How Does God Guide Us? Some Final Thoughts


Part 23 of series:
How Does God Guide Us?

In this series I’ve tried to show some of the ways that God guides us. I’ve explained that God guides us through:

• Circumstances
• Scripture
• Community
• Reason
• Dreams and Visions
• Divine Whispering
• Spiritual Direction

I suggested that we can confirm God’s guidance in various ways, especially through taking the risk of stepping out in faith. In my last posts, I showed that God’s guidance is not only for our benefit, but also for the sake of others, and especially for the sake of God’s own kingdom and glory.

I’ll finish up this series by responding to a couple of very practical questions that often hear as a pastor:

How can I learn to be guided by the Holy Spirit?
My life is so busy, how can I find time to quiet my heart enough to hear the Spirit’s gentle whisper?

How can I learn to be guided by the Holy Spirit?

I have found that many people simply need to be aware of the different ways that the Holy Spirit can guide them. Some who have studied the Bible for years to gain theological knowledge never expected the Spirit to speak to them personally through the Scripture. Once they have this expectation, they realize that the Spirit had been whispering in their ears in the past, but they had dismissed this internal voice as nothing of significance. Now they are ready to be guided by the Spirit in a more personal way.

Let me emphasize again that spiritual guidance must be evaluated for its consistency with Scripture. Moreover, we all need to be in close fellowship with other Christians who can help us to discern God’s directions for our lives. If you want to be guided by the Spirit and not simply to claim divine status for your own inclinations, commit yourself to Bible study and to active involvement in Christian community.

Remember that spiritual guidance often comes, not primarily for our sake, but for the sake of others. As you seek God’s will, ask him to show you how to serve those around you. Make yourself available to do God’s will, to participate in his work in the world. Submission to the Lord is a crucial ingredient of your readiness to hear his voice.

Finally, the practice of spiritual disciplines helps to tune our ears to the voice of the Spirit. As you spend time reading and meditating upon the Scripture, praying, journaling, taking time to be alone with God, being silent for extended times, worshiping publicly and privately, and fasting, your heart will be prepared for hearing God’s voice. If these disciplines — or even the word “discipline” — are unfamiliar to you, let me recommend a couple of marvelous books: The Spirit of the Disciplines, by Dallas Willard (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1988) and A Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth, 3rd edition (San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1998).

My life is so busy, how can I find time to quiet my heart enough to hear the Spirit’s gentle whisper?

I imagine that this question has been on the lips of many readers ever since I first mentioned our need to take time for quiet. Most of us live hopelessly busy lives, and even if we have moments of potential quiet, we tend to fill those with lots of unnecessary noises. I always marvel at folks who walk along the beach, preferring the artificial noise of their iPod to the soothing and inspiring sound of the waves.

For most of us, quiet won’t just happen. We need to plan for it. It needs to become a top priority in our calendars, or we’ll be sure to find lots of reasons to spend time on other things. I find that if I can schedule times like this into my calendar well in advance, them I’m apt to take them. Otherwise the busyness of life overwhelms my good intentions.

  • Linda Lee

    Thank you for your writing on the Holy Spirit and encouraging us to be sensitive to God’s work through the Holy spirit.  Waiting on God, for God’s guidance is so needed. 

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Linda.


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