There are two things we must know in order to receive God’s guidance. First, we must realize that we absolutely need it. Second, we must wait on God for His guidance. We must never make decisions using our own reasoning and logic. For example, when Jesus gave the disciples the great gospel commission, He told them, “‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen” (Matt. 28:19, 20).
Normal human logic or “logic of the flesh” would conclude that the gospel should be preached in every village the disciples passed through. However, this was not the case. The disciples needed God’s direction to know when and where He wanted them to preach. They were to wait on Him until that direction came. They were not to go forward preaching the gospel until they had clear revelation from God as to where to go.
We see this illustrated in Paul’s missionary journey described in the book of Acts:
Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them” (Acts 16:6-10).
They were going to go to Asia, but the Spirit said no. Then they were going to preach the gospel in Mysia and Bithynia, but the Spirit said no again. Then the Spirit gave Paul a vision indicating they should go to Macedonia. Immediately, they followed the Spirit’s direction and preached the gospel there.
As the disciples did, we must also learn to wait on God’s direction and instruction in our personal life and service for him. I have been a pastor for many years, and it is easy for me to think I know what the Lord would have me to do. However, that is a dangerous position for me to take. I am an apprentice shepherd working for Christ, the great Shepherd. I am to follow His directions as pastor and not simply do what I think should be done. This requires learning how to wait on the Lord for guidance. That is what David said he did:
“Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For you are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day” (Ps. 25:5).
A well-known proverb supports this biblical teaching:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Prov. 3:5, 6).
This text clearly teaches that we are not to lean or depend on our own understanding. Instead, we are to trust God for guidance by “acknowledging” Him, which means by keeping an intimate moment-by-moment connection with Him. We are to constantly wait on God, looking to Him to direct all our paths in life, not just our spiritual path.
Often, I remind myself that I don’t know how to pastor, even though I have 30–plus years in full-time ministry, most of that as a pastor. For me, this helps me keep my focus on the Lord. I must continually look to Him for guidance in the ministry He wants to perform through me. All leaders in God’s church are in danger of forgetting who they work for. The more experience we have and the higher up in the organization we go, the greater danger we are in of following our own thoughts and our own ideas in carrying out God’s work. Our prayer for guidance can become a ceremonial duty before we begin our day or a meeting rather than an earnest seeking of God’s guidance.”
Personal Reflection and Discussion
1. What two things must we know in order to receive God’s guidance?
2. Is it safe to follow human logic when seeking to follow God’s instruction? Why, or why not?
3. Give a biblical illustration where human logic would have led the disciples to incorrectly follow God’s instruction.
4. What is one of our great dangers when we have been in God’s work for many years? How do we avoid this danger?
• Call your prayer partner and discuss this devotional with him/her.
• Pray with your prayer partner:
1. for God to baptize you with His Holy Spirit.
2. for God to revive you and His church.
3. for God to teach you to wait for His guidance.
4. for the individuals on your prayer list.”
Excerpt From: Dennis Smith. “40 Days.”