The Christian View of Guidance

All Christians need and desire guidance. It is implicit in the existence of a personal God who cares, leads and enters into personal relationships with his creatures so they will accomplish his purpose on earth. With such a God Christians should be among the most decisive people on earth. In reality Christians are often the most indecisive, partly because of some mistaken ideas about guidance.  In today’s blog, we will explore the myths about guidance. In the upcoming weeks, we’ll look at scriptural images of the guide and the guided, and some steps for doing the will of God. The outcome can be well expressed in the prayer in Psalm 143:8-10: “Show me the way I should go. . . . Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”


Myths and Misunderstandings [M&M)

There are at least 8 barriers to gaining a truly biblical approach to finding and doing the will of God.

M&M#1. God’s wonderful plan. It is a myth and misunderstanding that God has a wonderful plan for your life; God has something better—a wonderful purpose ( 1:9). God’s purpose is that you should live to the praise of his glory and participate in his grand purpose of renewing everything under the headship of Jesus Christ. The difference between a plan and a purpose is like the difference between a blueprint and a stream that carries people along even though they may make adjustments along the way.

M&M#2. Your decisions and God. It is a myth and misunderstanding that God wants to make the decisions for you. Sometimes people cry out, “God, please take control of my life.” In reality God does not want to make robots out of us and normally does not answer such prayers positively. The Bible does not sanctify passivity that is, always waiting and wanting to be acted upon.

M&M#3. God’s one way. It is a myth and misunderstanding that there is only one way to do the will of God. Sometimes this is called the “center of his will” syndrome. It is promoted by popular Christianity but is not found in Scripture. There are many ways of doing God’s will within his purpose.

M&M#4. Knowing God’s will. It is a myth and misunderstanding that God’s will is difficult to discover. The pagan world says this, and pagan religions therefore make much of guidance and seeking guidance through priestly divination. Occult and magic practices follow the same path. People look for signs and portents. But followers of Jesus are given in the Bible both wisdom and the Spirit of God to guide (Psalm 25:9; Psalm 48:14; Proverbs 3:5-6; John 16:13).

M&M#5. Signs and wonders. It is a myth and misunderstanding that God’s guidance is normally associated with supernatural signs and messages through prophecies, “fleeces” and extraordinary phenomena. In the book of Acts and the Epistles we see Christians constantly using their redeemed judgment (Acts 6:3; Acts 15:36; Acts 20:16; Romans 1:10-13). All cases of supernatural leading were unsought. Sometimes people wait for supernatural phenomena when they should be practicing what they already know of God’s will.

M&M#6. Open doors. It is a myth and misunderstanding that God normally calls through “open” doors. Believers are encouraged not only to go through open doors of opportunity (1 Cor. 16:9) but also to break down closed doors for God (Acts 4:19-20). Sometimes relying on open doors amounts to being guided by circumstances.

M&M#7. Not natural. It is a myth and misunderstanding that what is natural for you—including the way you are made and what you think in your own mind—is probably not the will of God. Just the reverse: God has written his will into the very fibers of our personality and spiritual gifts. We fulfill God’s will by doing what he created us to do. Our best thoughts are from God. In Christ we have a renewed mind (Romans 12:2; 1 Cor. 2:16; 2 Cor. 5:17).

M&M#8. Beginning again. It is a myth and misunderstanding that when you make a mistake, you have to go back and start again—if you can! Grace means the exact opposite. God’s grace enables us to live fully in the present, free from the past, anticipating a glorious future. In God’s sovereignty, our mistakes—and the mistakes others have committed against us (Genesis 50:20)—are incorporated into God’s great purpose for our lives and for creation.

Having debunked these myths, we will turn to Scripture to find 3 empowering visions of the Guide and the guided next time. Bye for now.