His will.We need to know what God does in our lives. The crux of the matter is our deepest need to know God Himself. We must see God in our spirit, taste Him in our heart and sense His guidance in our conscience. May you discover the gracious ways of God with Him as your Guide as you seek to know Him.The Bible reveals the glory of God and the wonder of His love. God guides us as we live by the principles that He sets for us. Our lives have a divine purpose for the present and a glorious destiny for the future.We walk on the path God laid for us. We enjoy the purpose for our lives which God plans for us. We look forward to the destiny God reveals to us. Why did God make me? What is my life for? Can I see the glory of God and live in His presence?
God and His glory form my destiny. The purpose of my life is to glorify God. The essence of my Christian life is that God is glorified in me. The glory of God is a determining factor in my life. "Is the glory of God the driving principle of our actions?" God guides us in His Word which brings glory to Him. God's Word governs the circumstances of our lives. When we seek His glory, we walk in His blessing. He shines His light to illuminate our lives. How should our lives reflect His glory? We bear a likeness to Jesus.
"God sets us apart for the praise of the glory of His grace" - (Ephesians 1:3-6).
"God wants us to be conformed to the image of His Son" - (Romans 8:29).
God wants us to live for the glory of God. He wants us to imitate Jesus, "to depend on the Holy Spirit given to us to bring glory to Jesus in our lives" - (John 16:14). The life of faith is a glorious pilgrimage. The child of God is a citizen of heaven. His commonwealth is in heaven. He is a pilgrim with a destiny, who walks worthy of his calling, his life guided by a heavenly purpose and a divine plan. He sets His mind to establish a life patterned on heaven. God guides our lives to reflect the glory of His Son. He calls us to imitate Christ. He makes us to be like Christ. "When we stand before Him in His glory, we shall be like Christ" - (1 John 3:2). Christ's mission was to be the servant of the Lord. This is the pattern of God's will and purpose for our lives.
Christ lived in the will of God through suffering. He brought other sons to glory in the same way. This is the way in which God works. It will help us to trust God's purposes for us, even when they are most painful. The paradox of the Christian life is that it is a path to glory through sufferings - (Acts 14:22). God leads us to follow Christ in suffering. This is the autograph of Christ. It bears His divine seal. It is signed by His blood."Will Christ be our Shepherd and Guide through life?" "Will we take up the cross daily and follow Him?" Have you counted the cost? Will you deny self, take up the cross, and follow Christ into His perfect will for your life? Do you want this kind of divine guidance?
"The safest place to be is within the will of God."The ultimate purpose of God's guidance is the promotion of His glory." Scripture is our guide. Today we have "the full enjoyment of the Spirit of sonship" - (Galatians 4:1-7). God reveals His will to us in Jesus Christ, and we find His guidance in the Holy Bible. The heavens declare His glory and His word reveals His will.God reveals His will to us by "teaching us about Himself and our relationship to Him."As John Calvin says, "All the wisdom we possess consists of the knowledge of God and of ourselves."
When we study the character of God and His ways, we will learn His wisdom, the practical knowledge of His will and the application of His ways."The Ten Commandments are principles which govern life in all places at all times. Because they are the expression of God's original purposes for man, they stand throughout all the epochs of the Kingdom of God.... the laws, the principles themselves stand for ever." "The whole Bible is full of clear-cut guidance to help us to live to the glory of God." "Jesus must be Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all."The Bible reveals "the ways of God with men, and teaches what God requires of us, does for us, and works out through us."
How does the Lord guide us through Scripture? There are choices to make in life. We have to apply God's word to our own situations.God is unchanging. His word is secure. He does not alter His mind. When we come to know Him, and all He has revealed about Himself, we get to know His mind. As we grow in love with Him, we become sensitive to how he thinks about us. And as we grow more like Him, Christ's yoke rests comfortably on our shoulders.An instinct created within us reveals God's will for our lives.The Lord guides His people by the light of His Holy Spirit to understand His word. "We must maintain a real spirit of dependence upon the ministry of the Spirit, leading us into the true meaning and application of Scripture."
"The word of God is a living active guide to us. It penetrates between soul and spirit" - (Hebrews 4: 12-13). At times, God guides through a direct assurance or a revelation but usually He guides through His sovereign control of the circumstances of our lives, with the word of God as our divine rule of law. We must understand what the will of the Lord is - (Ephesians 5:17). This is a matter of spiritual sensitivity and understanding.
We study God's word and learn the principles of His will, with a heart submitted to the Lord, by the illumination of the Holy Spirit, who leads us to apply its principles to our own situations in life. We will have a perceptive sense of the will of God, and enjoy "an anointing from the Holy One" - (1 John 2:20).We will know God's will because we can 'taste' the flavor of His purposes for us.
Guidance involves commitment, obedience, knowledge and understanding. Consecration to Christ helps us to discover that the will of God is good, acceptable and perfect. We must study the will of God through the word of God and watch Him reveal His will to us.His timing and wisdom are perfect. We can trust Him unreservedly. Obedience is the only way into the perfect will of God for our lives - (Romans 4:8, Hebrews 11:17-19). When our hearts grow strong in grace, God will work out His divine promises in our lives.
