LEARNING TO BE LED BY GOD
(14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Our focus today is not to enumerate the various ways God leads us but to offer pockets of advices with respect to being led of God. To start with, you will notice that the title starts with the word learning and the reason for this is that being led by God is an art, we get better at being led by God as we learn. In the course of learning, we are bound to make a mistakes, this is why it is imperative that one starts learning to be led by God in small matters. We wouldn’t allow our mistakes deter us; we learn from it and move on. At whatever point one discovers he/ she has missed the leading of God, you just need to sincerely admit that indeed you are on the wrong track, stop and seek His face. If you have ever missed direction using a GPS system (Global positioning system) you will understand this better, all you need do is allow the GPS to re-calculate your route and follow the new direction. Surely you will spend a little extra time and fuel but you will be back on track. The same is obtainable with God.
Moving on from there, let’s endeavour to correct some wrong impressions about the subject matter and in so doing, hopefully we would be able to shed some light on the truth
“If it is God leading me, then it should make sense (I should be able to understand all the details)”
This isn’t true because God is more concerned about you believing Him than understanding Him. 2nd Corinthians 5:7 tells us “we walk by faith and not by sight (our senses)”. In fact, most of the leadings of God are humanly illogical.
1 Corinthians 1:25-28
(25) Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
(26) For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
(27) But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
(28) And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
(8) For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
(9) For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
# The truth is that if it were possible for us (on this side of eternity) to fully understand everything about God, He will gladly explain to us why He is so leading us but seeing that’s impossible He doesn’t bother explaining. One thing is sure though- as you obey, you will understand. Once you are sure God is the one leading you, follow your heart, your head will catch up.
# “God will not lead me against my desire; He will not lead me to something/ someone I don’t like”
Those who hold to this do so on the grounds of scriptures like:
(4) Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
(24) The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted.
Unfortunately they consider these scriptures in isolation or out of context because God will not grant you your desires when it contradicts His will.
1 John 5:14-15
(14) And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
(15) And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
So God is not afraid to contradict your will or personal preference in leading you- He is ever ready to sacrifice what we want for what we need where the two oppose each other. As we obey God’s leading even when we don’t like it at the start, in the process of time we will get to understand, appreciate and like it even more than our original choice. Its normal to have a personal preference, even Jesus had a will separate and different from the father’s but he was willing to give it up for God’s choice knowing fully well that God knows better. The same should be our disposition when God seems to be leading in a direction you don’t particularly like.
(39) And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
# “If God is the one leading me, then it should be easy and “successful”.
This again is ungrounded, neither ease nor difficulty is a proof that God is leading one. In fact, you are more likely to encounter difficulty following God’s leading because the devil will seek to discourage you. Take the case of the children of Israel as an example, Psalm 78:14 declares that God led them with a cloud by day and by fire at night. On would have thought that with God leading these people these tangibly that they wouldn’t experience any difficulty but you and I know that was not in any way the case.
# What about being successful following God’s leading? To start with our definition of success many times differs from God’s definition of same. But even with our definition of success there could be many reasons why God will lead one in a particular direction and yet it won’t be successful but we will here highlight four
* God can lead one on an assignment for the sole purpose of training/ learning. In which case the lesson is the key thing and not necessarily the turn-out of the venture. An extreme example would be God leading you into a business that eventually crumbled (even though you did your best). By human standards that’s a failed attempt but with God, as far as you got the training and the lesson he there intended for you, you are successful.
(8) Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
* God can lead you for the sole purpose of testing your obedience. A classic example of this is Genesis chapter 22 where God led Abraham to sacrifice Isaac just to test his obedience. We would be missing the whole point to terms Abraham a failure on the grounds that he didn’t eventually do what he set out to do by God’s leading. As far as God is concerned, though he didn’t sacrifice his child but he passed the test.
* When the will of another person is involved. A common scenario of this is marriage. God does not violate our free will and so If He leads you to someone and the person decides against the leading of God, God won’t force him or her to “cooperate”
* When you fail to do your own part. That God is leading you to do something does not guarantee automatic success, you will have to make your own input. I believe there are marriages that have failed even though God purportedly led both parties into the union but they failed at doing their part to make the marriage work.
Looking at the third and fourth reasons I have here provided for a venture failing despite God’s leading there is the possibility of thinking that one can frustrate the will of God ( that is when either you or a third party fails to do his/her part). The truth of course is that none of us can frustrate God’s will. If God leads you on an assignment and you fail to cooperate, He will simply find another person for the job (having given you enough time to reconsider your stand). Think if God as a movie producer/ director and you and I actors. I am sure you know if one actor repeatedly refuses to act to script; the director will simply change him or her.
# “If God leads me in a direction today, He cannot tomorrow lead me in a different direction”
This also is unfounded because God is a progressive God and not just that, He is the almighty, He can lead you and I anyway and anyhow He deems fit
(1) The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
God does not give us the full blue print for our lives, He prefers rather to lead us precepts upon precepts, line upon line, here a little there a little- Isaiah 28:10,13. There are at least two reasons God prefers this step by step approach; (1) We won’t understand it even if He gives us the entire map. And (2) If by chance we understand, we would have no need for Him. This can’t be because God never designed us to independent of Him.
By and large, God requires that we follow His leading but still remain in touch with Him for further instructions. In Genesis chapter 22, Had Abraham not been in touch with God as to know that he was no longer required to sacrifice Isaac (against what God led him to do initially) he would have killed Isaac.
# “If it is God leading me in this direction, He will use other people or means to confirm it”. Sometimes, God will use other means or people to confirm His leading but He doesn’t always have to. We should be able to follow God’s leading with or without “external” confirmation. Once the spirit of God within you bears you witness, you are good to go. External confirmation from other means or people will come along the line.
(14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
In any case one should be careful of those from whom we get confirmations- they must be tested, trusted spiritually matured Christian because the devil can use people to derail us.
# “God will not lead me outside the usual way He has been leading me”
Well, as you learn to be led by God, you will soon discover a particular way or ways God will usually lead you. This may change as we grow in the faith but its good we get used to this method (or methods as the case may be) so that we can easily and quickly know when God is leading us. However, we mustn’t limit ourselves to these methods because (1) God is not always predictable (He can decide to lead you through a means different from one you are used to (2) The devil can take advantage of you. If he knows that you will quickly accept anything that comes through that means as God’s leading, he will try to lead you astray through the same.
Feyi Abraham Adesanya