Being Guided By God

By: Diane Chandler
Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Like you, I’ve had many times when I’ve needed to hear the clear voice of the Lord.  Decisions like whom to marry; what job to take; or how to navigate a relational challenge, crisis, or life transition confront us all.  Students may especially seek God’s guidance as they near graduation.

God has not provided a cookie-cutter formula for hearing His voice.  The starting place is positioning our hearts in order to earnestly seek him (Heb. 11:6) and pray (Eph. 6:18, Phil. 4:6).  These five simple biblical principles may be helpful.

First, God speaks through the Scriptures.  John wrote, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).  Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples” (John 8:31). When making an important decision, we must seek the Lord through His Word, believing that He will guide us.  The Christian music group, Mercy Me, expressed it well in their song “Word of God Speak” (click to listen).

Second, God speaks through circumstances. After graduating from a program several years ago, I sought God related to a job.  I sensed the Lord saying, “Try every door.”  So I applied for many teaching positions, believing that God would close all doors but one.  That is exactly what happened.  David’s unexpected circumstance of the Amalekites capturing their women and children drove him to God to know if he would be successful (1 Sam. 30:3-8).

Third, God speaks through the voice and/or the inner witness of the Holy Spirit.  When the Apostle Paul wanted to go into Bithynia, the Spirit of God prohibited him from entering but instead directed him in a dream to go to Macedonia (Acts 16:7-9).  The Holy Spirit also provides peace in the believer’s heart, something the devil cannot duplicate. Paul wrote to the Colossians, “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace” (Col. 3:15). That Greek word for peace literally means to function like an umpire.  Peace is like an umpire that settles our souls and affirms direction. 

Fourth, God speaks through the input of trusted others.  God uses human vessels to speak to us.  With wisdom, Jethro spoke to Moses about delegating his work to others (Exod. 18:17-23).  At the Council at Jerusalem, James wisely recommended minimal stipulations be applied to Gentile believers (Acts 15:19-20).  Having godly counsel is important in seeing a decision circumspectly.  I’ll never forget the time my father spoke into an important decision I had to make.  He provided the wisdom I need to move forward.

Fifth, God speaks through confirmation of any and all of the above.  God desires to bring confirmation to encourage us in moving forward.  Moses desperately needed an assurance of God’s presence before moving forward.  God responded by directing him to the cleft of the rock and causing His glory to pass by (Exod. 33:12-23). Moses received a double confirmation of God’s guidance.  In making important decisions, we often need multiple confirmations.

Are you in the midst of an important decision?  How has God guided you in the past?

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Diane Chandler
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12 Responses to “Being Guided By God”

  1. Frankie says:

    Thanks, Dr. C! Many of us needed to read this at this particular time in our lives. Graduation is no small step, and no matter how often we are given this message it is not often enough.
    Blessings!

    • Diane Chandler Diane Chandler says:

      Frankie, God does have a plan for our lives. During times of transition, we might feel discouraged if “the next thing” does not suddenly emerge. But we can be confident that if our hearts are right and we earnestly are seeking Him, He will lead us exactly to where He desires us to be. I’m excited about your graduation and know that the Lord will continue to use you mightily.

  2. Enoch says:

    Thank you, Dr. Chandler. Your post is such a encouraging and timely reminder for me. It is so affirming and reassuring. I am confident that as His sheep, we will hear our Shepherd’s voice loud and clear. Please keep me in your prayers that I am always in the center of His will, hearing His voice incessantly.

    Sincerely,
    Enoch

    • Diane Chandler Diane Chandler says:

      Enoch, your life bespeaks a life of surrender to the Lord. And your desire to be yoked with Him shows in all that you do.

  3. Joyce Ojiaku says:

    Dr. Chandler brought out an appealing point; “God speaking through circumstances” captivated me. Assuredly, our vision is narrow and our discernment is also narrow. We do not know what may be hiding around the area, that’s why we need God to lead the way. “Ye know not what shall be on the morrow” (James 4:14). But, God even knows the number of hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7). “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth” (2 Chron 16:9). Not even one sparrow falls to the ground that God does not know about (Luke 12:6). Our God, Who sees everything at once, will guide our lives for us, likewise.

    I went through a weird challenge, the help and guidance I simply needed was to seek a personal relationship with God and hear His heart. I approached the Lord and sought His help in some precise manner. He did what I could not do…really I was shocked. As I observed how God promised David and his men that all would be rescued (I Sam 30:8).It is takes discipline to make that determination. My trust should not be in myself. I’m not strong enough, God is…absolutely!

  4. Diane Chandler Diane Chandler says:

    Joyce, thank you for your comments. Sometimes we may feel as though we’re forgotten or actually abandonned (which David could have felt at Ziklag). When I look back at my own life, I am so thankful for the opportunities that did not come through just as much as the ones that did ~ because God had a better plan. Sometimes, it takes some time to see it that way, but God knows the way that we take. And if we remain in Him (John 15), we can be assured that the Shepherd will guide us.