To live in the will of God is to walk in love with Christ, in the light of His love. Guidance is God leading us through His truth, to act according to His wisdom. It acquaints us with Scripture and gives us fellowship in the Spirit, "who alone knows the mind of God - (1 Corinthians 2:11-13). We walk in God's wisdom, by the grace of the Holy Spirit. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly" - (Colossians 3:16). We must submit ourselves to the rule of the Spirit and be obedient to the word of God.
Guidance is the supernatural will of God made known to us through His word. That is why when we walk in the Spirit, in the light of God's love, we get the assurance of the fulfillment of God's promises.We are happiest and safest in the will of God. When we obey God wholeheartedly, we accept all the circumstances of our lives gladly from His hands. Nothing happens to us without His express knowledge and permission.
God uses all the experiences in our lives to transform us into the image of Christ. He has predestined everything in our lives. All things work together for our good and His glory. Nothing separates us from the love of Christ.
The best way to discover the will of God is to obey His will in the Bible. Knowing God's will involves choices and decisions in which we must choose the way of the Lord."The Lord watches over the way of the righteous" - (Psalm 1:6). God guides the righteous to the path of His blessings as they obey His will in their lives.
"I urge you to walk worthy of your calling" - (Ephesians 4:1).
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly" - (Colossians 3:16)
This brings us face to face with a most important question: "What is the will of God in my particular situation?" "How do I find out God's will when I deal with difficult choices?" As Christians, we do everything in union with Christ. So, in our own personal lives and difficult choices, we will hear His still, small voice speak to us in our hearts. We will hear His unmistakable voice speak through our conscience. And we will know the voice of our Master Guide.
We must wait upon the Lord patiently and trust wholeheartedly in His all-knowing wisdom and grace. God is not in a hurry. He takes His own time with us to prepare us for His work and to guide us to the right choices and decisions for our lives.We must trust in the good, acceptable and perfect will of God to "make all things work together for good in the lives of those that love the Lord, who are called according to His purpose for them" - (Romans 8:28).
God love us and our obedience to Him. He will guide us in all our choices and decisions, and bless the work of our hands. "In all your way, acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight" - (Proverbs 3:6).Wait upon the Lord for divine guidance and counsel. He will not disappoint you. "The Lord is good to those who hope in Him, to the one who seeks Him" - (Lamentations 3:25).
As God teaches us to obey Him, something in us must be broken so that, like Jacob who wrestled with God, we bear the marks of our submission to Him for the rest of our lives - (Genesis 32:22-32). The Lord does not willingly afflict or grieve us, yet when we face affliction and distress, He does a work through our 'disgrace' which cannot be done in any other way - (Lamentations 3:25-33).
Waiting upon God for guidance lies at the heart of the Christian's experience. We must wait on the Lord and be silent before Him. "My soul finds rest in God alone, my soul waits in silence for God only, my hope comes from Him" - (Psalm 62:1,5). Sometimes, the burden of waiting for God's guidance can become more than we can bear, when it involves waiting for a considerably long period of time. At such times, we might try to force God's hand and try to work out a deliverance of our own. Like Job, we must learn to say to God, "I know that You can do all things; no plan of Yours can be thwarted. Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you" - (Job 42:2-6).
Can you accept God's will for your life, however difficult it might seem to you? Have you discovered that His yoke is easy and His burden is light? Have faith in the goodness of God and in His unique plans for your life. If we can trust Him for His goodness, we can trust Him for His guidance! God is a Master Craftsman who patiently and painstakingly shapes us into His Son's image. He is fully prepared to wait as He works on us, knowing that there is all of eternity to enjoy the fruits of His labour. The Lord waits for us to wait on Him. We must wait patiently for Him to show Himself to us. God will bless those who wait for Him - (Isaiah 30:18). He is eager to draw us into His special plans and purposes for our lives. "If we don't entrust the guidance of our lives to Him, we cannot receive what we refuse to trust Him for."
There is untold blessing in our intimacy with the Lord. A reflection of His own character and godly qualities comes to bear upon us.God has His own agenda, timetable, place and time to act. He has to reveal His will to us and He has to fulfill His purposes in us. "I will stand at my watch.... I will look to see what He will say to me, and what answer I am to give.... For the vision awaits an appointed time; though it lingers, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay" - (Habakkuk 2:1-3). When God's assured time comes, nothing stands in His way. His timing is perfect. "As for God, His way is perfect" - (2 Samuel 22:31). He is worthy of our faith, trust and patient waiting upon His will. "It would be a denial of His grace to refuse Him in the light of His credentials."
What must we do as we wait on Him? What are we to do when we do not know what God wants us to do? "Do your duty; live in the light God gives you." As you walk in the light that illuminates your pathway, God will make your future clear.The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day" - (Proverbs 4:18). The climax of our obedience is when we acknowledge God's perfect will in our lives. "Not my will, but yours be done" - (Luke 22:42).