How to Seek Guidance

People always want to know how they can tell what God wants them to do, the churchy question is phrased like this: “What is God’s will for my life?” You may be interested in reading more on the topic, I have a page covering several issues surrounding God’s will.

I discovered that there are only eight places in the Bible where the word guidance is used (in the NASB):

  1. But I will use the bronze altar for seeking guidance (2 Kings 16:15)
  2. Saul died because he was unfaithful to the LORD; he did not keep the word of the LORD and even consulted a medium for guidance (1 Chronicles 10:13)
  3. Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance (Proverbs 1:5)
  4. For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers (Proverbs 11:14)
  5. Plans are established by seeking advice; so if you wage war, obtain guidance (Proverbs 20:18)
  6. Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers (Proverbs 24:6)
  7. Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’ Or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’ Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it.” (Habakkuk 2:19)
  8. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:28)

We may seek guidance, but God provides something better, he provides himself.

The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. (Isaiah 58:11)

Many of us struggle to understand and discern God’s guidance for our lives. We ask questions like:

  1. Should I marry or not?
  2. Should I marry this person or that person?
  3. Should I have another child? Should I join this church or that one?
  4. Which profession should I follow?
  5. What job should I take?
  6. Is my present line of work the one to stay in?

Herein lies the major distortion of knowing and doing God’s will. Does God lead and direct in these areas? Yes. Does he come out and overtly tell us what to do? Rarely.

So how does God guide us? Consider these principles:

  1. God’s guidance concerns itself more with our steps than our overall journey.
  2. God’s guidance is more preoccupied with the present than with the future.
  3. God’s guidance has less to do with geography and more to do with morality.
  4. God’s guidance is more interested in our character than our comfort.
  5. God’s guidance is not insider information.
  6. God’s guidance is that we pursue the Guide more than guidance.

In seeking God, his plan will be revealed to us. His way will lead back through his Word. If the step is more critical than the journey, and the present is of greater consequence than the future, and the Guide more essential than the guidance, what is needed? We need to know the right step to take and to know what we must do in the present. That’s why we need to know the Guide.

God does not guide us magically; he guides us relationally. Therefore, the Bible must be studied so we may become acquainted with the ways and thoughts of God. God’s aim is that we become his companions who walk with him. He already knows us, so now he wants us to understand and know him. The more we understand him, the more real our relationship will be with him and the more likely we are to keep in step with him in the direction he is taking us.

Why Does God Wrestle With Men?

The Men of Steel looked into this topic; how often do we wrestle with God?

  1. The Enemy within Me
  2. God Sparing Your Life
  3. Refuse to be a Target
  4. God Wrestles with You… Alone
  5. Why Does God Wrestle with Men?
  6. The Reality of the Spirit Realm

Last time I wrote about Jacob wrestling with God (Genesis 32:24) because wrestling is a man thing, lots of testosterone. I regularly listen to a syndicated Christian radio station called K-Love, and they play a song called By Your Side by a group named Tenth Avenue North. Here are the lyrics:

Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying, let me lift up your face
Just don’t turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I’m not enough
To where will you go child, tell me where will you run
To where will you run

‘Cause I’ll be by your side, wherever you fall
In the dead of night, whenever you call
And please don’t fight, these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world’s sin, so I could carry you in
And give you life, I want to give you life

What does this have to do with wrestling? I sense this song pictures us wrestling against God, while He wrestles with us to help us realize that we need Him more than we could ever imagine. As men we are often striving, trying, and fighting the hands holding us.

I suppose that God also wrestles with us so that we will discover what we are made of. He already knows what He created us to be and He knows what we’ve done with His creation. He’s waiting for us to discover who we are, so He wrestles with us so we will know His power and our weakness, His wisdom and our error, His strength and our frailty.

God wrestles with us to make us realize that we are wasting our lives; that we are mistreating our wives; that we really aren’t the “greatest” or the center of the universe.

God wrestles with us to make us see that we need to persevere and not quit in life, our jobs, our marriages, our spiritual lives, or our church.

God wrestles with us until we face the facts. He doesn’t sugarcoat what He has to say. He wrestles with us until we admit, “Yes, I’m unstable. Yes, I’m making excuses. Yes, I was wrong.”

God wrestles with us so that we will start searching for Him and hunting for what He wants us to find. Man is a hunter by nature. God’s commands to the first man were to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion … over every living thing that moves upon the earth” (Genesis 1:28).

To subdue means to control or conquer, to have dominion means to maintain one’s conquest. Deep inside of men is the need to subdue, the need to conquer, the need to track down and bring something into dominion. There’s a hunter inside every man.

  • We may be hunting for a contract or business deal.
  • We may be on the hunt for a woman.
  • We may be hunting for the perfect new house or car.

Sometimes we don’t even really want what we’re after; we’re just hunting because it is our nature to hunt. Fishermen often catch fish, unhook them, and throw them right back. They say, “Look what I caught,” and then they toss that fish back into the lake. That doesn’t make the man any less a fisherman. It means that he is merely fishing for the sport of it, not for dinner. He is just “hunting.”

