Divine guidance is the sovereign interference of God in the personal life and experience of all creation past, present and future. As a believer, your spirit is already in full participation with the full will of God, and therefore has the confidence and assurance of the lovingkindness of God toward you so that it DOES NOT NEED GUIDANCE! It is our soul and body that react to unknown circumstances, especially their lack of control over the unknown. Through dependence, our goal is that our will be free from the influence of the world, the flesh and the devil so it can be submitted to the will of God. Over time our purpose and desire line up with the purpose and desire of God, and we more and more become willing participants in expressing His nature, as Giver, to the world around us, as He chooses. The more we desire divine guidance, and are drawn to engage in the will of God, the more our own desires and will are submitted and engulfed by our new spirit nature. This is not a “choosing” to do the will of God, which is a way of strengthening the will (idolatry of the will), but an acknowledged subordinating, merging or overshadowing of our will by our spirit. Our will is not changed, but overwhelmed as it becomes part of a general conduit for the love, acceptance and value God wants to express. The process of getting healed (including being freed from flesh), cultivating quietness and waiting is what gradually accomplishes this reorientation in our lives as we daily learn to walk, live, move and ultimately have our very being according to the spirit.
1. Recognize and submit your soul to His sovereignty.
God’s will for us as individuals is an expression of His purpose for us. By recognizing His sovereignty, we acknowledge that He is the sole authority over our lives. By submitting to that sovereignty, we acknowledge that His purpose alone will bring us the healing, contentment, peace and challenge that gives this life meaning. For each of us He has set aside His own goals to accomplish during our time here on earth: As we allow Him to reveal that purpose, and allow our perceptions of that purpose to die, we join Him in accomplishing our goal of knowing God, experiencing eternal life, now.
2. God wants us to know His will for us according to our spiritual nature.
As we become more and more familiar with living according to our true spirit nature, and as that nature becomes free to express itself through the healing of our soul and body, our senses and perceptions are tuned to be able to recognize the fierce simplicity of the purpose of God in this earth, and how we fit into it. God is a present God, the God of “now.” Unlike any other deity in any other religion, our God is alive, living, personal and thoroughly focused and involved in everything that is going on now. As we begin to see from a spirit perspective, the complexity that motivates most earthly activity will fall away, and all we will see is the Way. Be prepared to change your beliefs about what God’s purposes are on this earth, for people in general, and for you in particular. God wants to reveal to you His secrets, but they are not for those who are double-minded, desiring both their own purposes and to know and participate in God’s purposes.
3. God wants us to know the multiple dimensions of His purpose for us now.
This involves not only the time dimensions, i.e., short-term versus long-term, but becoming reliant on Him for the unfolding of the depths of His purposes in and through us:
* There is an expressed will of God on many dimensions, such as ages or eons, people groups, nations, etc. as well as for us as individuals. The Lord may reveal a certain path or give us a certain desire that gets us from point A to point B. But we would all do well to hold on to these purposes lightly, as they are likely only a limited revelation of His will. Be ready to change direction and motivation; the Lord’s desire for you once you get to point B may be either to return you to point A, keep you forever at point B, or send you to point L. His goal is to ingrain dependence on Him for direction, motivation and encouragement, not to make sure we are at the right place at the right time doing the right thing. We become content to be where He is.
* There is also the hidden will of God. God is under no obligation to reveal His final destination for us, or even our next step. When we let God do what He wants, He does whatever is needed—evangelism, healing, deliverance, revelation, etc. We don’t even need to know about it, and it is all the same to us. As we mature in dependence, habitually resting in the trustworthiness of our spirit nature to be responsive to the slightest urging of God’s Spirit, God perfectly accomplishes His will through us. As we commune with Him, whether He asks us to pass the salt or raise the dead, it is all the same to us. We are participating with Him, but are not motivated by or reacting to His direction. So for our guidance, we can trust that as we lift our foot, He will guide its next placement as our foot falls to take the next step.
4. God uses the hiddenness of His will and our desire to know His will to lead us into dependence upon Him.
The qualifications for knowing His will and experiencing His divine guidance are the same as for every other facet of our relationship with Him: our healing, hearing His voice, knowing His peace and growing in dependence. This encourages us to dedicate ourselves again to cultivating quietness and learning to wait, having our senses tuned. As the Lord reveals His specific purpose for a given moment, He changes our beliefs, our perception of Himself, of ourselves and of others, and teaches us how to live as co-inheritors of the Kingdom. Eternal life is an expression of our spirit life now, and the Lord uses our need to know to bring us into dropping anything that does not satisfy as He does. In turn, we learn to accept His guidance on His terms, by His means, which both separates us from others and draws us closer to Him and others who are likewise fellowshipping with Him.
