Summary: How do I know I’m hearing God and doing His will? What does He want me to do? These are often asked questions and this sermon gives practical principles that can be applied to answer such concerns and identify God’s guidance in our lives.
Have you ever been traveling through a metropolitan area—the traffic is heavy, there is road construction-always road construction, you are unfamiliar with the area. And suddenly there in front of you is a is a “Y” in the road with a sign right in the middle. To the right is Highway # so & so. To the left is a different highway. And you’re not sure which one takes you to your destination.
One thing you know—at 70 mph in heavy traffic you had better decide pretty fast which one to take.
I once came upon a car that had crashed into the concrete median in the center of the two alternatives.
I guess the person just could not decide which road to take. I can easily understand how that could happen.
Sometimes life feels like that. Hard decisions have to be made--Decisions about what college to attend, decisions about what job to pursue, what church to attend, what house to buy--“Do I sell my stock in a bear market or do I buy more at the lower price? How can I know that I am hearing the Lord and doing the right thing?”
Proverbs 3:5-6 is one of my “life scriptures”. By “life scriptures” I mean those verses that hold profound significance in our lives. They don’t just bless us for a specific moment or need; they are foundational to our walk with the Lord. They under gird the whole direction of our lives. They are so personal, so impacting, so defining as to who we are that we embrace them as our own in a very special way. Proverbs 3:5 & 6 was given to me when I was a teenager shortly after I received Christ and was called to the ministry. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”
What an awesome promise from the Lord—a promise of guidance and protection—something we need everyday of our lives—guidance and wisdom for what to say, how to react to what others say to us, what to do in all kinds of situation. What to do when we come to a fork in the road in our lives and have to make a major decision? Perhaps there are decisions in your life that need to be made; perhaps there is a certain ambiguity as which way to go. Those are times we especially need to know how to get guidance from the Lord. That’s what I want to talk about this morning: How to get guidance for your life?
First and most importantly
I. Examine the Motive of your heart! Why do I want to go this way? Why do I want to go that way?
Why is more important than what, more important than how or when or where.
Why reveals what’s going on inside me and that’s more important to God than what’s going on the outside. The greatest mistakes I have made in life have been made when my heart was pursuing the wrong thing. Proverbs 4:23 “Keep your heart with all diligence for out of it come the issues of life.”
If I can get my heart right, God can protect me in the rest of the process.
I remember a time when I was talking to a large church about a major change in my ministry.
It seemed like a good plan for everyone involved. But as I sought the Lord about it he quickened a part of Jeremiah 45:5 to me, “…and do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them…”
That word revealed the deepest secrets of my heart. Before God spoke that to me I did not realize how selfish my motives were in the situation. That was God’s answer for me—“No”.
How do we react when God says “no”? That’s a good indication of the condition of my heart, isn’t it?
If my heart is right, a “no” is just as good as a “yes”. We just want to know God’s will so we can do it.
Charles Finney used the term “indifference” not as a synonym to apathy but in reference to an attitude of heart that has died to self (self-glorification, self-exaltation, selfish gratification and ambition) and has only one goal in mind—the will of the Father. (1) When that kind of “indifference” rules our hearts we can find the will of God.
In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Those are not just words to parrot. They describe an attitude of heart out of which we are to pray—not trying to coerce God into conforming to our will but choosing to submit ourselves to His will and trusting Him to know what is best for us. Ps 25:8-10 “The Lord is good and glad to teach the proper path to all who go astray; 9he will teach the ways that are right and best to those who humbly turn to him. 10And when we obey him, every path he guides us on is fragrant with his loving-kindness and his truth.” TLB