Jesus promised that He leads His own, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice (John 10). Have you ever had trouble discerning His voice? I have.
I believe Jesus when He says He will lead me and I will hear and follow. In Romans 8:14 we are told that the children of God are being led by the Holy Spirit. But at times I can begin to doubt my ability to hear Him. My own fears, others’ opinions and the enemy’s taunts have brought so much static that I have a hard time discerning His voice. Let me share some principles that have helped me.
First, Jesus will never lead me outside the will He has already revealed in His word. You simplify your life when you accept the Bible as God’s word. Questions such as, “Should I form a business partnership with someone who is financially successful, but is a tad shady and denies Christ’s authority over his/her business life?”, won’t even be a consideration. 1 Corinthians 15:33 warns, “Bad company corrupts good morals.” Or “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness,…?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). So my first consideration is what has God already said about this?
Secondly, we need to know the character of God. The Pharisees claimed to be following God’s word in their interpretation of the law, yet Jesus said, “If you had known what these words mean, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice,” you would not have condemned the innocent.” (Matthew 12:1-8) They had forged the “perfect law of liberty” into a shackle.
Satan also twists scripture to slander, tempt, accuse and condemn. Psalm 119:160 reminds us that the sum of God’s word is truth. A snippet of scripture can be misused as a club or a noose. If a verse that is meant to infuse courage replays in my mind as an accusation, leaving me feeling condemned, it is certainly not the voice of my Shepherd! “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy: I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) 2 Cor. 7:10 shows that even when God points out our sin, it is to lead us to re-pentance and life, whereas condemnation from our foe leads to feeling hopeless, paralyzed and cut off from God. Remember Romans 8:1, no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus!
Lastly, it seems that God works through my desires (Psalm 37:4). As I walk with Him, He motivates me to want His will for my life (Philippians 2:13). That doesn’t mean there won’t be fears or dread. We are in a spiritual battle which also includes deceitful desires. But in spite of this, God creates a desire in the heart of His child for His will. What desire keeps playing in your heart that is consistent with God’s word and character, even if it be unconventional?
Often I must begin my prayer for guidance with, “Lord, make me willing to do Your will. Create in me a heart for Your best.” He has promised to lead me, I can trust Him to keep His promise. “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him” to lead you this year (Romans 15:13).
Happy New Year,
Prayer Requests: That we and our clients would discern and follow God’s voice.
P.S. A special thanks to all who support Lighthouse through their prayers and giving. We couldn’t be here without you.