When we begin doing what we think should be done in our life and God’s work without waiting for God’s direction, we are working in the flesh using our own strength and wisdom. We must realize that we can accomplish nothing of real value unless God works in and through us. This is why Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:30: “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God.”
Therefore, when we pray we must express to God our sense of need and our faith in His willingness to instruct and guide us. Pride and self–assurance will get in the way of this happening. Only the “meek” will receive such guidance from the Lord. David stated this in the following way: “The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way” (Ps. 25:9).
You see, it requires meekness, humility, and a trusting faith to wait on God for His guidance and not rush headlong in the direction we think we should go. And when we have meekly asked for His guidance, we must then continue looking to God “all day” for the guidance He has promised. Therefore, we will be continually waiting on the Lord for guidance. As we wait on God for guidance, we are acknowledging that He is the only source of wisdom. We are acknowledging our complete dependence on Him for direction in our personal life and service for Him. This type of waiting provides us with a sense of peace and hope.
Of course, even if we learn to humbly wait on the Lord, we are in constant danger as Christians of reverting back to the flesh and relying on ourselves. This happened many times in the Bible. In Psalm 106 the history of the nation of Israel is remembered. Unfortunately, these sad words are recorded: “They soon for forgot His works; they did not wait for His counsel” (Ps.106:13).
We know the sad history of what happened to Israel when they stopped waiting for God’s guidance. They began following their own ways, which led away from God and led to destruction. Over and over again we read of God’s people choosing to follow their own ways and not wait for God’s direction. Each time led to serious consequences. We see this when Joshua led Israel against Ai, when they made a covenant with the Gibeonites, and when Israel did not follow God’s direction when they entered the Promised Land.
We are all in danger of doing the same thing. We have God’s Word. We think we know how it applies to us, and we move forward in a certain application without waiting on the Lord for direction. As Adventists we see this repeated time and again when the Sabbath truth is shared with someone who thinks they “know” the Word of God. After hearing about the Sabbath, many of these individuals continue to keep Sunday instead of the seventh-day Sabbath because they make their decision based on what they think God would have them do, instead of waiting for His direction in their life.
We must be careful not to become boastful as we talk about people who haven’t accepted the Sabbath truth. How many times have we made personal decisions in the same manner which prove to be disastrous? How many times have we made decisions about God’s work and later it proved not to have God’s blessing? We are in constant danger when we attend committee or board meetings, prayer meetings, or worship services and assume that we know the will of God because we have His Word, previous experience, and our traditions.”
We believe that because we have these things we will come to the right conclusion concerning the will of God on some personal or church matter. However, there may be insights in God’s Word we don’t have and experiences we are lacking. Unless we wait on God for His wisdom and guidance, we will be led by the flesh and find ourselves out of the will of God. How true the text is that says “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Prov. 16:25).
Why do we make decisions and not wait on God? Remember, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18)
Personal Reflection and Discussion
1. What does it mean to serve God in the flesh? Do you struggle with this?
2. How can we avoid serving God in the flesh?
3. What are the requirements to receive God’s guidance?
4. Why do Christians often make wrong decisions thinking they are following the Lord’s will?
• 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 help you avoid serving Him in the flesh.
4. for the individuals on your prayer list.
Excerpt From: Dennis Smith. “40 Days.” iBooks.