God tries to shepherd us with his leadings.
He encourages us to make appropriate decisions in life.
Know our life’s purpose. Follow his will.
Importantly, please read the introductory article, “God’s guiding hand” to this subsection of the website (with the same title) before going on. That is if you have not done so already. It briefly describes the various methods of God’s guidance, available to us. And it discusses how they can assist us during life, especially if we deliberately harness them.
(To read about the ‘who’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of this website please click here.)
Clearly not all areas of God’s plans for our lives are so ‘set in concrete’, as in the case of his opening and closing doors (discussed in the previous article). Indeed, from my decades of evaluation, most are not.
2. FINDING PURPOSE IN LIFE
Simply, we are normally left to just get on with our lives to the best of our ability. But even so, God does know the ideal direction in life for each of us, to make our lives more contented. So, he just shepherds us with hints one way or another as he sees fit, but leaves us with our free will to make final decisions. He is simply providing directions through the events unfolding in our lives, quietly suggesting we follow his will. If we can get in tune with God; get in sync with him, then we will inevitably find ‘purpose’ in all areas of our lives! And that does equal contentment.
Again from my experiences, his hints within day to day life are most definitely recognisable, particularly when we ‘twig’ to his presence there. And when acted upon appropriately, these hints can make life a lot more stress-free in the ‘long run’ as a result.
For this God is our God for ever and ever;
He will be our guide even to the end.
3. RECOGNISING HIS LEADINGS
So as to potentially benefit from God’s leadings, we need to firstly learn how to recognise them.
As Christians, we should know to look for obvious warnings in life from God. At my stage of faith journey, I am sure he invariably piles up these ‘warning signs’ or omens in front of my poor choices in life. What I actually mean by warnings are odd little things that crop up unannounced far more often than we would expect. In effect they create difficulty, thus preventing us from easily moving forward in a direction that we are planning to commit ourselves to. The test comes when we really want to commit to it (i.e. it may even have become an obsession) and then we start getting these ‘vibes’ that we shouldn’t go that way!
Of course, God does not just provide negative leadings, he also just as effectively provides positive leadings as well. That alternative may not be as desirable to us, mind you. In the analogy, God is squeezing the door on the wrong direction in life and widely opening another one that is more suited. The easy route is often the right one, in other words.
In early days of trialling its use in life, it is wise to really apply adequate thought to what appears to be God’s leadings. But once we get a better understanding of his method or ‘code’ for leading us – that he establishes with each of us as individuals – then its reality becomes much more concrete and extremely useful.
The significance of these ‘leadings’ throughout life are again well above what could be accepted as mere chance. It just happens far too often and when you get in touch with it, then, it really does prove itself … again and again.
4. CHANGING OUR DIRECTION
It is a significant benefit for each of us to have a ‘guide’ on hand, who always knows what will work or fail in our lives. That is a guide who also knows what might harm us, or those people close to us, in some way (physically, spiritually, emotionally, developmentally or even financially).
If one direction planned in life – journey of faith, study, career, dating, important projects, choosing a church to attend, helping others, buying essential assets etc. – is becoming difficult to pursue and its alternative appears easier, then God may well be indicating that the alternative is the better choice.
The tough part is that we must use a ‘good dose’ of self discipline and react to his guidance when he offers it in this manner. But, from experience, it does get easier with time to change direction when his hints mount up!
5. LESSONS LEARNT THROUGH IGNORANCE
Like me, if you think back in time, you really should also be able to recall overriding some of those more significant ‘leadings’ on occasions and making bad choices anyway. That is, going against strong ‘gut feelings’ that are often brought on by unexpected obstacles, or possibly a series of obstacles.
If you can remember examples of ignoring those leadings, you will probably also recall the consequences. These may not be good memories. I know I ‘blew it’ with a couple of major family asset purchases over the decades for example, despite leadings to act differently. On those occasions, this led to a level of financial difficulty which negatively impacted quality of life for my family. It took a while, but I eventually learnt to take stock of such leadings.
Yes, sadly from my point of view, some of the best proof of leadings actually comes from ignoring them!
You may wonder why God allows us to even make poor decisions, i.e. why doesn’t he just ‘close the door’ on them all? Well, one of my clergy team advisers suggested to me that our poor decisions actually help us to grow spiritually as Christians. In other words, the resulting ramifications of our mistakes help us to grow in wisdom. And that is why God often lets us override his guidance through ignorance. And yes, I consider that my friend is correct!
I am confident that God tries to guide us all towards decisions that will be of benefit in the long term, out of his loving care. The natural inclination, for many of us, is to aim for what we ‘want’ right now rather than we actually ‘need’ in the longer term. Our lives are made all the more purposeful and content if we can recognise, and react appropriately to, God’s leadings.
There are other methods that God uses to guide us in the right direction. Please continue on to “Advice from others”.
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