Do you wonder how God could lead three wise men all the way to Bethlehem – with only a star – 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 trapped in a suffocating cloak of fear and
anxiety? Are you unable to discern the path that leads you out? Is there no light anywhere?
Are you begging for signposts but still you see nothing? Worse yet, do you feel like God has abandoned you and it is up to you to find the path of least resistance and trudge forward?
Even in the darkness we know that God uses many devices to direct our paths, but sometimes we struggle to follow him, because we can’t see in the darkness.
What Are We Really Looking for
We look to 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?
How do we distinguish God’s direction from our own desires?
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 as simple as picking up our Bibles and opening them. Bibles should not scare us.
Next, we must ask the Holy Spirit to open our minds as we read, and help us understand what God is saying to us.
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. Maybe we are walking faster than God is leading and beyond where God is leading.
Where Is God Leading
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 God is not physically leading us to Bethlehem; but he is always leading us to Jesus.
Imagine if the Wise Men, who were directed to head east by 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, but they would never find the King because they would be walking 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.
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.
Could it be that if we turn away from our complacency, compromise, and desire to fit in, and instead we turn toward the pursuit of holiness – living 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 choose 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 ceiling, perhaps it is because you are not heeding the path to which God called you.
This Christmas season, if you are searching for the light, for direction, will you put aside the books — you know the ones, the books that tell you how to be spiritual, how to love yourself, how to avoid negativity, and books that offer formulas for spiritual growth — and spend a few minutes in the Word of God: the Bible? 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 turn toward the light and walk in God’s guidance?
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