Summary: This sermon seeks to provide a better understanding as to how God guides His people. It takes an illustration of a hand, with its five fingers, to give a practical insight into the subject.
Today’s talk is entitled How does God guide us?
As we consider this subject, I would like to make some assumptions –
1) We assume that God exists.
2) That God wants to guide us.
3) That we want him to guide us.
I will assume we all hold a positive response to all of these points. In other words, we believe that God exists, he wants to guide our lives and that we are open to His guidance.
But, before we can start to think about HOW God guides us, we must first ask ourselves an obvious question. What is God wanting to guide us towards?
The world would have our lives guided towards the ‘S’ words – Self & Success. Success in our careers. Success in what we own – cars, clothes, houses. Success in how others see us – status. Success in how we view ourselves. Success. Success. Success. Success. Success for me, me, me!
Now there’s nothing wrong with success. It just depends on what it is built upon how and it’s relationship to how we live life.
What is God wanting to guide us towards? Peter would answer holy and godly lives. Paul writes to Titus to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives and to the Ephesians understand the will of God and he encourages the Colossians to set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
God wants to draw us into his way and will for our lives.
God has a plan, a will for your lives, which Paul describes as good, pleasing and perfect.
So in answer to our question – God wants to guide us into a rich and fulfilled life in Him.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go – Says the Lord through the Psalms (32:8)
So, as we look at guidance in this talk, I’d like to give us a practical view of how we might understand God’s guidance. In fact you might call it the "Handy guide to Guidance", because there are five points representing four fingers and a thumb.
THE COMMAND OF SCRIPTURE(First finger)
This first finger represents reading of the Bible and following its teachings within our lives. The Bible makes certain things clear, when it comes to knowing how God wants to guide us. For instance we are told to love our neighbours, to love one another,
Micah gives us good instruction when he answers the question.. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
So there is no point in us strutting through live, showing of our fine spiritual feathers to everyone around, wondering why God doesn’t appear to be giving us his guidance in our lives.
The Word of God tells us how we should live our lives. It is clear in most of its teachings. The Bible provides a pattern as to how we are to live.
It is no good if a married person says ‘I have fallen in love with this other person and I believe God is telling me to leave my husband or wife’ God has already made his will known – ‘You shall not commit adultery’
Perhaps you are tempted to not pay your income tax – Perhaps many of us may feel like that! But the Bible makes it clear that we ARE to pay our taxes when they are due. We do not need to seek God’s guidance on this issue.
The will of God is displayed for us within the framework of the Bible.
In 1937 the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s highest religious leader, died. A search for his successor – his reincarnation, began. When it was noted that the head of the corpse tilted eastward, his followers began to look in that direction. That and other hints from religious visions led them to a two-year-old boy in a remote farmhouse, and today he is the Dalai Lama. We Christians are not left with such vague and nebulous guidance. We have the clear teaching of Scripture and the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible is our guidebook, it is written by the one who has journeyed before us.
But, the Bible reveals God’s general will for our lives. Taking the example of marriage again – We know that Christians are only free to marry other Christians, but the Bible doesn’t tell us who we should marry. Indeed, should we get married at all? For doesn’t the Bible equally equate singleness as a higher calling?
The Bible is an important aspect of Guidance, it provides the framework upon which guidance is viewed. But standing alone, it is merely a finger of guidance, not a hand.
CIRCUMSTANTIAL SIGNS(Second finger)
God is in ultimate control of all events. The writer of Proverbs points out: ‘In your heart you may plan your course, but the Lord determines your steps’ (Prov 16:9). Sometimes God opens doors, sometimes he closes them. (1 Cors 16:9, Acts 16:7)