“… He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.”
Psalm 23:3 (NIV)
To most of us spiritual guidance is a mystery. We often wonder how God guides and if the decision we are making is really God’s will for our lives. Can you know for certain? Throughout Scripture we read of men and women that God guided, and we see the outcome of their obedience to His guidance or their disobedience. Obedience always resulted in blessing, though at times that blessing may have come later or even after some disillusionment and doubts. Even the great Apostle Paul said, “Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 (NLT) Spiritual guidance can be like driving in the fog sometimes. There are patches of clarity and then dense patches of fog that cloud our vision and cause us to proceed with caution. So, how does God guide us today? Jesus said in John 10:27 (NLT) “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.” In order for God to guide, you must listen to His voice. That happens as you follow Him. Noah was a great example of that in the Old Testament. Before it had ever even rained on the earth, God guided Noah to build an ark. Can you imagine how ridiculous that must have been in his day? He preached for 120 years that a flood was coming. How did he know? How did God guide him? Genesis 6:9 tells us. “This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.” Do you walk with God daily? Are you a Christ follower? If so, you can rest in the confidence that as your Good Shepherd, He will guide you along the right paths for His name’s sake. That’s the promise of Psalm 23:3 in our passage today. But, how do you know that God is guiding you?
First, weigh your decisions in the balance of God’s Word. God’s guidance will never contradict His revealed Word. If God has given us a command we don’t need to pray about it, just obey it. Secondly, will your decision draw you into a closer relationship with God or cause you to drift away from him? Third, pray until you can yield whatever the decision is to the will of God, until you are dead to your own will. Jesus prayed in the garden, “Not my will but Your will be done.” Finally, as the Holy Spirit prompts you and a door of opportunity opens, take a step of faith with the prayer that if this is not God’s direction He will close the door. So often people think they have to wait until they are 100% sure before they take a step of faith. But because we walk by faith and not by sight we will rarely get 100% confirmation. Yet, as we take that step of faith we are not taking a blind leap in the dark. We have committed the decision to God in prayer, checked out His Word, waited for God’s timing and a door of opportunity, asked for His guidance and then proceed in faith. As you look back on those decisions you can more clearly see how God has guided you and give Him praise!