This week we continue our journey with the second part of the teaching, on how to access divine direction. In our previous article, we shared the first three points which are : 1)There must be a desire, 2) There must be a cry for divine direction and 3) You must seek understanding. As you watch the video or read the article, may it be established in your heart, that God will give you direction!
4. We must live by the truth and love the truth.
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, he also reminded God of what He had said if they would repent. You see the same thing in the prayer of Daniel (Daniel 9:4-19). I’m saying this because many people don’t receive divine 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 they heard wrong and that’s why they’re where they are. And they do not acknowledge that His ways are best for them. And they do not acknowledge that His Word must be the standard for their lives.
Let me give you an example of the Word being the standard for our lives and that we want to do things our way and say Lord show me what to do. I get a lot of people writing to me on social media,(subscribe) and some of them write to say that they watch this programme on whatever channel and they loved it, and were blessed by it. And then other people write to me, because they’re following us on social media already and they have questions and in particular in French because we’re very active in French. I got a message recently and the person wanted to know: How would they know the will of God for their life? 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 who become the right one de facto, when you married him. 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. 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? Then why are you living with him and saying is he the right one? You have committed yourself to a relationship. So I wrote a very nice message to her and explained that we must live by the principles of God’s Word. I would advise her to just put some order in her life, in the sense of doing the right thing and repenting for violating God’s order in her relationship. Then she can now ask God to speak to her. But this is a situation where we are not acknowledging the truth.
We are not acknowledging our sins and our errors and we are insisting on God speaking to us. Nehemiah did not do that.
Now there are many young women who may be reading this, and thinking how can she say that? I can say that because that’s what the Word of God says. We are not modern Christians and who have gone beyond the truth of Scripture. No, we have not gone beyond the truth of Scripture.
This is an example because I got a message from this young woman , but there are many other 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 I have done the wrong thing. We must love the truth.
Another dimension of loving truth is this : whatever God says, be willing to hear. The year the Lord called me to minister was the most miserable year of my life. But you know, God takes you through periods where you commit yourself to the truth, to loving the truth to following Jesus. Lord whatever you say, I would do it and then the Lord says this is what I want from and you are shocked. And you know, it was a year of absolute misery. I cannot even begin to describe it, I felt a weight on me, an imposition, for the whole year I was miserable. I was so miserable that I was even more miserable than I was later, when my father died. That’s the extent of the burden that came on me, the sorrow. You would not imagine that today when you see me. Some of my children in the Lord say but Pastor you make it look so easy. That’s called the furnace of the dealings of the Lord. But 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 heart to love the truth and to go for the truth.
5. There must be yieldedness (the whatever principle).
The whatever principle is based also on a personal experience. Let me tell you what God said to Jeremiah, and I’ll go back to the whatever principle. I love the storey of Jeremiah, I preach on this a lot.
The Bible says :
“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, and it is so important for us to understand that. You know, I talked about how you were a thought in His mind. And then you became a work in His hand that He released into time and into your generation at a particular period and into a particular place. Actually, we don’t belong to ourselves, we belong to God. We belong to Him by virtue of being His creatures. But we also belonged to Him, by virtue of being His redeemed ones. So we doubly belong to Him, and there really is nothing in the economy of God that allows you to decide what you’re going to do with your life. 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 says 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 in your life.’ Look at the dichotomy between his thinking and God’s thinking! That is why we must be yielded.
In the previous article I talked about 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 just 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. It was like there were 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 a 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. I know that some of you are perfectly yielded and may say, ‘you know that’s not like me, Pastor must really have been very rebellious. I am so yielded to the Lord.’ I pray that you are, but you know, that’s what God was saying here to Jeremiah. He says you will say whatever I tell you to say. It’s really interesting because this is the first time I’m actually connecting my whatever to Jeremiah’s whatever.
God says no, you must go and you must speak, you must do whatever and say whatever. And then He reached out and He touched his mouth. That is yieldedness. And what happened ? Jeremiah obeyed. 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 because God knows we will not obey? And sometimes, as I said in my previous article, when we’re seeking direction, the first thing is we have to establish our hearts in faith that He will direct us. He says, I will instruct you, I will teach you, I will show you the way you should go. And sometimes the most important thing at that point is not so much knowing where to go, but having the confidence that He will show us where to go. And in the same vein, I would say that what some of us need more than anything else, is not right now knowing what to do, but establishing our hearts in obedience, becoming yielded; going through our own whatever season so that when God now speaks, we can just say,’okay, Lord. Yes, Lord. Yes, Lord. Yes, Lord!’
You know the Lord will take you to a point where all I 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 what happened in my lif and that is yieldedness.