  5. Marvin Smith says:

    Dr. Chandler,

    I thank you for your article entitled, “Being Guided By God.”
    After attending seminary for two semesters at Regent University, I’ve come to a crossroad regarding two areas. The first area is concerning my stump regarding when to publicly announce to my church congregation God’s ministerial calling in my life. The second sphere is in reference to the perplexing question of how God desires for me to incorporate my Music and Preaching Ministries into a combination by which He will be glorified, coupled with the notion of ministering to those who have the capability to come to know Jesus, but are being held hostage by strongholds.

    I wholeheartedly believe that God speaks through the areas identified by you (Scriptures, circumstances, Holy Spirit, input of others and through confirmation of any and all of the above); however, I equally suppose that I must be available to receive the Word of Truth which God divinely delivers to me.

    Far too often, I get disappointed when God’s answer is not what I expect it to be. As such, I constantly have to exercise humility regarding my being in alignment with what God intends for my life and ministries, as opposed to what I aspire for them.

    My constant prayer is that I will be receptive and obedient to God’s voice. “I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for He will speak peace unto His people, and to His saints….” (Psalm 85:8. KJV)

    I now realize that when I deviate from God’s instructions to me, I’m not in alignment with God’s Word, Will, or Way for my life; I’m in alignment with Marvin’s will, word, and way for my life!

    Many blessings,

    Marvin Smith

  6. Diane Chandler Diane Chandler says:

    Thank you, Marvin, for adding “real life” to this blog. Real life happens in the questions and uncertainties of timing ~ including when to speak, when to seek support, and when to wait on the Lord for the release to move forward. It is reassuring to me that God is more committed to this process than we are. And His grace and peace are the headlights that hopefully will lead us into the future.

    Someone once said, “If we don’t move forward in peace, we will move forward in pieces.”

    As you suggest, we must be available to receive His guidance. I think of those in Scripture who sought the Lord (i.e., Abraham, Moses, David, Paul), believing that the He would indeed speak clearly to them. There surely is no fool-proof formula for the timing of things. But we have to believe that the Lord honor our hearts as we seek Him. As the Psalmist writes, “Direct my footsteps according to your word…” (Ps. 119:133).

  7. Joe McDaniel says:

    Sometimes,

    God speaks by the fact that he is not speaking……..chew on that for a sec. There are times when there is seemingly a silence from God. To add another dynamic to this, one must realize that during those times when God is not speaking, there is still an approach to His heart and intent. Diane, I’d like to hear your words of wisdom on the following:

    When God is not speaking:
    1. Go Back to the last thing that he spoke to you and ensure your obedience to it.
    2. Check your relationships – be sure to resolve any strife or unforgiveness.
    3. Check your tithing and faith walk – ensure that you’re not misaligned with his word in anyway.
    4. Check your faith – are you in a place of doubt and unbelief. or are you impatient – has God already answered you once, though you seek a different answer? OR does the silence indicate a need to wait on God to build faith and total dependance on him.
    5. Has one in spiritual authority already answered you on the matter or petition. God may not speak again, if he has already spoken through his servants.

    I could provide more, but I won’t write another article here. There may be times with the flow of God’s voice seems blocked and in seeking His voice, you only get a dial tone. If i could add a sixth item to your list Dr. Chandler, God can speak volumes by not speaking :)

    I miss you and your teaching tremendously – Your classes have changed my life – forever.

    Blessings

    joe

  8. Diane Chandler Diane Chandler says:

    Joe,

    I appreciate your words of exhortation related what to do when we don’t hear clear answers from God. Thank you for these. Seeming silences do seem to be cause for introspection in the areas you mention.

    Years ago, I read the biography of George Muller, a man of faith and prayer living in the 19th century, who believed God for supernatural provision for the orphans under his care. Before beginning this life work, he was so eager to move into God’s service that he actually played the British lottery, hoping that if his ticket were to be drawn that would indicate he was to move forward. If not, he would stay home.

    His biographyer wrote that Mueller learned two critical lessons from this experience: “First, that the safe guide in every crisis is believing prayer in connection with the Word of God. Secondly, that continued uncertainty as to one’s course is a reason for continued waiting” (See Arthur T. Pierson’s biography, George Muller of Bristol, pp. 40-41).

    I wonder if God delays because He wants us to pray….and wait.

    One way the Lord leads the believer is through a sense of peace in the heart. And if peace is not present, this may be reason for continued waiting. It seems better to walk in peace than to walk in pieces.

    Other times, it seems that the Lord might lead through closing doors, which has the same guiding effect as the opened door.

    At still other times, I wonder if the Lord speaks by saying, “You choose, and I’ll be with you.”

    Joe, my blessings extend to you and your family~