God delights in revealing His will to His children and promises
to do so all throughout His Word, yet Christians often struggle
with uncertainty when their paths don't seem clearly defined.
"I'm not expecting an audible answer to my request for
direction, but even the faintest whisper or open door would be so
welcome right now.", sighs one weary believer. Since
God does promise to lead us, why is there so much confusion and
lack of clarity in so many Christians' lives when it comes to
discerning His will?
If we don't have the assurance that God is for us, in us, and
leading us, we will constantly be bombarded by the enemy and
rendered ineffective. How can we avoid this hindrance and be
assured? By looking to God's Word and understanding some of the
ways He leads us, and by yielding ourselves fully to the Lord and
abiding in Him!
In John, Jesus assures us, "I will not leave you
as orphans..." (John 14) and tells us that He is
giving us a Helper, the Holy Spirit Who will guide us into all
truth and show us things to come. (John 16) He also
promises to bring God's Word to our remembrance. Often the Lord
will bring just the right verse to encourage us or give us wisdom
about a particular situation --this should motivate us all to
spend more time meditating on God's Word and getting it into our
"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will
send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your
remembrance all things that I said to you. "Peace I leave
with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give
to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be
afraid." --John 14:26-27
Often in hindsight we can look back and see how the Lord has
led us through the years, but we also need to know that He is
leading us now, even when circumstances may appear dark and we're
not certain which way to go. James 1 says we need to ask
God for wisdom and then believe He will give it, otherwise
we'll receive nothing from Him. We don't have to live our life
in such a way that we step fearfully --oh so full of doubt
--questioning that God is actually with us each day.
Are you in darkness? God will lead you!
"Who among you fears the LORD? Who obeys the voice of
His Servant? Who walks in darkness And has no light? Let him trust
in the name of the LORD And rely upon his God." --Isa
"Therefore I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the
God of my salvation; My God will hear me. Do not rejoice over me,
my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The
LORD will be a light to me." --Micah 7:7-8
How DOES God lead us? Misconceptions abound --everything from
the idea that His leading has to be a huge supernatural and
mystical occurrence to the practice of setting out fleeces and
tests (and if "A" is the result, then God must be saying
no, and if "B" occurs, it must be a yes). Judges 6 does
give the example of setting a fleece but that would be the rare
exception rather than the rule, and God wants us to exercise
faith in Him to lead us without leaning on signs and circumstances
(which can also be manipulated by the enemy).
First of all, we need to make sure we're in a right
relationship with Him so we can clearly receive His direction!
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse
your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you
double-minded." --James 4:8
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to
forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all
unrighteousness." --1 John 1:9
We need to be humble and teachable (because God resists
the proud!) and open to His direction, not assuming that
He's going to automatically agree with our plans.
Here are just a few ways God does lead us:
* By the principles found
in His Word.
The primary way the Lord leads us is by the principles
contained in His Word. (2 Timothy 3:16) As mentioned
earlier, often the Holy Spirit will bring to our remembrance key
scriptures and principles from the Word that apply to our current
circumstances. Any further "signs" or specific
directions we receive will always confirm and never contradict the
clear principles found in His Word.
"The entrance of Your Words gives light; it gives
understanding to the simple." "Direct my steps by Your
word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me." --Psalm
* By the quiet, still voice
of the Holy Spirit speaking to our hearts.
Sometimes this can be an impression or prompting,
quickening us to take a direction we hadn't previously considered
or confirming our own plans, giving us His peace and assurance
that we're on the right track. Or it may be a "check"
impressing us not to go forward.
Other times it's an especially distinct impression that comes
to us seemingly out of nowhere -- FLASH! BOOM! --a thought
that comes when we're thinking about something totally different.
Still, we must judge whether this is actually from the Lord or a
mere distraction from our "flesh" or the enemy --here
again, God will help us!
* By the witness and confirmation
from other godly Christians.
"This will be the third time I am coming to you.
"By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be
established." --2 Cor 13:1
"Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the
multitude of counselors there is safety....he who heeds counsel is
wise." --Prov. 11:14, 12:15b
* By showing us when we're
making the wrong decision.
For example, in Acts 16:6, the Holy Spirit forbade them
to preach the word in Asia. In Acts 17:7, they tried to go
into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. While it
doesn't say how the Holy Spirit revealed God's will, it wasn't
necessarily a great supernatural sign that stopped them in their
tracks! If we're fully yielding ourselves to God and have a
humble, teachable spirit, He will show us when we need to change
* By experiencing His peace
in our hearts.
When we experience His peace in our hearts, it is a
confirmation that He is with us and in the decision we're making;
when we don't experience that peace, it's a good sign that we need
to seek Him further and wait on Him before proceeding with our
plans. This peace has NOTHING to do with outward circumstances
--one can be surrounded by negative circumstances and still have
the peace of the Lord and confirmation that he's on the right
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer
and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made
known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all
understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ
"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts..."
