Learning to Be Led


When God's guidance takes us in a direction that we would rather not go, He has to take us there instead of guiding us there (that’s “the hard way”).

Psalm 32:8

Who hasn't heard the saying, “When all else fails, follow the directions”? For whatever reason—pride, being in a hurry, the pioneer spirit—human beings are often reluctant to receive guidance. We like to chart our own course, make our own way, create our own future—but we’re the first to holler when we get lost. Think of dads putting toys together on Christmas Eve. How hard could a tricycle be to assemble? A couple of hours later—with nuts and bolts, pliers and screwdrivers, and patience and joy all gone with the wind—the plaintive plea is heard: “Has anybody seen the instructions?”

A corollary to the Bible’s teaching about God’s guidance isn't found in scripture word for word, but the principle is there: “We can do this the hard way or the easy way.” If it is true that God has invested heavily in us (he has; 1 Cor. 6:20) . . . and if it is true that he has a purpose for us (it is; Eph. 2:10)... then it is reasonable for us to assume that we will accomplish his purpose (we will; Is. 46:11; 1 Thess. 5:24). It is wise, therefore, for us to receive and follow his guidance.

God’s guidance revolves around two potential directions: ours and his. When we want to go his direction, we gladly accept his guidance (that’s “the easy way”). But when his guidance takes us in a direction we would rather not go, he has to take us there instead of guiding us there (that’s “the hard way”). When King David, a man usually willing to follow God’s guidance, rebelled and sinned on one occasion, God tried to guide him in the direction of repentance and confession—but David did not want to go. Psalm 32 reveals how difficult life became for him. He finally relented: “I will confess my transgression to the Lord” (Ps. 32:5).

God’s generous offer to guide us is balanced with a warning: Do not be like beasts who must be forced to follow directions (Ps. 32:9). Instead, receive the guidance of God with joy. What other guidance could possibly be as good as his?

God’s Promise to You: “The path on which I lead you is smoother than the one on which I take you.”


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