Are you praying for guidance and continue to feel lost and unable to move in any direction? Do you wonder how God could lead three wise men all the way to Bethlehem – with a star no less – and yet seems unable to guide you out of your mess?
Do you feel like you’re wandering around in a dense dark forest of doubt and confusion with fear and anxiety wrapped around you like a suffocating cloak? Are you unable to discern any path to lead you out? Is there no light anywhere?
Do you find yourself begging for signposts but there are none? Worse yet, do you feel like God has abandoned you and you have to make your own way, so you’re trying to find the path of least resistance and move forward?
We know that God uses many devices to direct our paths, but sometimes we struggle to find one. We look at our circumstances, to Godly friends, to the desires of our hearts, and yet, we still don’t know what to do. Something is missing. How do we distinguish God’s direction from our own desires? How do we know which is the pathway to victory?
I think the answer for many of our questions lies within the Word of God. Unfortunately, that is often the last place we look because there’s so much there to look at, and we don’t know where to begin. Therefore, instead of searching the Bible, we turn to books about the Bible, or our feelings, or emotions, or our hearts (which is probably the last thing we should trust!). We pray, and we search, but we fail to look in the very place where God has placed the compass.
God promises us that his Word is the lamp that lights our paths, but how do we get the light to turn on? I think the first thing we must do is open our Bibles, and the next thing is ask the Holy Spirit to illumine our minds as we read. God has promised us he will be our guide, we need to trust him to keep his word and we must use the Guidebook he has provided.
However, and this is a biggie, God will probably never lead us beyond one step at a time. Therefore, if we feel like we’re walking in darkness, maybe it’s because we are, by our own choice.
Perhaps God is leading us in the same way he led the wise men, in one direction, one step after another, toward the manger. Well, OK, maybe not physically to Bethlehem; but to Jesus. Imagine if the Wise Men, who were heading east, following the star, decided of their own volition to go north, south, or turn around and go back to the west. They could have prayed for years for direction to find the King, but they would never find him because they were going in the wrong direction. There was only one way to bring their journey to a successful end: follow the star.
Perhaps, if we are praying for guidance, and we are not experiencing God’s leading, it is because we are not following the light God has provided. Maybe we are not living holy lives. Maybe we’ve compromised, pushed God onto the back burner, or chosen to live according to the world’s standard instead of God’s. We are walking away from the light instead of toward it.
Could it be that if we turn away from our complacency, compromise, and desire to fit in, and instead we chose to pursue holiness – to live according to the path that God has provided in his Word, that we just might see a very bright light guiding us again?
Maybe the first step toward finding the way out of the darkness is to ask God to reveal the direction in which your heart is pointed. If it is not pointed toward the light, toward the manger where Christ was born, toward the cross where he died, and toward heaven where he sits, exalted, at the right hand of God – it is time to make a course correction.
I believe the wise men chose daily to put one foot in front of the other, keeping their eyes on the light of the star, every step of the way to Bethlehem. I suspect they never felt compelled to pray and beg God for direction. How dare we expect that we can turn onto a path of disobedience, walk away from God, and then arrogantly ask him to give us directions?
If we are not following God, then the only direction God will give is to turn and walk back toward him. If you cannot see the light, if you feel lost, if you’re begging for guidance and feel like your prayers are bouncing off the trees, perhaps it is because you are not heeding the path to which God is calling you.
This Christmas season, if you’re searching for the light, if you’re searching for direction, will you put aside the books about the Bible, about spirituality, about how to love yourself and others and spend a few minutes in the truth? Will you seek God first?
The best way to find God’s guidance, and stay on the path that will bring victory is to live according to the Word of God. The best way to know the Word is to open the Bible. The Lord blesses those who walk according to his word.
This Christmas instead of just praying for guidance, will you deliberately make the turn back toward the light so that you can truly walk in God’s guidance?
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