The Lord's Leading
"I ought to tear you apart right now!" Daren screamed at me. "I'm going to hit you so hard even your kids will be born with a headache." Obviously, Daren, the head of a local gang, was unhappy with me. I had just embarrassed him at a sporting event in front of some girls.
I was only 16 at the time, and since Daren was planning on realigning my face, I decided to up the ante by increasing the intimidation factor. I said, "I have no desire to fight you, but if you make a move on me, I'll cut into you like a 180- pound Doberman Pinscher, ripping and tearing apart your face and throat!"
I realize you probably will not find this technique in Dale Carnegie's book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Regardless of the origin, my bluff worked because Daren left. Afterwards, while walking home, a friend asked me to go swimming. Although it was 11 PM and I was tired, he did not let up. Finally, his unusual persistence won out and we went swimming at a nearby pool. Unbeknown to my friend or me, Daren went and recruited help from some other gang members and set an ambush for me on the trail back to my home. They waited 45 minutes. I swam for about 47 minutes. Thus, I arrived at the ambush site a couple minutes after they had left.
God used His supernatural power to protect me. I never would have found out about this supernatural intervention except for the fact another friend saw them set up the ambush. I am convinced God supernaturally intervenes in our lives many times each day, but usually He chooses not to reveal it to us.
Another example of God’s intervention took place when I was a correction officer at a prison. It was 3 in the morning when a confrontation with a prisoner erupted in the chow hall. The angry prisoner was yelling and threatening me.
As he stepped toward me with his fist pulled back I heard a loud bang. I looked over and saw a large metal door lying on the ground. Somehow all three hinges broke causing the door to fall.
This loud distraction defused the problem and caused the prisoner to stand down. He was cuffed and escorted to Temporary Hold without incident. What surprised me about the door was the pivot portion of the hinges were very thick, an inch and a half thick. Whatever caused the malfunction protected me from a fight. I can just imagine my guardian angel saying, "Well, Mike’s in trouble again!" as he pushed the door over.
God is supernatural and He often does intervene in our lives using supernatural means. His interventions, though, are usually limited to leading us, protecting us or supplying our needs. Seldom does God use supernatural signs, such as a Gideon's fleece, to direct us. Obviously, making decisions would be easier if God did send lightning bolts as a sign of affirmation. Yet, for whatever reasons, God has chosen to limit Himself by abstaining from this style of leading.
Misunderstandings abound when we start to speak of God's will for our life. We are often faced with difficult decisions regarding our future. Sometimes, the answers to these problems elude us. We often wonder, "How can we determine God's leading and will for our lives?"
God has a perfect will for our lives, yet no one has ever come close to fulfilling it. Every time we sin, we are taken one step further from what God desires for us. Although we can never be in God's perfect will, we can accomplish His practical will.
Many growing Christians struggle with making sure they are completely in God's will. They want to be positive that every minor decision lines up exactly with what God's perfect plan is for their life. They view God's will as a map with every decision planned out for them. If a footstep is misplaced, it is either sin or the loss of a great opportunity. This struggle for perfection causes great stress, agony and bondage.
God gives us freedom and flexibility to live our lives for Him. We need not know in advance which footsteps God has chosen for us. He will direct our paths, just trust Him. As long as our hearts are tuned into God's desires, our feet will follow His leading.
Movie actors are given scripts to follow, but they have great flexibility in how they follow them. The number of steps an actor takes to get from the couch to the door is insignificant. The number of breaths he takes and the exact movement of his arms and legs are seldom written in the script. Several actors may act out the same script, but each will perform it differently. Likewise, God has a script or plan for our lives and the many small decisions we make do not affect our fulfillment of God's will.
Although we may not know God's major plans for our life, we are usually aware of many small things God wants us to do. These may be small truths gleaned from the Bible or wisdom obtained through common sense. Common sense is the little voice that says you do not pray about buying that $35,000 new Cadillac when you know you can barely afford a $5,000 used Chevrolet.
Revealing His will directly through the Bible is not the only way God discloses His will. He also can guide us through His Spirit. The closer we are in our walk with God, the more sensitive we are to the Lord's desires.
When I was growing up, my mother had a way of showing her approval or disapproval with her eyes. I could often follow her leading just by looking at her eyes. Psalm 32:8 says, "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go; I will guide thee with mine eye." As we grow sensitive to God, we will be led by His soft voice. John 10:4b says " ... and the sheep follow him; for they know his voice." I always pray God will help me to hear His soft gentle voice so He will never have to yell at me. Psalm 26:3 says, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee." Although we should walk by faith and not by feelings, God can still direct us by giving us an inner peace when we make a correct decision. A lack of inner peace may signify you are either not trusting the Lord or you are making the wrong decision.
There are times in our lives when God's Spirit or written Word does not seem to give any direction. Some of these decisions may be life-altering. They could involve such decisions as which house should I buy or which foreign country should I serve as a missionary. Not knowing which direction to go can cause much stress and frustration. The thought, "What if I make the wrong decision," is always lurking in the back of our minds. A fear of messing up our lives and hindering our usefulness for God is ever present. Unfortunately, some situations require a decision long before we have any clear direction. This lack of spiritual guidance seems to leave our fate up to chance. In these times of uncertainties, we can still be assured God's will is going to prevail.
Proverbs 3:5,6 says, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." When you fully commit a situation to God, He will take the initiative to fulfill His will in your life. Fully committing a situation to God does not insure that you will know the solution; it just promises God will lead you. You may or may not be consciously aware of His leading. The next time you are faced with a decision, commit it to God. He may give you the wisdom to make the right choice. If He does not, you can still be assured God will successfully direct your life. Even if you make the wrong choice, God will still work all things together for good.
Jerry was having blueprints drawn up for the dream house he wanted to build. Since the house was a few feet too wide for the zoning, he needed a variance. After three failed attempts at getting the variance, he gave up on the original plans and had a totally different house built. Today, Jerry will tell you the failure to secure a variance was the best thing that could have happened. The house he lives in now is far better than his original plan. If you have committed a situation to God and are moving in the wrong direction, God will close doors and force you to turn in the right direction.
We need not be pressured by a fear of making the wrong choice. If we ask God for His guidance, He will open and close doors to ensure His will is fulfilled. Psalm 37:23 says, "The steps of the good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delights in His ways." If we continually commit our future to God, He will guide and direct our steps.
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