Unless we allow God to step in and give us the right goals and guide our “hunting” instinct, we can spend our entire life hunting for the wrong things. Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). He promised that if you seek for it, you’ll find it. (Matthew 7:7). I hope that the Men of Steel can help each of us navigate through this thing called life.

God Wrestles with You… Alone

The Men of Steel looked into this topic; how often do we wrestle with God?

  1. The Enemy within Me
  2. God Sparing Your Life
  3. Refuse to be a Target
  4. God Wrestles with You… Alone
  5. Why Does God Wrestle with Men?
  6. The Reality of the Spirit Realm

I am still fascinated and challenged by the wrestling match between God and Jacob, the father of the twelve sons of Israel (Genesis 32:22-28).

I feel that God encounters men in a lonely place where He can deal with us personally. He wants to be alone with us, rather than in the context of cliques and clubs that can keep us from hearing Him at all. When God gets a man to the point of dealing with the deep issues of life, He does so one-on-one. It’s just you and God.

Ask yourself, “Who are you really?” When nobody’s looking … when you aren’t “prepared,” when all the camouflage has been removed, when you don’t have an ego to defend or anything to prove, when you aren’t concerned about your status? Who are you?

When God is ready to do open-heart surgery, He brings you to an “alone” place. Nobody invites a guest into an operating room, and neither does God. His work on you will be done in private.

When God begins to move in your life, you may feel very uncomfortable. I believe the first response of any man at that time is to surround themselves with more people. We feel restless, frustrated, and lonely in our spirits. We feel a greater need to have somebody with us, to protect us, shield us, walk with us, and encourage us. We will soon discover that the presence of other people doesn’t meet the deep longing we have. The loneliness and restlessness we feel in our spirits is God’s call on our lives. He is reeling us in for our one-on-one encounter with Him.

  • You can be surrounded by people … and still be alone.
  • You can have sex with your wife … and still be alone.
  • You can have dozens of close friends … and still be alone.
  • You can have hundreds of friends on Facebook … and still be alone.

It’s like we finally admit that we are lonely and need something that other people can’t provide, and then we discover we need Someone to fill a part of us that nobody else seems to be able to fill—that’s when God steps in.

I suppose that when we feel alone, it means that somebody we thought we could count on for protection has disappeared. We feel isolated, separated, and alone. When we feel left alone, our hope is usually that someone will come along and comfort us. In fact, we expect that “comfort” is what a loving God would do to a man who is left alone. But God says that He is not coming to comfort us, but to confront us. God came to challenge Jacob, and to wrestle with him (Genesis 32:24). Jacob’s first reaction was, no doubt, “Oh, no, not You too!”

  • Everybody is wrestling me.
  • My wife is wrestling with me.
  • My children are wrestling with me.
  • My boss is wrestling with me.
  • My creditors are wrestling with me.
  • My co-workers are wrestling with me.
  • My church is wrestling with me.
  • My own mind is a wrestling match.
  • And now, You, too, God?

The Bible says that the wounds of a friend are faithful (Proverbs 27:6). A true friend is one who “wounds” you for a good reason. What he says may hurt you, but in the end, it helps you. What he does may seem painful to you, but in the end, you’ll thank him for doing it because it was for your own good.

A good friend doesn’t agree with you all the time. No matter how brutally you object, a good friend will stand right up in your face and say “You’re still wrong.”

You don’t have real help until you have someone who will confront you about what needs to be changed in your life. That’s why I feel strongly about Men of Steel. We each need other men to stand up to us, and to force us to face our sin, to confront us about our lies, to make us uncomfortable about our bad habits, to move us away from mediocrity, to challenge us toward excellence. I value your participation each Saturday! I pray that each of us will find another man in whom we can invest our lives, and that someone else will seek to invest their life in us.


God Sparing Your Life

The Men of Steel looked into this topic; how often do we wrestle with God?

  1. The Enemy within Me
  2. God Sparing Your Life
  3. Refuse to be a Target
  4. God Wrestles with You… Alone
  5. Why Does God Wrestle with Men?
  6. The Reality of the Spirit Realm

Years ago at a youth conference (anybody remember Bill Gothard’s Institute for Basic Youth Conflicts?), anyway, I saw a “campaign” button that read, “PBPWMGINFWMY.” Confused? It stood for, “Please be patient with me, God is not finished with me yet.” Men today need to listen to that advice. We want to be fixed, and want God to do it now. But the problem is that it has taken so long to develop the habits that have made us as “lame” as we are that it is going to take a whole lot of time to undo what we have built and start fresh on a new foundation.

Men, none of us has arrived. There is always more work to be done, more home improvement that can be accomplished, more areas in life that could be made better… don’t think so? Let’s go visit your wife! She will likely come up with a bulleted list, or pull out the hidden list she has been working on since you came back from the honeymoon!