The Need for Divine Guidance
When we discuss knowing the will of God for our lives, and seeking divine guidance, there are two kinds of people we are addressing. By far the larger group is uncertain or unclear about their ability to hear and know God’s voice, let alone be able to distinguish His purpose and receive His direction. The smaller group are those who, for one reason or another, have confidence that they know what God wants them to do and are even now going about that duty. Surprisingly, those in the first group may have an advantage over the second group, as it is the first group that is most teachable. Remember God’s goal for us is not for us to be “in His will,” but to be dependent on Him to reveal that will to us and through us on a moment-by-moment basis.
Here is some general evidence that God wants us to seek Him for direction and guidance:
God has committed Himself to our care, provision and the meeting of all of our needs.
Knowing His committed love for us, we can rest in confidence that whatever methodology He chooses to use at any given time, the end result of our lesson will accomplish His goals.
Throughout the ages, God has provided various means of direction and guidance.
We know that throughout time God’s purposes match up with His relationship with His creation—each age includes a means by which the Lord communes with humankind. In this present age, He communes with us by His Son, who now lives in us and speaks to us directly and individually.
We are unable to know the ways of God without His help.
Though our spirit is already in perfect communion, agreement and compliance with God’s present purpose and plan for our life, it is only through His work that our flesh is consumed and our soulical senses tuned to know His voice in our consciousness.
Depending on God for guidance works.
If this was not something God wanted us to experience, seeking, waiting, and depending on Him would not have an effect, and we would be left to make decisions the same way unbelievers do.
God encourages and corrects us when we fail to wait for His counsel.
There are practical consequences for both learning to wait and failing to wait (though those consequences are not necessarily proofs as there may be other causative factors). Over time we learn to experience and recognize the benefits, experiencing eternal life now, but because most of us come to each day negatively programmed, we are much more sensitive to the negative consequences of independence rather than the positive fruit of abiding.
Consequences of Not Waiting for Divine Guidance
God uses our need for guidance and direction in our lives as an effective catalyst to draw us into dependence on Him. If we refuse, resist or fail to recognize this drawing, or settle for the guidance without learning how to depend, He uses all strategies at His disposal to bring us back to His lesson plan.
Loss of His Personal Presence.
Though we can never escape from the omnipresence of God, or even the manifest presence of God, we CAN lose the awareness of the Personal Presence of God. This often separates us from an awareness of His manifest and omnipresence. God is present just as much when we aren’t aware, when we don’t sense Him, as when we do, but we don’t receive the benefits of our relationship through the Personal Presence. Many lose a closeness and intimacy over time that can be explained by the Lord’s withdrawal of His Personal Presence in order to draw them into greater dependence on His leading.
Consequences Commensurate with Our Decisions.
Remember that as earth-dwellers, bad things happen to everyone as part of this world system. These are not necessarily negative consequences of not depending on God, and the only way to judge is to ASK HIM! This is His whole strategy, even if you are experiencing the negative consequences of your own actions! Believers often have the mistaken belief that if they are depending on God, nothing bad will ever happen to them and they will always be in the right place, at the right time, etc. This is simply not true—our body is part of the natural realm, and suffers natural consequences. Our soul (mind, will and emotions) is part of the supernatural / soulical realm, and suffers soulical consequences. So we must go to the Lord to determine the truth, and not rely on our own interpretation, which can so easily be swayed by our enemies the world, flesh and devil.
God’s Assertion of His Sovereignty as Teacher, Guide, Counselor, etc.
We can’t put God in a box, and say, “This is the way God deals with me.” He is under no obligation to deal with you in only one, two, or even knowable ways. As you grow in dependence it is likely that He will vary the ways in which He reveals His will to you, so keep your eyes on Him, and not on your own ability and experience in waiting for Him. In other words, what worked yesterday may not work today, and the way God reveals Himself tomorrow may be a total surprise.
Repetition of Personal Crises.
Sometimes it seems like we get locked into habit patterns where we repeat the same mistakes over and over again. And some of us need to stop and take a look at our lives to see that this is exactly what is happening! This is one of the ways God brings to our awareness that we are going in circles. It’s important to review your personal history, not just so you can learn from it, but so you can reflect, study, develop new skills and set goals on the basis of what your history reveals. We don’t learn from history unless we reflect, evaluate and apply the lessons revealed by our history.
Out of the Will of God?
To say that we’re out of the will of God is to say that our will is stronger and bigger than His will. This is not true! If He’s not guiding and directing us actively, He is guiding and directing us providentially. Since His goal is to be in complete relationship with us, He will guide and direct us into circumstances where our ignorance of His will is obvious, forcing us to turn to Him and seek Him, yet another facet of our relational development, covering another base.
Since God wants us to rely on Him for divine guidance, and has provided the means of divine guidance, we can begin the process of learning divine guidance with the full assurance and confidence that God will respond with divine guidance.
Adapted from Knowing God by Dianne Thomas