Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How is God leading YOU?

Hebrews 5:14
14But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
I have been meaning to write about this for some time, but i wish to address something that seems to be incredibly problematic among Christians today, and there is certainly a reason for this.
How exactly does God lead, or to better reach a wider audience hows does God PRIMARILY (USUALLY AND COMMONLY) lead His people? When you ask yourself that, then ask this also how can i KNOW, how can I be CERTAIN God is speaking to me? My feelings, by a strong desire, by some kind of confirmation????
THese are things that I have struggled over for years and I've for the most part had to struggled with what i've always heard and what i've always done, not necessarily a conviction. I can't count how many times I missed it when I THOUGHT God was leading me, because I was looking for ALL THE WRONG signs. It's fearful to think of how many times I used His name in vain, by casually using the phrase 'the Lord has told me...' the "Lord lead me....."
Am i anti-supernatural? Not at all. DO I put limits on God, as though He CAN'T lead men through miraculous means even today, would I say that God would NEVER impress a man to do or say something? No I certainly would NOT. Yet I must say this, you search through the scriptures and even the book of Acts and you WILL NOT find God leading people other than by His word, except on the RAREST occasions (it's NOT the norm, and the Lord NEVER wanted you to live by such 'leadings' either).
All that to say; How exactly can you know the will of God?
Well what is the bible? The revelation and will of God
Why do we have the bible? To know how to obey, glorify and enjoy God
2 Timothy 3:15-17
15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
By what standard, by what are we able to be taught, to be corrected, to be equipped? The word of God. It's the scriptures that should teach us, it's by the word that we are to test all things by, not by our thoughts, not by our feelings, but by the word of God.
The problem is none other than biblical ignorance- we know NOT THE SCRIPTURES. The mature as stated in the opening verse are those who have made it a HABIT to discern, to distinguish between right and wrong, who have used the scriptures to weigh all things. The most consistent Christian, the most biblically minded believer IS THE ONE WHO WEIGHS EVERYTHING BY THE SCRIPTURES!!!
Biblical discernment comes through constant USE, constant examination, by trust: a trust that before jumping to conclusions LONGS to be convinced by the SCRIPTURES knowing that it's the scriptures that give a clear view on all things.
It should also be a clear red flag to you as it is to me, when it seems as though groups of people have this amazing ability to discern the obscure things of God, but yet lack discernment in the obvious???? HMMMMM. How convenient is that, have you no clue to how quick you mind, your flesh works to convince you that everything you feel and want, must be from the Lord.
THe believer that has little knowledge of the scriptures should be terrified to make decisions and judgments, should be weary of answering or acting quickly because of strong feelings. The only way you will ever have confidence in decisions is when you learn how to apply the scriptures to your circumstances.
Called to preach? You have a strong desire? It's been confirmed by 'open doors' and encouragement by leaders? WELL DID YOU KNOW: that it still MIGHT NOT be God leading you to preach!? .........reader do you know why I said this? If not this is perhaps the biggest flaw of many churches and something you must understand. What God has planned is often unclear to us and can be confusing, especially if we don't understand more importantly (from our point of view) WHAT GOD HAS REQUIRED. SO the question is not 'is this man called' (meaning special signs and hints) but the way to test this is to ask "is this MAN BIBLICALLY QUALIFIED" in other words i can KNOW if GOD has PLANNED this (not by hearing His voice) but by witnessing the evidences of a man who is called: those evidences being clearly spelled out in TITUS and 1 TIMOTHY 3 and so if they fail the test, then it doesn't MATTER what outward evidences there are, it's NOT GOD's WILL.
In Light of this example i hope you will understand how much more important, and how much we need the scriptures in order to know WHAT GOD HAS REQUIRED instead of spending all our efforts trying to figure out what GOD HAS planned---my call and your call is to faithfulness!
A small book has been recently written on this subject and i would recommend you checking it out if you haven't already
Macarthur has this to say:
The key to living an uncompromising life lies in one's ability to exercise discernment in every area of his or her life. For example, failure to distinguish between truth and error leaves the Christian subject to all manner of false teaching. False teaching then leads to an unbiblical mindset, which results in unfruitful and disobedient living-a certain recipe for compromise.
Unfortunately, discernment is an area where most Christians stumble. They exhibit little ability to measure the things they are taught against the infallible standard of God's Word, and they unwittingly engage in all kinds of unbiblical decision-making and behavior. In short, they are not armed to take a decidedly biblical stand against the onslaught of unbiblical thinking and attitudes that face them throughout their day.
Martyn Lloyd Jones said:
"There's a very obvious reaction at the present time against intellectualism. This is found among the students in America and increasingly in this country. Reason is being distrusted and set on one side. Following D.H. Lawrence, many are saying that our troubles are due to the fact that we have over developed our cerebrum. We must listen more to our blood and go back to nature. And so turning against intellectualism and deliberately espousing the creed of irrationality, they yield themselves to the desire for experience and place sensation above understanding. What matters is feeling and enjoyment, not thought, pure thought leads nowhere,"
Now this is the statement of a solid expositor of the scriptures, a man who his wife called 'first a man of prayer..." a man who believed God can impress His people, can give experiences, but A man who understood that where men fail and must beware of Most is in the realm of judgment, our thoughts ARE NOT God's thoughts; our REASONING is VERY flawed and limited. GOd has no desire that any man become dependent upon supernatural outward leadings to direct his life, for such a dependency, such a man the WORD OF GOD will NO LONGER HAVE ANY PURPOSE: LET me also tell you that, even among the greatest revivals of history, once men have begun to rely upon and presume upon what they "feel", they quickly fall into error and lead others there too. In fact you MAY NEVER have any impressions upon you and that's perfectly O.K.
I once heard a good preacher say, "that a Spirit-filled life is a word-filled life!"
When He comes (the Holy Spirit).... the Spirit of truth.... He will lead you into all truth.... Your Word is Truth!



That's a good word my friend. There have been several books that have helped me to understand the Scriptures on this issue: 'Guidance and the Voice of God' by Philip Jensen, 'Decision-Making and the Will of God' by Gary Friesen, and a little pamphlet 'God's will: Found' by John MacArthur. Sinclair Ferguson and Bruce Waltke also have books on the subject which I am sure are good, but I haven't read them yet. There is much confusion amongst brothers and sisters on this particular issue. Keep up the good work my friend.

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