* By circumstances --open
and closed doors.
This method of interpreting God's will requires much caution
because the enemy can manipulate circumstances --and an open
door doesn't necessarily mean that God wants you to go through,
just as a closed door doesn't automatically mean He's opposed to
you going forward. There are sometimes hindrances from the
enemy just as Paul experienced in 1 Thessalonians 2:18.
Sometimes God wants you to plough through and make a door where
there seems to be no door. He delights in working amazing
miracles! Other times He has a better plan and wants to direct you
in an entirely different direction so He shuts the door on
purpose. So let His Holy Spirit direct you here and don't go
entirely by the circumstances alone --but sometimes God does lead
us this way!
* By silence.
Experiencing God's silence can be both painful and powerful --some
of the greatest spiritual growth is the result of learning to
trust in God's leading and direction even when He appears silent. God
wants our faith to be strong in Him, even when we don't receive
immediate or obvious "answers". He wants us to be able
to step out by faith, trusting in His leading, even when it seems
to be darkness all around, having confidence that He will show us
if we're going the wrong way.
On the other hand, we don't want to misinterpret our dullness
of hearing for God's silence...maybe He has been trying to speak
to us but we've been too busy or too dull of hearing? Does His
Word speak to our situation and we've been too slothful to pay the
cost to see what He's already revealed? We need to make sure
our whole focus is God, not ourselves...we need to recognize that
it is HE who enables us to hear, not that we're so
"super-spiritual" --spiritual pride will hinder us from
receiving from the Lord for He resists the proud but responds to
* Through our own thinking and
Sometimes the Lord is leading us already by our own thoughts
and actions when we're not even fully aware of it. God works even
in our own preparations --if our hearts are right toward Him and
we're earnestly seeking to please Him in every way. As we walk
in the light that He has given us, He will bless and ordain our
"The preparations of the heart belong to man, But the
answer of the tongue is from the LORD....A man's heart plans his
way, But the LORD directs his steps." --Prov. 16:1, 9
His will is rarely accomplished by our remaining passive,
waiting upon Him to cause all the circumstances to fall into
place. If our hearts are toward Him, He causes even our desires
to line up with His will. He says He will grant us the desires
of our hearts and work in us both to will and do of His good
pleasure. (Psa.37:4-5; Phil.2:13)
There is an old saying, "You can't steer a parked
car". The Lord rarely speaks to us in a complete
void. He encourages us to apply scriptural principles, use our
"renewed minds" (Eph 4:23; Col 3:10), and
plan our way (Prov 16). The problems occur if we plan our
way without being open to Divine intervention --our plans should
never be more important to us than being in God's will!
How often do we plan something that "seems good"
and then later look back and see that God was at work through our
plans? This should encourage us that God truly DOES lead us
even when we're not experiencing obvious "supernatural
manifestations" on a daily basis! Our faith and works should
go together just as explained in James 2. When our entire
life is dedicated to God's glory, making our aim to be pleasing to
Him (2 Cor.5:9), we give Him the credit for all those good
things that occurred simultaneously as we were preparing and He
was working. We need to always recognize the Lord as our
deliverer and the One who blesses our work and brings forth the
fruit. (John 15; Prov.21:31)
"The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But
deliverance is of the LORD." --Prov 21:31
A few principles of confirmation
1. God's Word --while
there may not be specific instructions about your situation, there
are principles which establish boundary lines.
2. God's Peace --if the
peace of the Lord is there, you can rest in the fact that He is
with you and blessing your steps, just make sure you remain open
to any Divine interventions!
3. The Principles of Proverbs 3:5-6
"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."
A. Trust Him with ALL your heart, have FAITH that He is
leading you and will show you if you're going the wrong way. Flesh
often is more comfortable with the "concrete" but God
wants us to see our faith as the "substance of things
hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Heb.
11:1) He promises over and over that He will lead us --let's
B. Don't lean to your own understanding! Don't think
you have to know and understand every single detail about the
future before you make a move. Flesh often wants yearly bread
and He promises daily bread! (Matt.6:11) Our security
should be in Him, knowing that He holds our future --not that we
understand it all right now. He purposely doesn't give us all the
details, but assures us He will give us the grace, strength, and
wisdom as we need it -- not necessarily in advance.
C. Acknowledge Him in ALL your
ways. Our lives should be surrendered to Him without
reservation. (Romans 12:1-2)
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of
God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy,
acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be
conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of
your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and
perfect will of God."
It is our prayer that the scriptures contained in this article
will give you an assurance that the Lord does want to lead you
each and every day and help you recognize some of the methods He
uses to guide your steps.
"Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus
from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood
of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work
to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight,
through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.
Amen." --Heb. 13:20
[Note--If you don't know the Lord in a personal, saving
way--find out how you can be set free from all condemnation and
receive Eternal life, as well as His daily help and guidance! (Knowing God)
© Copyright Tamara Eaton 1994-2005, all rights reserved.