5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Do you remember your high school guidance counselor? It was her/his job to help you make the right academic choices to prepare you for a vocation. But when we pray for God’s guidance we’re asking for so much more.
Your request for God’s guidance can be a blanket prayer. “Lord, show me the way.” Or your prayer for guidance might be specific. “Should I quit my job and find a new one?” “Should I ask her to marry me?”
There is no one who can give better advice than God. He has all wisdom and knowledge. Not only can He point you in the right direction, He can clear the path and protect you along the way. “… He will make your paths straight.”
When we are looking for a solution to a problem, there may appear to be several answers. Like that old game show, Let’s Make a Deal, the solution could be behind door #1, door #2, or door #3. If God would just answer loud and clear. But — you hear nothing. And you are left to fend for yourself. You wonder why God didn’t answer your prayer.
God gave you a free will and wisdom to make your own choices. At times, He will make your choice clear. But most often, He leaves it up to you to make the wise decision.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:5-6
The wisdom God gives us is directly linked to our faith. “… when you ask, you must believe and not doubt.”
God created you to think and reason for yourself. As a Christian, you have the extra added benefit of the heavenly Father to watch over you and His word to equip you for every scenario.
Since we have all these God-given advantages for decision-making, why do we often make the wrong choices or struggle to make up our minds? That’s because we live in the world, where we are surrounded by temptation, deception, distraction, lies, hidden agendas, and countless opinions.
So decision-making is often like trying to have a quiet conversation in a noisy restaurant. The voices of this world drown out the voice of God.
Fortunately, we have been given a plan to guarantee God’s guidance in our lives. We have already seen faith is essential to wisdom. Our focus text gives us added insight.
Three Steps to Seeking God’s Guidance
(1) Trust in the LORD with all your heart– That’s the faith James talked about.
(2) Lean not on your own understanding– Remember, God’s ways aren’t our ways. As I’ve often noted in The Forever Notebook, God’s mandates don’t always make sense to us. Sometimes God’s instruction is so radically different from the norm we reason it must mean something else. Things like loving your enemies, praying for those who persecute you, or forgiving everyone who has wronged you regardless of what they have done. In this relationship with deity, our humanity is incapable of grasping the totality of God’s infinite wisdom and knowledge. Just because we don’t understand it doesn’t mean it’s not true.
(3) In all your ways submit to Him– Total surrender. Complete submission.
Now, when you do those things: trust, lean on His understanding, and submit to Him, then you are guaranteed “… He will make your paths straight.”
You can make your decisions and choices with confidence when you live your life His way.
So what is cluttering your pathway? In what ways are you failing to trust Him as you should? Which of His commands have you rejected because they didn’t seem rational or because they’re inconvenient? What areas of your life have you failed to seek God’s guidance? Confess them now and get your life on God’s sure path.
For more on this topic, check out this article: How to Learn God’s Will for Your Life
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.