Four "Stops" to Getting God's Guidance
The Bible tells us that life is a journey, and that God has given us a roadmap, the Bible. That God has given us a compass, that's our conscience that keeps us headed in the right direction if we listen to it, and that God has even given us a personal guidance counselor, and he is the Holy Spirit.
How do we hear God speak to us? How do we learn to get God's will in our life? How do we get God's guidance, whether it's a business decision or a relational decision or a financial or health decision, how do I get God's guidance in my life? How can I be led by God's spirit?
Well, there are some things we need to stop doing in order to do that, and there are some things we need to start doing. Let's begin with the negative. This may not be comfortable, but it's necessary if I really want to be led by the Spirit of God.
FOUR STOPS TO GETTING GOD’S GUIDANCE
Number one, these are right from God's Word, if I want to be led by God's spirit first
I Stop following a CULTURE that doesn't follow God!
I can't follow a culture that doesn't follow God if I'm trying to follow God, if I’m trying to be led by the Spirit. We can't run in two directions at the same time. We can't serve God and money, we can't serve God and anything else. We can only have one number one.
Romans 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
One of the weaknesses of following culture is it's all temporary. Whatever is in style now, next year it's gonna be, what? Yeah, out of style.
1 John 2:17 (NIV) The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
Now, let's get a little more personal. That was pretty easy. If I want to be led by God's spirit,
I Stop following FRIENDS who aren't led by God.
If my friends are going in the exact opposite direction that God is going, I have to make a choice. Am I gonna go in the direction my friends are going, or am I gonna go the direction of God?
I can't follow friends who aren't led by God. Why am I making a big deal about this? Because one of the things that causes people to miss God's will for their life, God's plan, God's perfect, good and pleasing plan, is peer pressure. "Am I gonna listen to my friends, my coworkers, my teammates, or am I gonna listen to what God says?"
1 John 3:7 (NIV) Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil.
So if I've got a friend who is habitually sinning, I mean they're having one affair after another, and they're bragging about it at work, and I'm listening to them then I'm just following them. Who are they following? The Devil. The Devil. He says, "Don't let anybody lead you in the wrong direction." What do you do? We need to choose our friends wisely. We keep company with wise friends, we're gonna become wise. If I want to follow God's direction, I can't let culture get me off track, and I can't even let friends get me off track.
Now, let me be really clear. God wants us to have friends who are unbelievers. In the first place, we're commanded to love everybody. We're not allowed to not love anybody. If we're a believer of Christ, we're to love everybody. In fact, I'm even commanded to love my enemies. I'm commanded to love the people who hate me, criticize me, attack me, I don't get a choice. If I call myself a believer, a follower of Christ, I'm to love everybody, and God wants to use us to bring them to Christ.
Jeremiah 15:19 you will be my spokesman. You must influence them; do not let them influence you!
Every day, when you go to work, you're deciding, am I going to be a thermostat or a thermometer? A thermometer just reflects what the temperature is of the environment. They're talking dirty? I'm gonna talk dirty. They're doing this? I'm gonna do this. A thermometer just reveals what the culture is like. A thermostat turns the heat up or down. God wants you to be a thermostat.
He doesn't want them to influence you, but you to influence them.
I must stop being led by my CIRCUMSTANCES.
I'm amazed how many believers, the number one way they try to determine God's will is, "Well, what's my circumstance?" “I missed the plane. It must be God's will. The heavy traffic, it must be God's will. The offering plate skipped my row. That was God's will. I overslept today. It is God's will I don't go to church. “
I've seen circumstances ruin a lot of businesses and business opportunities, because it looked like a good deal. Let me give you an example from Paul. Acts 27, Paul is being taken to Rome as a prisoner, and the night before the ship is leaving God says to him in his prayer time, "Tell them not to go tomorrow, because they're gonna head straight into a storm." Paul says to the sailors and the captain of the ship, "Guys, if we leave today, we're gonna go straight into a storm" but they didn't listen to him,
Acts 27:9-10, 13-15 Paul spoke to the ship’s officers about it. “Men,” he said, “I believe there is trouble ahead if we go on—shipwreck, loss of cargo, and danger to our lives as well.” When a light wind began blowing from the south, the sailors thought they could make it. So they pulled up anchor and sailed close to the shore of Crete. But the weather changed abruptly, and a wind of typhoon strength (called a “northeaster”) burst across the island and blew us out to sea. The sailors couldn’t turn the ship into the wind, so they gave up and let it run before the gale.
They just let it drift. That is the epitaph of many a believer who trusted in circumstances. We just finally gave up and let her drift, because we thought it was right. The circumstances looked good, but that was a disastrous business deal or marriage or whatever.
How about you? How many times have you ever thought of something circumstantial was an open door, and you later found out it was a trap door? You can't just trust circumstances. Circumstances can lead us the wrong way. The fact is Satan can manipulate circumstances, we just need to be aware of that, and so we always check our circumstances against God's Word. What I mean by that is that we don't use circumstances to discern God's will, but we use it to confirm God's will.
Let me give you one more stop. If I want to be led by God's spirit,
I stop being led by my FEELINGS.
If I want to be led by God's spirit, I cannot be led by my feelings, because our feelings lie to us a lot of times. Now every emotion is temporary, whether it's a good one or a bad one.
No emotion can stay at the same level of intensity. If you have a panic attack, one thing you need to know, it can't last. You cannot stay in a perpetual state of panic. This, too, will pass, and so we can't be led by our feelings, because they're not permanent. They're just temporary, and the most common mistake, and I even hear Christians saying this today, was, "Well, just let your conscience be your guide." I hate to tell you this, your conscience is often wrong. So is mine. The Bible says the heart is deceitful.
Now, most people base their decisions on how they feel, and I can't tell you how many times, and it sounds like a spiritual thing, they say, "Why did you do that?" "Well, I just had a peace about it." That's not enough, friend, to make a decision on. "Well, I had a peace about it." Peace is a good thing, but we better have more basis for our decision than just a peaceful feeling.
We can't just go by our feelings. Feelings lie. It may be the result of some pizza we ate or something. Peace is a good thing, but it's not enough to base your life on simply emotions, because Satan can give us false peace.
If we stop doing these four things in our life, it will be much easier for you to discern God’s voice and his Spirit’s direction in your life.
Tomorrow we will pick back up and I will give you 5 steps to getting God’s guidance.