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Then he said, “O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, please let me have success this day and show kindness to my master Abraham. — Genesis 24:12

A God-Guided Life

Abraham’s servant went to find a wife for Isaac. He relied on God’s guidance to help him do this, and God graciously answered his prayer.

Guidance. Do you need it? It is interesting that there are some people who call themselves Christians who don’t seem to think that they do. On the other hand, there are many Christians who are so exercised about it that they are extremely troubled because they don’t know how to find God’s will and guidance for their lives. Do you fit into one of those categories?

Let me say that every one of us is desperately in need of guidance, even though we may not think so. Oh, you might get through life—everybody does, one way or the other. But that doesn’t mean you are going to accomplish anything of any eternal worth in the sight of Christ. For without Him, He told us, we can do nothing. I am thoroughly convinced that there are multitudes of church members whose lives never amount to much because they have never really sought the guidance of God. How about you?

God’s Promises

Did you ever think about the fact that we were born to be led? Now that sort of goes cross-grain for many of us because there are many people who would much prefer to think of themselves as leaders than the led. But if we are Christians, we are born to be led because we are sheep—and sheep must be led. We all profess such: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.… He leads me beside still waters” (Psalm 23:1–2). If the Lord is our shepherd and we are His sheep, then we are to be led.

How do we discover the will of God and the guidance of God for our lives? We most certainly will drive our lives into the ditch if God is not giving us guidance. I think one of the first things any smart Christian will do is say, “Lord, You drive”—and relinquish the steering wheel of his life to the Savior.

Over and over again God promises in
His Word to provide guidance:

  • “For this God is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to death” (Psalm 48:14).
  • “You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory” (Psalm 73:24).
  • “He led them on a level road, that they might go to a city to live in” (Psalm 107:7).
  • “To him [said Jesus, the Good Shepherd] the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name, and he leads them out” (John 10:3).
  • “But when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).

Then comes that categorical description of who is a son of God or a child of God. It is nontechnical, nontheological. Anybody should be able to understand it, but it is very true. Said Paul in Romans 8:14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” How wonderful it is that God has provided such guidance. Are you being led by the Spirit of God?

God’s Provision

Not only does God promise us His guidance, but He also provides that guidance and has done so from the very beginning:

  • He led Enoch on a walk that took him all the way to heaven.
  • He led Noah into an ark and through the great deluge.
  • He led Abram up from Ur of the Chaldees to Canaan.
  • He led Joseph from a dungeon to the throne of Egypt.
  • He led Moses through the wilderness all the way to Sinai and back to Egypt to lead His people forth.
  • He led David from keeping his father’s sheep to sitting upon the throne of Israel.

And He leads His people evermore. He has led them and continues to lead them down through the years.

We need to pray daily for guidance. One of my most frequent prayers is, “Guide me, O Thou Great Jehovah, pilgrim through this barren land.” There are many snares, temptations, and difficulties out there. We definitely need the guidance of God.

We also need to surrender our will to that guidance. There are many people who have the idea that their plan for their life is better than God’s plan. I would ask you: Whose plan for your life are you working out? If it’s your plan, usually it is very fruitless. It accomplishes nothing in the overall scheme of things. God promises to give us wisdom in abundance if we ask Him and if we believe, just as Abraham’s servant learned.

As Christ said, “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Oh, you might manage to get yourself from here to a grave, but everybody does that anyway—no great accomplishment. But as far as accomplishing anything that will have lasting and eternal significance, without the guidance of God, you will never really make it. We need to surrender our will, but many people are afraid that the will of God is going to be harsh and unloving.

The following story, I think, illustrates that so well. Bill Bright said one time that since he traveled a great deal when his children were growing up, he didn’t see them all that often. But whenever he would come home, he would say to his two little boys, “Well, guys, what would you like to do?” There was always one thing they would like to do—they would like to get down on the living room floor and wrestle with their daddy. So, that is what they would do.

He said to himself one time, “I wonder what would happen if I came home and heard my kids say, “Daddy, what would you like to do?”

What would I say? I would say, “Aha, now I’ve got you, and now you are going to have spinach three times a day, and no more ice cream. You’re going to do homework six hours a day and mow the lawn every other day.” He said, “I wouldn’t have said that. I would be so amazed I probably would say, ‘Well, guys, what I would like is an ice cream cone. Would either of you like to go with me?’ And when we got home, I would probably say, ‘Why don’t we get down on the rug and wrestle?’ ”

God’s banner over us is love—an infinite love—and His plan for our life is far more loving and satisfying and fulfilling than any plan we could ever know. I would urge you to yield yourself to that and discover the full wonder of that love.

We need also to be patient. God doesn’t always make His will known to us as quickly as we would like or lead us in a way that solves all of the problems we have. What problem are you struggling with right now? Do you need a new job? Do you need a new car? Do you need a new house?

God knows about it, but God is not always going to reveal the answer to you as soon as you would like. Why not? Because it is in such testings as these that our faith grows. Why is it that weight lifting and isometrics cause muscles to grow? Because it is the tension, the stress, the pressure the muscle is under that causes it to grow. The same thing is true of our faith. It is only when we face difficulties that we can’t transcend on our own that we need to trust the Lord, and in trusting the Lord, we learn to trust Him more.

Those of you who have walked for a good many years down the path with Christ have learned through many, many experiences that He can be trusted because you have faced one crisis after another after another all of your life—and you have found that He has been faithful. How wondrous it is to find His faithfulness—to find that no matter what happens, He is going to be there to bring you through it. You learn to trust Him more.

We start out in life so impatiently, like a little child pleading, “Gimme, gimme, gimme. Daddy, I want.” They want everything right now. We live in the midst of a society that wants instant gratification for everything. We need to learn to be patient.