As we come to the end of the theory section and before we move into the case studies, I wonder if there are others like me who struggle to remember all the things we have learnt on guidance? I especially find this hard right at the time when I’m trying to make decisions … keeping all that information in my head when I have so many new questions floating around. Well, as a structural thinker, I’m a lover of diagrams and I put this one together to help me think through the concepts. It is not a diagram of guidance, but is a diagram of the building blocks of ideas, and the ways they overlap, to help us work out what is at the centre of God’s guidance.
1. There are two main parts to God’s hidden will:
i. It is HIDDEN, so it can’t be read off the circumstances of life
ii. It covers absolutely everything and nothing is outside it.
God is sovereign and his hidden hand is at work in every detail of life to bring about his plans and purposes. Revelation 4:11; Genesis 50:20; James 4 (From Guidance and the Voice of God: God is Sovereign Creator; Shepherd and Planner).
2. God has given us specific guidance in the Bible. Here, He tells us how to live a life of godliness and He tells us what is important and what is not important. 2 Timothy 3:16.
3. Within the guidelines of being a Godly person, obedient to what God’s word does tell us is essential, we are free to make all our other decisions.
4. Scripture reveals God’s greatest will for our lives, the will that his hidden hand is always directing us towards is to be at peace with Him for all eternity.
This peace is not a subjective feeling but the objective reality of salvation through Christ. Colossians 1; Romans 8:28; Revelation 21 (In Guidance and the Voice of God the goal is given other names such as ‘Submission to Christ’; ‘Sonship’ and ‘Inheritance’).
5. Guidance is not a search for divine messages outside the Bible. There is no extra revelation to look for. So when we ask the Holy Spirit to guide us we should not be looking for special signs unique to our situation.
The Holy Spirit applies God’s revealed will, Scripture, to our hearts and helps us to obey it. He also helps us to discern what is a matter of obedience to Scripture and what is a matter of Christian freedom. John 16:13; Hebrews 4:12.
6. Wisdom is one of God’s methods of guidance that is particularly important in areas of Christian freedom – when there is no right and wrong choice, but there are often wise and unwise choices. In this case we use wisdom to work out what factors should be involved in our decision making process.
It is only by knowing God, who created the world and knowing His Son, who saved the world, that we can have true wisdom. Colossians 2:3; Proverbs 9:10.
Wise and unwise choices involve viewing the world from God’s point of view and working out the best course of action taking into consideration the particular circumstances unique to your situation.
* The Centre: God guides us by bringing our hearts and minds into sympathy with his own, so that when we study a situation, we discern what path would best match the character and purpose of the God we know from Scripture. Romans 12:2; Philippians 1:9-10.
So there it is. I hope you find this a helpful summary, but if you think I have overlooked something or not explained something well, make sure you leave a comment so we can all benefit from the discussion.