By Jessica Hardin
Guidance and Direction
I have not put out a post in a while and its not because I have not wanted to, its because I have been too busy doing life. I have still made time for God but, while making plans of my own. I got so caught up in setting myself to figuring out things and wondering what to write about when I have already started two other drafts on different subjects that I didn’t see the trees for the forest as the saying goes. I last left off trying to examine the different parts of Jesus last week on earth and I wanted to stay with that then… Corvid happened and I got lost in the madness like everyone else. I started asking the same questions everyone else in the world already was ” what do I do?”
With everything going on in these unprecedented times right now I became distracted. I was asking the right questions but not the right person. I got trapped in what we call works of the flesh where I thought I had to figure everything out instead of relying on God and trusting him. Its crazy but as I find myself at the keyboard again I realize that in a way I am still following the subject of Jesus last week on earth and not just his last week on earth but really his entire life. What God has put on my heart for this post is to stress to you the importance of keeping him at the center of all our decisions. When we choose to be a disciple of Christ and live for him part of that broad spectrum is learning not to do everything in our own strength according to how we think, feel, or imagine things should be done but according to his will.
This can only be done when we know his will and not everything is black and white in the bible. The one exception being the contrast between good and evil. With that said scripture is necessary and helpful for knowing and understanding Gods will. We have a pretty solid idea from the scriptures what we should and should not do, what God expects of us, what’s right and what’s wrong if you will. We know the commandments and have the words of Jesus to live life by but there are those little gray areas now and then for example… We know we should work but what about when several opportunities show up and we don’t know which one to choose or we get into a good school but halfway through we think we might like to change our major. What about when we make any decision at all?
Stay Connected to the Vine
(John 151-4,NIV) reads ” I am the true vine, and my father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you.” The concept here is simple stay connected to God. Stay in his word, stay in his presence, keep him your first priority and draw near to him daily and be ready for some pruning.
What is pruning ?
Pruning is the process by which dead things or things that have stopped growing are trimmed away to make room for new growth. Think of roses, roses are gorgeous but if a blossom dies it has to be pruned in order to made ready the new rose bud. This is a continual process and if we don’t do it the whole rose bush dies. Its the same in our lives, we have to stay connected to our source to receive our life giving ability and as we do he will trim away certain habits, mindsets, routines and even relationships from our life in order to rid us of those things that just produce death or are not any good for us. Just like the rose bush needs sun and water, we need the Son and the rivers of living water pouring out of us from the Holy Spirit. This can be a tough process but God is creating his masterpiece as he prunes us to be the person he created us to be. In short God is the good soil, Jesus is the root and we are the rose bush we have to stay connected to the stems of the rose bush in order to stay rooted in the good soil. Once we are connected everything that flows through that plant will flow through us as well just as Jesus said “remain in me, I’ll remain in you.
How do we stay connected to the vine?
Here are four main ways to stay connected to our vine
Read the bible and listen to the word
You cant know Gods will if you don’t know his word, if you have never read it or heard it. If we want to know Gods will we have to have a knowledge of what he has already told us in the bible. How else are we going to be able to have a godly fear of the Lord and live a life of obedience to him in the areas of our life that are not specified in the bible if we don’t even know what is expected of us in the areas that are specified in the bible?
We need to know what God word says so that we one, come closer to God and understand his character through relationship with him as he reveals himself to us in his word and secondly, so we don’t compromise what the bible says. If it is Gods will it will line up with scripture; God does not compromise his word.
Prayer is our direct line to heaven, we can talk to God out loud, silently, in tongues or in agreement with others but prayer prepares our hearts to be sensitive to Gods Holy Spirit. It helps us not only talk to God but listen to him as well. Prayer is a two way conversation and if we are going to make any decision at all we should always come to God first and ask him through prayer, praise and thanksgiving what we should do. Since listening to God is just as important as talking to him we need to be able to recognize his voice above any other. This takes time and effort through study of his word and revelation through his Holy Spirit. If we cant recognize his voice rather through a wisper, an earthquake shaking boom from heaven or some one ministering to us we wont be able to hear him no matter how much he talks to us its as if our ears are turned off.
Don’t get distracted
The enemy will try to distract us in general he will light little fires everywhere for us to put out if we don’t pray against his works, he will try to keep us busy ect.. he has a way of taking our focus off of God and on life. This is the place where we can get caught up in works of the flesh. We begin worrying about what we can do and make plans without consulting God. Often these decisions are made in haste and based on impulse. Proverbs warns against this very thing many times because decisions made in haste are not God led but self led, it does not give us time to pray and in turn does not give God time to answer
Seek Wise Council
” Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of councelors there is safety.” ( Proverbs 11:14,ESV)
We should always run to the throne first but if we are directed to seek out council or just feel that we must we should make Shure that they are reputable, Godly, sound advisers not just any opinion matters but those who are also connected to God who can pray with you and for you, who has their own relationship with God and can recognize Gods voice. 1 Kings 12:8 tells of a young king who was given an choice on how he should deal with another people living in the land that had served his father. Rather than choosing the advice of his councilors, he chose the council of those he had grown up with and lived to deal with the consequences. There is wisdom in seeking wise council. Many times God uses those close to us to minister to us but he can use anyone or anything to get his message through. In one part of the bible he even used a donkey to rebuke a person. The story is of a man named Balaam and can be found in Numbers 22. Balaam kept kicking his donkey because he kept stopping but he did not realize he kept stopping because there was an angel with a sword before them; at least, he didn’t realize it till God opened the donkeys mouth and audibly used the donkey to talk to him.
When all else fails Let Peace be your Umpire
This scripture says it all. Sometimes it takes waiting, sometimes it takes a step of faith but, if you don’t have peace, if your confused and its only getting worse trying to figure it out, you have gone too far turn around wait for peace. Even if its only a question in your mind if you don’t have peace don’t do it.
Jesus did not have a choice when it came to making decisions that is why those words echo still ” not my will but your will be done” For him God was the leader and there was no in-between. His father was in charge and he could only do what the father did. All his direction all his guidance from choosing his disciples to saving our souls was God led. Now we know that in his suffering he did not have peace but he still knew what he had to do and I guarantee he did get that peace after he obeyed and received his reward. I cant even fathom where we would be without him.