A Step-by-step Plan
A step-by-step plan
FOR READING & MEDITATION - 2 CORINTHIANS 6:14-18
'Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.' (v.14)
In these few final days I would like to give you a step-by-step plan to follow whenever you are in need of personal guidance from God. (1) Right from the start adopt the attitude 'Your will be done.' In other words, come to God believing that whatever He plans for you is good and is in your highest interests. If you are not willing to do God's will when He makes it clear to You then your unwillingness will prove a major block to determining that will. Only those who are prepared to do His will can fully know it.
2 Kings 19:14-19, 35-37;
1. How did Hezekiah deal with bad news?
2. What was Jesus' prime consideration?
(2)Spend time in prayer with God, putting before Him the matter about which you are praying for guidance. Prayer is essential when seeking God's will. It clears your vision and enables you to see the signposts and the road ahead. And when you pray, cultivate the habit of listening. Listen for that inner voice that is different from all other voices. One hour of such listening will give you more insight into things than you could ever dream was possible.
(3)Consider if there is a biblical principle that clearly relates to the issue on which you need guidance. A principle is a clear and specific rule of action that takes all guesswork out of the situation, such as the one contained in the text at the top of the page. If a person has fallen in love with a non-Christian and wishes to marry that person then there is no need to ask for guidance as guidance has already been given: 'Don't become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a opartnership out of right and wrong? That's not partnership; that's war' (2 Cor. 6:14, The Message) Nothing could be clearer.
Father, help me become more familiar with the principles You have put in Your Word so that in times of uncertainty I can let that Word speak into the situation. In Jesus' name. Amen.
FOR READING AND MEDITATION - EXODUS 18:1-27
'The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.' (v.18)
We continue outlining the steps we can take when in need of personal guidance from God. (4)Reason with God, think through the issue carefully, and do what John Wesley suggested: 'Lay your reasonings at God's feet.' Ask yourself questions such as these: Am I asking God to direct me when my mind is already made up? What are the pros and cons of the matter? How will God gain glory from my decision? How will my decision affect my family? Thinking through an issue is the way we move from our reasoning to God's reasoning and, when necessary, change our mind.
1. What did Moses acknowledge?
2. How can we fulfill the law of Christ?
(5) The more important the decision you have to make, the more time, if possible, should be given to it. We should be careful about this, of course, because if some decisions are postponed too long the matter is decided by our indecisiveness. Give yourself a deadline for the task. Whenever I have an important decision to make I enter into a 24-hour fast; this helps to clear the mind and makes it more receptive to God's leading.
(6)If guidance is still not clear, consider sharing your concern with a mature Christian friend or with a group. A wise king (Solomon) once said, 'As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another' (Prov. 27:17). The passage I have chosen as our reading for today (a fascinating story) describes how Moses, when he was in difficulty and unable to cope with increasing responsibilities, received some wise advice from his father-in-law, Jethro. Throughout the Bible we find commands to come alongside one another in times of uncertainty (see the Further Study section). God often uses others to help us know His desires.
Gracious Father, again I want to thank You for the way You have designed Your Church, so that one member can help the other. I am not alone in this body. Help others to help me, and help me to help others. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Your hand in God's hand
FOR READING AND MEDITATION - ACTS 10:1-23
'... the Spirit said...“Do not hesitate to go....”' (vv.19-20)
The seventh step we need to take when seeking guidance from God is this: see if God is saying anything to you through your circumstances. Since circumstances provide the context in which most decisions have to be made, they can be a key source of information to anyone seeking guidance. They must be evaluated not on their own but in line with other factors the inner witness, principles in Scripture, the advice of more mature Christians, and so on.
1. What was Joshua's mistake?
2. How did Ananias respond to God's guidance?
And be careful about 'setting up' situations in order to find guidance. One woman I heard of was wondering whether or not she should become a missionary. In the area where she lived a milkman made a daily doorstop delivery. So she said to herself: 'If tomorrow morning the milkman forgets to leave my milk I will take it that it is God's will for me to become a missionary.' This is taking guidance through circumstances too far.
May I suggest you make a note of these seven steps and keep it in your Bible? You might need to refer to it sooner than you expect.
One final thing, and this is more of an observation: sometimes even when the path becomes clear you may still need to take a step of faith. You may come to a point where all the road signs are clear, each pointing in the same direction, but then a doubt or uncertainty creeps in and you are afraid to move ahead. Putting God's will into action may at times require that you move out into uncertainty with your hand in the hand of God. You may have to follow the example of Simon Peter who, as we see from our reading today, having been told what he should do, was then urged by the Spirit, 'Do not hesitate to go.'
O God, I accept that more is required of me than that I hold to the faith; sometimes I must let faith hold me. Whenever I have to step out into uncertainty, please increase my faith, dear Lord. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Taken from Every Day with Jesus Sep/Oct 2010 Issue, Copyright © CWR. Used by kind permission.
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