We all want to receive guidance from the Lord. You may need to make a decision in your marriage or with your children or regarding your work situation, and you wonder which way to go. Well, the good news is that God promises to guide us! Psalm 32:8 says “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” The tricky thing is figuring out exactly how to access his counsel!
Here are two primary ways to access his wisdom and his counsel. The first is….spending time reading His Word. Duh. But how many times do we come up with excuses as to why we don’t have the time or energy to spend much time reading the Bible? Maybe it’s time to stop making excuses and DECIDE to make Bible reading a priority in your life. I bet you make time to brush your teeth and take a shower, so why can’t you carve out 15 minutes for reading the Bible every morning? 😊 Reading the Bible will give you direct guidance on so many decisions you’ll need to make throughout any given day. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Next, spend time worshipping God and in “listening prayer”. When we worship God, he draws near, and he longs to whisper to us through His Holy Spirit if we will strain to listen for that whisper to our souls. 1 Kings 19:12 “After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” So try this. Put on some worship music, or start singing a worship song. As you praise Him, close your eyes and envision God with you. Now ask Him to whisper guidance to your heart. Strain to listen. Did he give you a vision or nudge your heart in some way? I believe He will guide you. Just make sure that anything you believe you hear from God does not contradict what He says in the Bible.
One of my super humbling moments as a newly divorced woman actually reminds me of a vital marriage principle. Here’s the event forever etched in my memory from December of 2002:
It was nearing Christmas and I had just gone through a divorce after 18 years of marriage. My children were 16 and 14 at the time and I wanted to keep as many Christmas traditions in place as possible, so I announced that I was taking the kids to cut down our Christmas tree from a local tree farm. Just before we took off, I realized I didn’t have any way to tie the tree to the top of my SUV. But hey, I’m a reasonably intelligent person, or so I thought. lol I wasn’t going to let anything deter me!
So I searched my new house for something resembling rope or a bungee cord. Alas, there was no such thing on hand. All I had was some….sewing thread. Hmmm. Well, maybe a whole bunch of thread would work?
Off we went to pick out our beautiful Christmas tree. My son cut it down. Unlike me, he apparently knew how to handle this part of the operation. We hoisted the tree to the top of my SUV and then I carefully wove my spool of thread back and forth across the tree to secure it to the roof. My kids just shook their heads in disbelief. Then we took off, and we actually made it about a half-mile before the tree took a slow, inelegant slide from the top of the car to the road. Splat!
Why am I sharing this story with you? I’m using it to remind both you and me that a tiny thread is not sufficient to hold anything heavy when the wind starts blowing against it. In the same way, we need a super strong rope to hold a marriage together when we are slammed by the wind of miscommunication, frustration, and unmet expectations in marriage. We need a rope of three strands…you, your husband and the Lord. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Sit down with your husband and brainstorm ideas on how you can keep God in the center of your marriage. You will need Him to help hold you guys together when you encounter the inevitable adversity and challenges that hit every marriage! Invite a third party into your marriage…the Holy Spirit!
I don’t know about you, but I am often reactionary in my relationships. I get upset or frustrated or worried, and I react emotionally. Sometimes, this doesn’t cause any damage, but other times, it’s not exactly helpful or beneficial!
I’m trying to operate under a new and improved system, and I’m finding it works far better, probably because it’s God’s plan for his people. Hah! I’m earnestly seeking to submit myself to God moment by moment and I’m asking his Holy Spirit to nudge me and instruct me during every single interaction with others. In other words, I’m inclining my heart and spirit to listen intently for the gentle whispers and nudges of the Holy Spirit every time I interact with family members, neighbors, friends, coworkers, church members, and even the grocery store clerk and the UPS delivery guy!
God designed us to operate this way. Psalm 123:2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God. This is such an inspiring word picture! We are designed to be so watchful and intent to notice the Lord’s slightest instruction to us that we immediately obey.
Let’s commit to seeking the Lord’s guidance through his Holy Spirit, moment by moment, especially in marriage and family relationships. This will likely be life-changing, and in a good way! God alone knows how to improve every relationship, how to truly help others, and how to advance his kingdom here on earth. We need his guidance.
The other day, a relative said some things about a person I love that I really found hurtful. My first instinct was to emotionally withdraw from that person…but that’s a dysfunctional behavior I’m trying to end. So, I started to tell that person what I really thought about their comments! Thank God, the Holy Spirit gently stopped me.
You see, sometimes God wants us to confront someone who is sinning against us or doing something wrong. But other times, God wants us to step back and allow His Holy Spirit to do the convicting in that other person’s heart, especially if that person is a believer. In John 16:7-8, Jesus tells his disciples, “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit, and he explained that one of the Spirit’s jobs is to convict people of sin.
What I’m learning is that I need to pause and consult God when someone is doing something that wounds me or bothers me. I need to ask God for direction. Does God want me to respectfully and lovingly confront that person, or does God want me to step back and allow His Holy Spirit to do the confronting.
Back to my story. When God stopped me from laying into my relative the other day and I decided to leave the “confrontation” up to the Holy Spirit…that relative actually came to me and apologized within a few hours. Today’s question for you: Do you pause long enough to get guidance from God before reacting?