God designed you with a purpose in mind. God loves you. He has a specific, unique and glorious destiny for you. He promises to guide you. God’s purpose for you is bigger than your mistakes. I have made many mistakes in my life, but God has not stopped guiding me.
God wants to communicate with you and has promised to guide you. There are five main ways in which God guides us (the five CSs):
Counsel of the Saints (the church)
Commanding Scripture (the Bible)
Compelling Spirit (the Holy Spirit)
Circumstantial Signs (providence).
Common Sense (reason)
In each of today’s passages, we see first something general about the way in which God guides us, and then specific examples of each of these ‘five CSs’.
(Psalm 48:9-14) Promise of guidance
- Counsel of the Saints
Guidance is not an individual activity. It is significant that the psalmist says, ‘Within your temple, we meditate on your unfailing love’ (v.9). The temple was where the people of God came together to worship God. We receive guidance in the context of community. On our own, we can sometimes get things very wrong (Proverbs 12:15). God can speak to others, as well as to us, and it is always wise to seek advice about major decisions.
As in every other area of life, Jesus is our model for how to be guided by God. Living under God’s guidance does not lead to a trouble-free life. Jesus was constantly under attack from the ‘religious police’ of his day. He did not shy away from controversy and confrontation. Divine guidance led Jesus to the cross. However, it also led to the resurrection. Behind it all was God’s purpose and his victory. What Jesus did had the appearance of failure but Jesus accomplished more in his life, death and resurrection than any other person in history. Of course, much is said in the New Testament about the way in which God guided Jesus.
- Commanding Scripture
Be extremely careful to avoid any situation in which ministry is being used for personal gain.
Jesus’ understanding of the will of God came from studying the Scriptures very carefully. This is the supreme way in which God guides us all.
- Compelling Spirit
When Jesus is questioned about his authority he challenges the ‘religious police’ with a question about John’s authority. Jesus is suggesting that John received his authority ‘from heaven’, that is, from God himself. The clear implication is that Jesus’ own authority also came ‘from heaven’. It came from his close relationship with God.
Even his opponents recognized ‘the truth’ (John 20:21) in Jesus’ teaching. Jesus was not willing to misuse favor or to show partiality. He was guided by what he knew to be the truth. He spoke the truth fearlessly. Jesus challenges the premise behind their question: to what earthly power should we give our primary allegiance?
Luke tells us that Jesus was ‘led by the Spirit’ (Luke 4:1). Presumably it was the Holy Spirit who gave Jesus his answer. As Jesus walked in this close relationship with God, studying the Scriptures and teaching the truth, the Holy Spirit (‘the Spirit of truth’, John 15:26) prompted him with words of extraordinary wisdom.
- Circumstantial Signs
Sometimes, it is sin that prevents us from hearing God’s voice. Sin can lead to disaster. Now we have a remedy in the death and resurrection of Jesus: ‘the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1:7,9).
- Common Sense
When we fall, as we all do, the sensible thing is to get up quickly. Part of guidance generally is doing the sensible thing. This was Moses’ complaint: ‘They are a nation without sense, there is no discernment in them. If only they were wise and would understand this and discern what their end will be!’ (Deuteronomy 32:28–29). God made us thinking beings. He guides your mind as you walk in a close relationship with him. Avoid a super-spirituality that expects an inward voice to guide every little detail of your life.
Moses returned at the end of his song to the word of God, ‘Take to heart all these words to which I give witness today and urgently command your children to put them into practice, every single word of this Revelation. Yes. This is no small matter for you; it’s your life’ (v.46–47, MSG).
Prayer- Lord, thank you for the way that you have led us through all these different ways at different times. Thank you that you have had compassion on us. Help us to take to heart all the words you have spoken and to obey them carefully. Help us to reach our destination.
Follow me on Twitter @James Baker_jr as I endeavor to encourage and empower leaders of today and tomorrow!
Pastor James Baker, Jr.
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