6. The willingness to embrace challenges and to endure suffering.
You know, people who complain about the challenges involved in following God’s direction have difficulty in hearing the next direction. I can tell you that, I’ve seen it so many times. People get a word from the Lord and know what to do, they do it and then begin to complain. ‘oh, I started to do that and the Lord said this and look at all the challenges. God, You are not being kind to me, How can You tell me to do something and then I have problems?’ Beloved, you will have problems in life. Jesus said it in life you will have tribulations. As you are following His direction, you will have difficulties. But 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 counselling a young person who had some challenges at work, and I told them what to do. They did what I told them to and then they said because I told them what to do, somebody was not happy with them and they complained. I thought, ‘oh really?’ Because the situation they were in before was worse, and the fact that you do the right thing does not mean that everybody will like it. Now if I advise you to do something and it’s the right thing to do, and then you face opposition because you did the right thing, and you’re upset with me because I gave you the right advice, I mark you. And I say this person I will not give them counsel anymore. I will leave them until they get into trouble, and when we get into deep waters, hot waters then they’ll come crying on. Then whatever I say they will do. You know many of us don’t get help because we complain. We complain about the challenges we encountered the last time God gave us direction.
You know, there’s a passage in Scripture that showed that Israel was not allowed to go the direct route to the promised land, because they were likely to face war. It was felt that if they face war, they will turn back. Beloved, how many times have you missed out on divine direction because God knew that you would face war? And that if you face war, you will turn back, that you would have challenges, you will turn against Him, you will leave the church forever because God told you what direction to go? We need to build ourselves to the point where we love truth, and we want to live lives of truth. We are desperate to please God and whatever challenges come because we have made the choices He told us to make and we will deal with them. Because in life you will have tribulation.
The Bible says :
“I will lead the blind by a way they did not know” (Isaiah 42:16 (HCSB))
There are things we don’t know ; situations we are not aware of. But the Lord says I will lead you, “I will guide them on paths they have not known.”(Isaiah 42:16 (HCSB)). There is no unknown situation to God. We are the only ones who face unknown situations. “I will turn darkness to light in front of them and rough places into level ground.” (Isaiah 42:16 (HCSB)). 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. You know there is such a need for the church to rise up today in our generation. But we have our churches full of lazy Christians, of passive Christians, of defeated Christians, of blessing-oriented Christians, who have not decided to go God’s way and to deal with any challenges they may encounter.
You know, you tell people ‘don’t compromise, live a life of holiness.’ And then they have to make a choice at work that will set them apart as somebody who’s honouring God. And once the problems start, they get tired and complain. We will have tribulations, but the Bible says: “the rough places will be turned into never ground” (Isaiah 42:16). Whatever challenges you face as you’re going in the direction in which God tells you to go, God will deal with those challenges. You can deal with those challenges, but those of us who are not willing may not actually hear His direction and when we hear, we may not obey, because we don’t want trouble.
The Bible says :
“This is what I will do for them, and I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 42:16)
You know there are times in life when all you can say is, ‘Lord I know you’re here, Lord I know you’re here, I know you’re here.’ And He has never, ever forsaken me. Some of us have been through a lot in life, don’t let this goodlooking youngish looking face deceive you. Some of us have been through a lot in life and 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. We should be prompt 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 and he didn’t go. He said the Holy Spirit didn’t let him go and he didn’t go (Acts 16:6). Many of us would have gone, it’s like the story I told in the previous article about being asked to be a woman’s Pastor in this nice boisterous assembly. It’s a good thing to do ministry and take care of women. And I could have accepted, you know. 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, the Holy Spirit gave him direction and he obeyed. God knew he would obey and he obeyed. And you know what happened after that? He then got even more direction.
Many of us are not hearing God because we’ve been ignoring God. We pray, ‘Lord, speak to me !’ And then He says something but we don’t want to hear that. We say ‘speak, speak to me, Lord!‘ We sing, we pray in tongues and He speaks. But we say, ‘no, I don’t like that.’ We decide what we will accept and reject from God. But Paul was prevented him from going to Asia by the Holy Spirit, and he did not go. Then after that the Holy Spirit directed him to Macedonia. Beloved, sometimes when I’m not quite sure what the Lord wants me to do, I go back to what He had said in the past and I make sure I’m walking in obedience. Because I can’t keep asking the Lord to speak to me when I ignore what He said previously.
I want to challenge someone today, as we come to the end of this article, to begin to ask yourself if you have done the things the Lord told you to do in the past. Ask yourself if you have fully participated in the vision of your local assembly when you recieved direction as a church. 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 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.
We must see ourselves as sons and daughters of the Kingdom and living lives for the Kingdom of God and His purposes. ‘Thy kingdom come’ must be my slogan. I live for the Kingdom of God, I breathe for the Kingdom of God. When that is my mind set, I will receive divine direction and I will obey, I will yield, have a desire, have a cry. All of these things we have said are tied together by that one thing : being kingdom-minded. When we’re kingdom- minded, we walk in that intimacy with the Father that enables us to know the heart of God.
And you know, one of my favourite sentences in Scripture is this very simple sentence the Apostle Paul said in Philippians : “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21 (NIV)). That my friends, is a great key to accessing divine direction and operating in divine direction. “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21 (NIV)).
May the Lord bless you.