This post last updated on November 12th, 2021
Previously, I wrote an article that briefly mentioned following God, asking my readers, “Do you want to have more faith?” That post shared 3 ways to do just that, and briefly mentioned when it comes to following God, we first need to determine God’s will.
Sometimes it’s difficult to determine God’s will, and sometimes following God is equally as challenging, especially once we do know His will. But really, knowing His will and following God work together in many ways.
Yes, there is faith and that’s absolutely necessary, but certainly, if you’re going to “go after” God with no hesitation, you’ll probably ask the age old question, “How do I determine God’s will in my life?”Here are some ways He guides us as we continue following God:
1. His Word Instructs Us – Micah 6:8 is a very compelling verse that cuts right to the point:
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?Micah 6:8
These things God requires. Be truthful and honest in how we deal with others, in our relationships and most importantly, being honest with our God. We’re also instructed to embrace kindness. It’s one thing to embrace the mercy and kindness that God has shown us, but to fully love kindness we need to show that same kindness and mercy to others.
Walking humbly with God is a point all to itself. In Luke 9:23, Jesus tells His followers they “must deny themselves and take up their cross daily” and follow Him.
There are many implications in that verse, one of which is Jesus instructing you and I to walk humbly and to live sacrificially for others and for God. We could find dozens of examples throughout the Bible, but isn’t His work on the cross the ultimate example of walking humbly?
2. His Word Guides Us – Psalm 119:105 is a beautiful reminder of this: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Although this is a verse most Christians have heard many, many times, it’s still an enduring reminder that the Word of God is personal and practical and guides us throughout this life.
If you’ve ever been primitive camping in the forest or driving on a dark, isolated road, it’s easy to imagine a light on a dark path revealing the safe route to follow, avoiding the dangers of going the wrong way.
3. His Holy Spirit Leads Us – John 16:13: “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth…” Follower of Christ, please read that again, and carefully:
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth…John 16:13
After His resurrection and just before Pentecost, Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit of God would be our helper, and one of the purposes of the Holy Spirit is to continue the ministry of Jesus following His physical departure from this world.
The promise of this helper belongs to everyone who has accepted Christ. That’s a big deal, and here’s why: because the Holy Spirit leads us into truth. As you read your Bible, the Spirit of Truth becomes your teacher when you’ve surrendered to God and asked for His guidance.
Knowing His Will
Obviously the Holy Spirit doesn’t give us audible instructions. He doesn’t text us or email us, though maybe we wish He would at times. So how do we distinguish between our own thoughts and the leading of the Lord?
Do you ever get that sense when your conscience is telling you something? I’ve heard the reports from those who tell about some heavy impression or another in their mind only to find out later that had they been on a certain highway or in some specific place they intended to be, they would have been in harms way.
A Lesson in Listening
One night after visiting my brother and his family, we loaded our babies into their car seats for the hour long drive home through the farmlands of California’s Delta region. My wife and I both had a tremendous feeling that we didn’t want to drive home that night. Thinking it was just tiredness, we began the drive home.
We didn’t listen to that first impression. Not more than 10 minutes down the road, our car began sputtering and choking, seemingly not willing to go any further. After pulling over and finding no obvious issues, we turned back and started returning to my brother’s house. Seeing the car was fine, we decided not to bother him and so we turned around again towards home, only for the car to choke and stall after another few minutes!
Once we discovered that the car was fine as long as we were not heading home, we discerned that we were being instructed to stay the night. We never had that issue again with that car.
Though the car just wouldn’t do what we wanted it to do, God doesn’t always intervene to such extremes. The lesson learned was one of recognizing the leading of the Spirit on our consciences.
Knowing God and abiding in Him through prayer and time in His Word allows us to trust his leading on our conscience. We become familiar with the “gentle whispers” as He guides us along (1 Kings 19:11-12).
Remember the verse from the original 3 Ways to More Faith article? Joshua 3:3, which tells us, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant…you shall set out from your place and follow it.” Operative words here being as soon as and you shall follow it. It implies urgency, immediacy and of course, faith.
It’s important to keep in mind that in following God with no hesitation and in heeding His gentle leading, we have a choice to do so or not.
It’s also essential to remember that ignoring or resisting the Spirit of God is a horrible idea (1 Thessalonians 5:19) that cannot end well (Ephesians 4:30), but pursuing God in daily prayer and reading His Word teaches us to recognize His voice and to trust in His leading.