Divine direction is indispensable for the believer. The good news is that it is available. God promises to instruct, to show the way to go, to keep His eyes on us. In this article and video, we continue examining the eight essential keys for receiving divine direction; The previous article explains the importance of divine direction and includes the first three keys. This second part covers the five remaining principles of divine direction. As you watch the video and read the article, may it be established in your heart that God will give you direction!
The first three keys of divine direction are an unquenchable desire, a heartfelt cry, and the search for understanding. Key number four is truth.
4. We must live by the truth and love the truth.
One of the reasons why some people do not receive direction is because they do not love the truth. We see a striking example of truth in the life of Nehemiah, the rebuilder of the walls of Jerusalem under the Persian king Artaxerxes.
He prayed a powerful prayer. When you look at the prayer of the Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:4) you find out one really amazing thing. He spoke to God on the basis of the truth and acknowledged the sins of his people. And he acknowledged that God was right in what He had said about them. Not only that, but he also reminded God of what He had said He would do if His people would repent. You see the same thing in the prayer of Daniel (Daniel 9:4-19).
This is important because as said earlier, some people do not receive direction because they do not love the truth. They do not love the truth in the sense that they do not honour God in His dealings with them. They incriminate God for the issues of their lives, they do not acknowledge that their wrongdoing is the cause of their troubles nor that His ways are best for them. They do not see His Word as the standard for their lives.
Lord, talk to me anyway
They live careless lives and still demand that He speak to them. Recently I received a message on social media that is an apt illustration of this flagrant disregard of God’s truth while still requiring Him to speak to us. One young woman wrote with an inquiry She wondered how she would know the will of God for her life.
This is the question. How would they know if the man that they’re living with currently is the right one? Did you get that? Not the man they are married to but the man they are living with, right now.
Now that is a person who has not based their life on truth and who has not embraced the truth of God’s Word. There was no hint of remorse or repentance in sight. My thoughts were, ‘You’re living with a man and you’re still wondering if he’s the right one. Now I want to know, why are you living with a man you’re not married to as a Christian?”
So I wrote a very nice message to her and explained that we must live by the principles of God’s Word. I encouraged her first to do the right thing and repent for violating God’s order in her relationship. That was certainly more important than whether this man was the right one or not. And after honouring the Lord, she should then proceed to ask for direction.
This is a situation where a person is not acknowledging the truth. They are not acknowledging their sins and their errors and yet are insisting on God speaking to them. Not so with Nehemiah.
There are so many instances where people do the wrong things and they still want God to get them out of a situation and give them direction. But Nehemiah said “we did the wrong thing. We moved away from You, You warned us that this would happen to us”. And there are many stories like that in the Scriptures, where people turn round and then recognise that they have done the wrong thing. We must love the truth.
Willingness to hear whatever God says
Another dimension of loving truth is this: whatever God says, be willing to hear. Let me share a personal testimony. The year the Lord called me to ministry was the most miserable year of my life. Sometimes in your walk with the Lord, He takes you through periods where you commit yourself to the truth, to love the truth, and to following Jesus fully. With an overflowing heart, you promise to do whatever He says. Then the Lord does say what He wants from you and you are shocked.Another dimension of loving truth is this: whatever God says, be willing to hear. Click To Tweet
That year of the call was misery, burdensome, and an imposition. the misery I felt surpassed what I would later feel at my father’s death. That is how deep the sorrow was, how heavy the burden. Today, no one can imagine it. In fact, some of my children in the Lord feel I make serving the Lord seem so easy. the furnace of the dealings of the Lord had done its work.
Because we love the truth, we go where He wants us to go. When we want God to speak to us consistently and continually direct our steps, we make a choice in our hearts to love the truth and live for the truth.
5. Yieldedness (the whatever principle).
The Lord spoke to the prophet Jeremiah thus (this is one of my favourite preaching texts):
“The word of the Lord came to me, saying,“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;” Jeremiah 1:4-5 (NIV)
This is God being God, we do not belong to ourselves, we belong to God. We belong to Him by virtue of being His creatures. But we also belong to Him by virtue of being His redeemed ones. So we doubly belong to Him. There really is nothing in the economy of God that allows you to decide what you’re going to do with your life.There really is nothing in the economy of God that allows you to decide what you're going to do with your life. Click To Tweet
We belong to God and so God is telling Jeremiah, ‘I made you, I formed you. You didn’t even have any sense of consciousness, of being when I worked you out, fashioned you.’ And when we think like that, we think ‘okay so this business of me doing what I want with my life is actually a ridiculous notion. Because even without having consciousness of being, of existing there was One who had consciousness of me when I didn’t have consciousness of myself. And He had a plan in mind.’
