Strength for the Week: Flood Church’s Weekly Devotional
Series 1: The Voice of God
A Guiding Voice
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you…” (John 16:12-13)
How many false turns have you ever taken in life? Maybe you applied for a school or a job, only to have your application turned down. Or maybe you actually got in, only to be disappointed because it was not all you hoped it would be. Or maybe you were told that a particular investment or purchase would yield lucrative returns, only to find yourself left with buyers’ remorse. Or maybe you thought this person was “the one” who would finally make you happy, only to find yourself feeling like the relationship was a mistake. Or maybe you entrusted something valuable to someone, only to find yourself on the receiving end of a stinging betrayal. The turns on the path of life that deliver less than they promise are many, and some of them even seem to deliver either nothing at all or setbacks that cost dearly.
Coming to the end of a road and feeling like it was a false turn can have serious repercussions. It can easily become a catalyst for other negative conditions, like the loss of confidence in yourself, the loss of trust in others, the loss of hope in the future, and the loss of joy in God. It can leave you with a bitter taste in your mouth and destroy your appetite for taking risks for fear of going down another false turn and being disillusioned again. In worst case scenarios, it can leave you paralyzed to make big decisions or take the opportunities that come your way, all because of some misguided belief that no big decision is worth making and no opportunity is worth taking unless the outcome is guaranteed. However, God hardly ever guarantees the outcome of the turns we take. What God promises is to be with us to guide us at the point of our decision, in the course of carrying out our decision, and in navigating the foreseen and unforeseen outcomes of our decision.
Of course, there are specific turns on the road of our lives that God commands us in Scripture never to take: adultery, theft, lies, deceit, blasphemy, dishonor, bitterness, vengeance, profanity, fornication, homosexuality, slander, gossip, pride, witchcraft, idolatry, greed, drunkenness, envy, strife, malice, arrogance, boasting, insolence, laziness. The Scriptures are full of examples and warnings about the pain these turns will cause and the pain that lies at the end of the road for those who take these turns. But there is no place in Scripture where God will tell you whether this or that individual is the one you should date or marry, whether this or that organization is the one you should work for, whether this or that college degree is the one you should study, whether this or that commodity is the one you should purchase, whether this or that neighborhood is the one you should move to, whether this or that person is the one you should befriend, whether this or that church is the one you should be a member of, whether this or that hobby is the one you should take up, whether this or that candidate is the one you should vote for, or whether this or that is the right time a couple should start having babies. It is not in our moral choices that we feel unguided, but in our personal choices. And it is for those personal choices that Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us and nudge us towards the path we should take. This does not mean that the Holy Spirit guarantees that the path he is leading us to will end the way we want or desire. The measure of God’s path is not merely how it ends, but whether he is leading you there. You ask, “How do I get the Holy Spirit to guide me?” Have you tried asking him to and waiting until he does?
Keep the Faith