God needs to work on each one of us. That should not surprise any man when he takes an honest look at himself… desiring to be the best husband and father he can be for his family’s sake. With all the mistakes of life, we should be grateful that God has kept us alive long enough so He can continue to work on us, in us and sometimes in spite of us. I’m personally grateful for what He has poured into me over the years.

Perhaps you can see God’s hand on your life. He’s brought you through some events in life that made you wonder why He ever saved you? Maybe at some point you were driving home drunk, just an accident waiting to happen… maybe you were arguing with your wife, just on the verge of getting physical… maybe you were friendly with a woman at the office and the flirtatious invitation to get a bite to eat after work was a bit too tempting. God was there, even when you did not realize it.

Some men are grieving over having already fallen, but remember God was still here, ready to forgive and help you get back on the right path. He continues to have you in His grasp. Pray as we have been directed in the Bible, “Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13).

If God had not been merciful to us when we were sinners, we’d all be dead! Some men have been through so much that they are amazed that they are still alive. Other men would have self-destructed much earlier. Some men get depressed too easily. Others become discouraged too easily. A few become suicidal too easily. Men need to reach deep inside to find their inner Rambo! Put on your camouflage face paint, tie a bandana around your forehead, and grit your hunting knife in your teeth… it’s time to fight! Fight the enemy whose sole purpose is to see you fall. Seeking biblical support for all this fighting? Check out 1 Timothy 6:12, and 2 Timothy 2:3-4.

I am reminded of another man, in the Bible, whose life was spared… the wrestler, Jacob (Genesis 32:30). This is the story where Jacob wrestled with “God” all night, and he eventually dislocated his hip in the process. Jacob came away with a limp, but he also came away a changed man; this event had a spiritual impact on his life. The point is that Jacob needed God. His name meant “deceiver” or “swindler” and he lived up to it. His brother was out to kill him for his treachery. But God was not finished with Jacob yet. His name is changed to Israel, which is the name that is echoed throughout the Old Testament, representing the people to God, specifically the twelve tribe of Israel.

Are you ready to rumble? God has brought you this far for a purpose. He wants to spare your life, if only we will submit to Him. How often have you found yourself wrestling against God, and after it was all over you were amazed that your life was spared? Change may not come quickly, but hang in there; God is not finished with you yet.


Was the Lame Man at the Gate Distracted?

The Men of Steel looked into this topic; this lame man represents all men and the issues we face:

  1. Who was the Lame Man at the Gate? (Acts 3:1, 2, 3)
  2. What are You Expecting From the Church?
  3. How Did You Get Where You Are?
  4. Are You Trapped at the Gate?
  5. Was the Lame Man at the Gate Distracted?

This is part five from the Men of Steel topic on the Lame Man at the Gate (From Acts 3:1-5).

The Bible says that when Peter and John came to the temple at the hour of prayer, they fixed their eyes on the lame man (Acts 3:4). Peter said to him, “Look on us.” I believe that Peter didn’t want this man to be distracted. If a man gets distracted, he can miss what God has for him.

Peter wanted this man to pay close attention to what he was about to do. He wanted him to intently hear him. Maybe he got right down in his face, locking eyes so that everything else in that lame man’s world just faded away. That’s the way we need to deal with men who are in pain. When we’re the ones suffering, that’s the way we need to look at Jesus. We need to get so close to Him that we don’t see anybody else.

Then Peter spoke to him using a name (Acts 3:6). Every one of us needs a name that is stronger than ourselves, our problems; a name that is greater than our need, a name that is more powerful than our pain. He spoke the name of Jesus. Paul would later write, “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow … and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:10-11).

It is the name of Jesus that is higher than any other name. The writer of Hebrews says, He is “holy, harmless, undefiled … and made higher than the heavens” (Hebrews 7:26). There is no other name that can heal men of their lameness. Then Peter went beyond words. Notice the words of Peter had no visible effect on this man’s life. Men may hear sermons each week and find that nothing changes in their lives. Men all around us in need of hearing about the love and forgiveness of God, yet have not experience any of it for themselves.

Peter put the name of Jesus into action by reaching down and taking this lame man by the right hand and lifting him up. This lame man’s feet and ankle bones were healed as Peter lifted him up (Acts 3:7). Notice that this guy who had never walked, didn’t need any help walking (Acts 3:8). He only needed help getting up on his feet. Now he was standing, walking, and leaping as he praised God.

There are men all around us today who need for us to speak the right name to them—and they need for us to help them get to their feet spiritually and emotionally. We don’t need to be their crutch, but we do need to pull them to their feet so that God can heal and strengthen the lameness in their lives.

How can we as Men of Steel speak Christ to other men, and put into action words that can bring more men into the group? How can we make other men thirsty for healing and fulfillment? What are some practical things that we can do to minister to men in our church, community and workplace? What sort of things do you personally need from the Men of Steel? How can the group help you to become all that God wants you to be? What are the distractions that are keeping you from being totally sold out to Jesus? What are a few steps of faith that you believe God is calling you to take?