How do we make choices in life, as believers in God? What are the reasons that help us choose one way or the other? Everyday, we make financial decisions, relational decisions, emotional decisions –based on our need for money, our need for secure families and friendships, and our need for emotional stability.
I’m broke, what do I do? She’s in a poor school, should we move to a better catchment area? I feel upset, is my anger justified?
Questions like that.
There are ultimately only two ways of answering questions of choice: a response of the flesh and a response of the spirit. There’s a couple of verses in Proverbs 20: 24-27 that speak to this: “Man’s goings are of the Lord; how then can a man understand his own way? … The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.” That is to say, you are not designed to live your life without God’s constant help. Your “goings” (and comings) are “of the Lord” How can you really expect to understand your own “way” properly?
So we arrive at the words of the picture at the top: the sons of God (those in relationship with God) are led by the Spirit of God.
How does the Spirit lead us?
We are led mainly by the inward witness. We have an inner assurance that some choices carry a green light. It’s a clear statement.If you know and love and trust a human parent, then you will automatically gravitate towards the things that please them. Your relationship creates a guide of conduct. This isn’t slavish rule-keeping, it’s a free love-response.
Now there are other things to say about guidance, through the Bible, through the counsel of trusted believing friends, through prophetic words, through extraordinary events and dreams. But you have to filter all of this –even the Bible – through your own personal walk with the Lord. That’s why your personal prayer times and reading the Bible times and fellowship with other Christians times are so crucial. They all serve to develop your personal relationship with God.
And you can’t short-cut that personal relationship. It’s unscriptural to go to a prophet for guidance, for example. They can only confirm what God is saying to you.It’s foolish to grab a couple of verses at random from the Bible and say, “This is what God is telling me to do now.” (“And Judas went out and hanged himself….. Go thou and do likewise.“)
And this day by day guidance is for every believer. Read carefully through John 14-16. Jesus speaks extensively about the ministry and role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. And that role is specifically concerned with guidance and day to day support.
The Holy Spirit is called “the Spirit of Truth.” The word means integrity, honesty, and complete understanding. And John 14:16 reads: “The Spirit of Truth dwells with you,and he shall be in you.” In 14:26, Jesus says “The Holy Spirit will teach you all things.” In 16:13, Jesus adds: “When He is come he will guide you into all truth.. He will show you things to come. ” In the Amplified Version, the word “Comforter” is given multiple explanations. TheHoly Spirit is described as our “comforter, helper, counsellor, advocate,intercessor, stand-by, strengthener.
We have a Guide. We have a Counsellor. We are not left to blunder through our choices alone! He guides us!
Perhaps it’s time we got more acquainted, don’t you think? Perhaps I need to learn to trust that inner witness and follow its lead. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice.”
How do I learn to listen? Well, first I have to stop talking. Many times I fill up my prayer and worship with such a barrage of self-centred neediness that I give no time to hear the “still, small voice.”
Second, I have to know the Bible much much better. God said “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” I need to really uncover my own identity in Christ and stand firmly on what God says about me and not on what I feel about myself.
Set yourself to read the Bible in a year.Let God’s word “dwell in you richly” and I guarantee that when the choices come up before you that the Holy Spirit will highlight just the right verse for that occasion.
We have a guide on the inside. And “As many as are led (guided) by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God…The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.”
Learn to listen to the inner witness and move into supernatural living.