And so God tells Jeremiah that He appointed him to be a prophet before he was born, and like us, Jeremiah finally has consciousness of being and has an opinion. And so he expresses his opinion to the sovereign Lord and he says : “ Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” (Jeremiah 1:6 (NIV)).
So basically he is saying, ‘Sovereign Lord, You forgot something, You missed the point here, You spoke hastily, You don’t quite get it. Can I supply a piece of information of which You are not cognisant? I can’t speak, sorry.’ You know, there are many things that we can say: ‘I’m too young, too female, too black, too grey, too educated, too uneducated.’ And all of these hinder us from accessing the will of God and flowing in the will of God. And this is what he sees about himself and imagine the other things that other people say about you that could be a major hindrance! The Bible says :
“But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:7-10 (NIV))
In other words, God was saying to Jeremiah, ‘actually, I’m aware of the fact that you’re young. I’m aware of the fact that you think you’re too young. That doesn’t change anything about My call on your life.’ Look at the dichotomy between his thinking and God’s thinking! That is why we must be yielded. Jeremiah eventually yielded and the “whatever principle” kicked into gear in his life.
My ‘whatever principle’
I also experienced the whatever principle. There was a season in my life when the Lord began to deal with me about many things. I couldn’t put my finger to the specific thing He was saying, but I just knew He was dealing with my soul. My soul was under constant pruning and stuff was going. All I could say in prayer was, ‘Lord whatever, Lord whatever.’ Now, this was after the miserable year when I had accepted the call, He still wasn’t done.
There were, apparently, other things, He was just putting them in there and all I could say was ‘whatever Lord.’ Can you imagine, you know, you’re a very eloquent person and then you’re in prayer, you want to say wonderful things to God but you can’t say anything. You just feel pressure on your soul and all you can say is ‘Lord whatever, Lord whatever.’
I finally realised that God was bypassing my extremely potent mind, to bring me to a point of submission and yieldedness. I would pray, ‘Lord, whatever You come up with, I agree, whatever You say I agree. Whatever You plan, I agree and whatever You want to do with my life, I agree.’ And this went on for a while in prayer for hours on end. Some person who prides themself on their prompt obedience might sneer and scoff but even Jeremiah had to hear it.
God insisted that he must go and must speak, that he must do whatever and say whatever. And then He reached out and He touched his mouth. That is yieldedness. And what happened? Jeremiah accepted. Is it possible that the reason that some of us have been asking God for things, for direction and we haven’t actually heard clearly is that God knows we will not obey? And that He is still waiting for obedience to the previous instructions?
The Lord will take you to a point where all you can say is, ‘Lord if you want it I want it, if you like it, I like it. Just transfer your thoughts to me, whatever you think, I think, what you hate, I hate, what you love, I love’ That is yieldedness.
6. The willingness to embrace challenges and endure suffering.
People who complain about the challenges involved in following God’s direction have difficulty in hearing the next direction. Sometimes a person would receive a word from the Lord, take action and then begin to complain. They moan that God directed them, they obeyed and their problems began. They charge Him with unkindness and insensitivity. ‘God, You are not being kind to me, How can You tell me to do something and then I have problems?’
The ambition of minimal aggravation has no validation in Scripture. Quite the contrary, Jesus promised us tribulations in life. He even assured us of the certainty of being hated because of Him. So what do we do about the difficulties? Instead of complaining just say, ‘Lord thank You for the privilege of knowing what to do, because if I didn’t know for sure that this was the way You wanted me to go, I would be worried right now because of all these problems. But now I’m just serene, thank You, because I know You will take care of them since you directed me.’
I remember once counseling a young person who had some challenges at work, and I told them what to do. to take an unequivocal stand. Their bigger problem was solved but someone was unhappy with them. And they complained about my counsel. They never expected to take any flak for their faith.’ I resolved to keep my counsel to myself in the future.
Let the Lord know you will take the right steps even if they raise the hackles of unprincipled or ignorant people. Many of us don’t get help because we complain. And people who God sends into our lives hold their peace because of our bad attitude. We complain about the challenges we encountered the last time God gave us direction.
