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When can a believer understand that God is not leading him? How can one discern God’s guidance?
Quite a few months ago, my wife and I had to drive to a different city in the center of the country to visit my in-laws. Everything looked good with the car when I checked it. However, after one hour of driving something happened. We saw a red light flashing on the car’s control panel. I do not know many things about cars and to be honest, I was never attracted to them. Therefore, as you can imagine, I had no idea what the problem was, but I knew I had to pull over and try to decrypt the message my car was trying to send me.
I started calling my friends and explained to them the problem and that my car was moving slow. I’ve sent them pictures on WhatsApp and tried everything they said, but still, the car did not work correctly. Finally, we decided to continue our journey to the closest town with a car service. Thank God, we finally arrived at a place where we received help.
In my previous posts, I wrote about some of the ways the Spirit of God is using to lead us in His ways. In this post, I want to write about how a person can understand he is not being led by the Spirit of God.
It takes time and faith to learn how the Holy Spirit guides your steps. And at the same time, it takes time and many mistakes often to learn when He is not guiding your steps. In my post I want to share with you two signals or red lights for which you need to look as you move forward in life:
1. When you feel pushed or driven
And in John 10:3-4 (ESV) we read
To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
The custom in the countries of the Middle East was for the shepherd to go in front of the sheep and the sheep to follow the shepherd from pasture to pasture. It was not the shepherd who followed his sheep but the other way around. The shepherd went ahead of the sheep. This is important to understand.
God is not driving His sheep from behind to go a certain way, but He is leading them. Romans 8:14 (ESV) confirms this truth
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
C. Spurgeon, commenting this verse said
It does not say, ‘As many as are driven by the Spirit of God.’ No, the devil is a driver, and when he enters either into men or into hogs he drives them furiously. Remember how the whole herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea. Whenever you see a man fanatical and wild, whatever spirit is in him it is not the Spirit of Christ.
Therefore, pay attention to who is leading you to do certain things.
2. When you are fearful
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
God will never lead you through a spirit of fear. Probably Apostle Paul saw that young Timothy was timid and afraid sometimes. However, God wanted Timothy to realize that this fear was not from Him.
I remember the intense fear I felt when my Pastors came for the first time to me and asked me to start speaking in front of the Congregation. However, after I prayed I sensed God is leading me to accept the invitation from my Pastors. And I sensed He was telling me that the fear I felt was not from Him but from the enemy who wants to keep me from entering His calling. Moreover, I sensed I had to make a choice— to obey and trust God or to obey Satan. There was no third option.
Never take decisions out of fear only out of fear of the Lord. A good question to ask yourself is what you would do if you would not have fear? Do not let fear lead you but let the Spirit of God guide your life. Psalm 56:3 (ESV)
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
We all need to deal with fear in life. The first step when you recognize fear is leading you (and you have to be honest with yourself) is to take a decision and say God is not the One making me feel this way. God is not into this fear and is not Him the One who has given me this.
Someone said that life is made out of decisions. And sometimes essential choices are difficult to make. When do I know I am right or when do I know I am wrong? These are questions we all need to answer. Thank God for the Holy Spirit and the promise He gave us in John 16:13 (ESV)
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
I know people, who are fighting addictions, will say they felt driven to drink alcohol. And I know many genuine believers do not see the difference between being led by God and being driven by a deceiving spirit— sometimes even to do good things.
The Holy Spirit that lives inside of any believer will guide into all truth. Let us pay attention to His guidance. God knows what He’s doing!
Do you agree?
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I highly recommend this article by my mentor J. Lee Grady Stop Making God’s Guidance So Complicated
I am a blogger, writer, minister, husband to Olguta, and most importantly, a child of God. I am also a certified Coach, Speaker, Trainer, and Teacher with The John Maxwell Team, and I am helping people reach their full potential.