God tries to guide us with his leadings.
God encourages us to make the right decisions in life.
God knows best. Follow his will.
Importantly, please read the introductory article, “God’s guidance” to this subsection of the website, “God’s guiding hand” 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. That is if we decide to use 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’ method of guidance (discussed in the previous article). Indeed, from my decades of evaluation, most are not.
This particular article explains how our loving Lord offers us hints about the ‘best way to go’ with our choices in life. And yes, as I explain later, his help through leadings really can be recognised in hindsight.
2. FINDING PURPOSE IN LIFE
Normally, God leaves us to just get on with our lives to the best of our ability: make our own decisions. But even so, God does know the ‘ideal’ direction in life for each of us, to make our lives more contented and purposeful. And in effect we are talking about our ‘needs’ in life here rather than our ‘wants’. And it also relates to the ‘needs of others’ I must add! (Life isn’t supposed to be ‘just about us’, you see.)
So – as far as leadings are concerned – the Lord can give us ‘hints’ one way or another as he sees fit, when a risky decision does face us. BUT he leaves us with our ‘free will’ to make the final decision. He is simply giving us directions through the events unfolding in our lives, quietly suggesting that we ‘follow his will‘.
And look, 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 there as a result.
Again from my experiences, his hints within day to day life are most definitely recognisable, particularly when we ‘twig’ to his presence there.
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 get the greatest benefits from God’s leadings, we need to firstly learn how to recognise them.
3.1 Negative leadings
Now, at my stage of faith journey, I know he always piles up these ‘warning signs’ in front of my poor choices in life. What I actually mean by warnings signs are odd little obstacles, or events, that ‘crop up’ far more often than I would expect.
In effect I personally came to realise these leadings created a degree of difficulty, stopping me from ‘easily’ moving forward in a direction that I was planning to follow. (Note that positive leadings are explained under the next subheading.)
But you know, the test comes when we really want to do what we’ve planned (i.e. ‘it’ may even have become an obsession) and then we start getting these ‘vibes’ from the Lord that we shouldn’t go that way!
Slowly but surely we do learn … and more on that later also.
3.2 Positive leadings
Of course, the Lord does not just provide negative leadings. He also just as effectively gives us positive leadings as well, to encourage us into that ‘better direction’ available to us. Although dependent on actual circumstances, that alternative may not be as desirable to us at the time, mind you.
We can expect positive leadings to offer a ‘smoother’ direction forward (through less resistance). The easiest route is often the right one, in other words.
In his lesson to us, God is squeezing the door on the wrong direction in life and widely opening another one that is more suited to contentment and purpose in life.
3.3 Practice makes perfect
In early days of trialling its use in your life, it is wise to really apply lots of thought to what appears to be God’s leadings. But once we get a better understanding of his method for leading us – that he sets up with each of us – then its reality becomes much more solid and useful. Yes, ‘practice makes perfect’.
The important end-results of these ‘leadings’, throughout life, should come to be seen as well above what could be accepted as mere chance. They just happen far too often, when you get in touch with them. Then, God’s ‘gift’ of leadings really does prove itself, again and again. I explain this overall ‘judgement process’, that we generally apply towards God’s assistance throughout our lives, under sub heading 5.2 in the article “God’s presence in our lives“.
4. CHANGING OUR DIRECTION
It is a real 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 even other people, in some way (physically, spiritually, emotionally, developmentally or even financially) if we do make a poor choice.
If one direction planned in life – relative to: our journey of faith, study, career, personal relationships, important life projects, helping others, buying essential assets etc. – is becoming difficult to follow and its alternative looks easier to ‘go with’, then God may well be indicating that the alternative IS a better choice.
The tough part is that we must use a ‘good dose’ of will power and react to his guidance, when he offers it in this way. But, from experience, it does get more acceptable to us ‘in the long run’ 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 remember ignoring some of those more serious ‘leadings’ and making bad choices anyway.
If you can remember examples of ignoring those leadings (e.g. little obstacles), you will probably also recall the results. 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 some level of financial difficulty which negatively affected 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 God’s leadings being the ‘real deal’ 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 bad results 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; his ‘grace‘.
The natural tendency, for many of us, is to aim for what we ‘want’ right now rather than what we will actually ‘need’ in the longer term. But our lives are made all the more ‘purposeful’ and ‘content’ if we can recognise, and then react correctly to, God’s leadings.
There are also other methods that God uses to guide us in the right direction. Please continue on to “Advice through others”.