Remember that Israel was supposed to do a forty-day journey in the wilderness that ended up taking them 40 years. In fact, it could have been even shorter. But we are told that when they came out of Egypt, they were not allowed to go the direct route because they were likely to face war. It was felt that if they faced war, they would turn back and return to Egypt.
Beloved, how many times have you missed out on divine direction because God knew that you would face war? And that if you faced war, you would turn back; He knew that you would have challenges, and you would turn against Him, against your Pastor, you would leave the church forever? And all because God told you direction and hell responded violently.
Nothing is hidden in His sight
Let’s revisit some promises of direction. God says :
“I will lead the blind by a way they did not know. I will guide them on paths they have not known. I will turn darkness to light in front of them and rough places into level ground.””(Isaiah 42:16 (HCSB)).
There is no unknown situation to God. We are the only ones who face unknown situations. So whatever challenges you encounter, when you are going in the direction that God tells you to go, deal with them and believe God. He will turn rough places into level ground. Don’t be a lazy, passive, defeated, blessing-oriented Christian. Choose to go God’s way and to deal with any challenges that may arise.
Without the willingness to endure suffering, you may not hear His direction, you may misconstrue it, or you may not obey because you are trouble-averse.
The passage in Is 42.16 ends by saying : “This is what I will do for them, and I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 42:16)
Despite the challenges many of us have encountered, we can honestly testify that the Lord is faithful. What He says in this passage is true, I will not forsake you. He has not forsaken us.
7. Promptness to obey.
Make up your mind that you will obey, you want divine direction tell the Lord : Lord whatever you say to do, I will obey you. I have seen in ministry when the Lord has given us direction and the people have not been willing to obey that we have lost out. There are instances where we lost years because we were not obedient, we were not prompt to obey. And recently the Lord gave us a direction and we were like, ‘we’re going to do it now, right away, immediately, instantly, this very moment!’ Because you must be prompt to obey.
You know, the Holy Spirit forbade Paul from going to Asia. He said the Holy Spirit didn’t let him go and he didn’t go (Acts 16:6). Many of us would have gone, after all, the gospel must be preached in Asia. Paul could have said, ‘but I want to go and preach the gospel. People need to hear about Jesus in Asia!’ He could have insisted on going but he was obedient. God gave him direction, God knew he would obey and he did. What was the outcome? He got even more direction.
If you want divine direction, stop ignoring God
So to hear God consistently, it is imperative that we obey consistently. Many of us are not hearing God because we’ve been ignoring Him. Some pray, ‘Lord, speak to me !’ And then He gives direction, but they find it unpalatable. So they discard it and persevere ‘speak, speak to me, Lord!‘ They may sing, pray in tongues and once again He speaks. But they still refuse to follow. Don’t feel entitled to pick and choose what you want from the Lord.
The Holy Spirit resisted several attempts by Paul to pursue ministry in different places, and each time he submitted. It was not until then that the Holy Spirit directed him to Macedonia. Had he ignored previous direction , things would have been very difficult for him. I can’t keep asking the Lord to speak to me when I ignore what He said previously.
Ask yourself, the following questions.
- Have you done the things the Lord told you to do in the past?
- Did you fully participate in the vision of your local church when you received direction as a church from the Lord?.
- Have you taken your place in executing the vision the Lord gave your church? Because you are just as responsible as the Minister is, for executing the vision that the Lord gives. That is part of my obedience, obedience is not only private, it is also corporate.
- When the church is going in a particular direction, are you playing your part? If you are ignoring what God has said in that context, then it may be the reason why you are not receiving direction in your own personal affairs.
8. We must be Kingdom minded.
To be directed constantly by the Holy Spirit, we must share the heart of the Father for His kingdom. We must see ourselves as sons and daughters of the Kingdom who live for the Kingdom of God and His purposes. Seeking direction becomes a means of tailoring our lives to agree with God and serve His purpose. Such a mindset is desirable to God and we become partners in the work of the kingdom. Such persons will always know what to do.
They will receive divine direction and obey, with yielded hearts, with a desire and a cry for the kingdom of God to come. These ones walk in intimacy with the Father and those who commune with God always hear from God. He shares His heart.
The apostle Paul was a tremendous example of one who enjoyed divine direction because of his absolute yieldedness and promptness to obey. He is my hero. And one of my favourite sentences in Scripture is this very simple statement of the Apostle’s: “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21 (NIV)). That, my friends, is a great key to accessing and operating in divine direction.
May the Lord bless you.