39. Partake – The Christian disciple and Guidance
Solomon writing in Proverbs 3v5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
The Prophet Isaiah speaking in Isaiah 6v8: “Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.”
Perhaps the most common question all Christian disciples ask at some point is: “How can I know God’s will for my life and His guidance?” There are at least three main parts about being guided, as a Christian disciple, into what is God’s will for them. These involve being controlled by the Holy Spirit, through counsel and circumstances and through making wise decisions. Of course being active in prayer and studying the Bible also play major roles, but we have already discussed those previously.
1. The Christian disciple is guided by being controlled by the Holy Spirit
So firstly, the Christian disciple is guided by being controlled by the Holy Spirit. Another way to say this is by submitting to the Spirit’s leading. Fundamental to being guided by the Spirit, is for the Christian disciple to be filled with the Spirit, or controlled by the Spirit. When the Spirit is quenched (1 Thessalonians 5v19) or grieved (Ephesians 4v30), then the Spirit no long has control of the Christian disciple. In order to allow the Spirit control, the Christian disciple needs to resubmit them self to God and do the following daily:
· The Christian disciple confesses all known sin (1 John 1v9) and accepts the assurance of being forgiven for quenching or grieving the Holy Spirit.
· The Christian disciple devotes themself to being a living sacrifice (Romans 12v1-2)
· The Christian disciple enable the Holy Spirit to convict them of sin (Psalm 139v23-24)
· The Christian disciple seeks the Holy Spirit’s divine power in order to serve Jesus Christ (Galatians 5v16; Ephesians 3v16)
Part of being controlled by the Holy Spirit, the Christian disciple is to yield to Him. Romans 6v13 and James 4v7 command this. In yielding to the Holy Spirit, the body (1 Corinthians 6v20) and mind (Romans 12v1-2) are given to Him sacrificially for the glory of Jesus Christ. Both the body and the mind are yielded, because the body activates what is conceived in the mind. It is a total dedication of all thoughts, plans and actions into God’s hands and the seeking of His divine wisdom.
2. The Christian disciple is guided through Counsel and Circumstances
Additionally to submitting to the Holy Spirit, other people and circumstances are also great helps in regards to guidance. Proverbs 24 reminds us that: “The wise are mightier than the strong, and those with knowledge grow stronger and stronger. So don’t go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many advisers. Wisdom is too lofty for fools. Among leaders at the city gate, they have nothing to say.”
We may not go to war, but seeking the advice of others in trying to understand God’s guidance, plays an important role in deciding God’s will in the life of the Christian disciple. When seeking the advice of others bear in mind that the person should be a reliable, godly and faithful servant of God. As Proverbs 25v19 says “Putting confidence in an unreliable person in times of trouble is like chewing with a broken tooth or walking on a lame foot”. However, the Christian disciple must also be aware that even the godliest of people make mistakes, such as Nathan the prophet when he exhorted David to construct the temple (2 Samuel 7). In the end, each Christian disciple is responsible for his or her own actions and for knowing God’s guidance for themselves.
Then we have circumstances, which are a great learning tool. Circumstances surround us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, Christian disciples are to live above all circumstances, yet be aware of them. Through circumstances, God often discloses his perfect will. As Paul writes in Romans 8v28: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
Some examples of where God’s will was discovered through circumstances include:
· Abraham being asked to substitute a ram caught in a thicket for his son, Isaac (Genesis 22).
· God arranging for Pharaoh’s daughter to be bathing in the River Nile as the baby Moses floated by (Exodus 2).
· Paul’s nephew over hearing a plot to murder Paul, and then reporting it to the authorities and therefore saving Paul’s life (Acts 23).
Now some may sceptically claim that these are purely coincidental, but if they are, and all others like these are, its an awful lot of coincidence!
3. The Christian disciple is guided by making wise Decisions:
A great way to make wise decisions is by endeavouring to maintain a right attitude, and asking yourself the following questions:
· Have I prayed and meditating on God’s Word regarding the decision?
· Have I given every area of my life to Christ?
· Am I prepared to be obedient to God? (Proverbs 3v5-7)
· Am I willing to sacrifice my desires for God’s Will?
· Am I loving towards the other person?
· It should not control me habitually (1 Corinthians 6v12)
· Will it cause another person to sin/stumble? (1 Corinthians 8v9-13)
· Does it build Christian character? (1 Corinthians 10v23)
· Does it bring glory to God? (1 Corinthians 10v31)
· Can I thank God for this activity – could Jesus accompany me?
· If in doubt, throw it out! (Romans 14v22-23)
· Abstain from all appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5v22)
For more to think about please do read Isaiah 6. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.
Q1. Am I willing to do whatever God commands me to do?
Q2. Am I willing to be humble enough to ask other people’s advice?
Q3. Am I willing to sacrifice my desires so that God’s Will is achieved and His glory acclaimed?
As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partake(at)hotmail.co.uk. I would love to hear from you and if these are making any difference at all to your continual Christian discipleship! Thank you.