Today Mark McLendon joins us to talk about “Guidance”.
Mark serves as the student minister at Eastern Hills Baptist, Montgomery. He is a graduate of Baylor University and Southwestern Seminary.
Today we’re looking at guidance. What is guidance? The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “advice or information aimed at resolving a problem or difficulty, especially as given by someone in authority; the directing of the motion or position of something, especially a missile, like a guidance system.”
I think these two definitions really help us understand what guidance is, but let’s take it one step further looking at it from a spiritual perspective. Guidance really is gaining information and resolving the problem through the lens of our spiritual principles. It determines the direction that we will be going and it both gives us and highlights our end goal. I think it’s really important to realize that guidance is helping us to know the end goal and only God can give us the end goal. Without guidance, we can look busy. We can do things that on paper look incredibly good, but without directing us to the end goal all of this activity is really for naught. We’re busy, but we’re not really productive, or to misquote Shakespeare, “It’s much ado about nothing really.”
So what does the Bible say about guidance? There are three areas of guidance that we can see clearly in the Bible. First, there’s Biblical Guidance. There’s actually God’s Word that is helping and guiding us in life. In 2 Timothy 3:16 it says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (NIV)
So we see that scripture helps us with that. Psalm 119:9-11 says, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word…Do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.” (NAS)
Psalm 48:14 says this, “For such is God, our God forever and ever; He will guide us until death.” (NAS) How great that we have a God who is guiding us from the very beginning all the way to the very end. He knows the end goal.The second way we can find guidance is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit prompts us and urges us and groans for us as well. We know that in scripture. In John 16:13 it says, “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.” (ESV)
The second way we can find guidance is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit prompts us and urges us and groans for us as well. We know that in scripture. In John 16:13 it says, “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.” (ESV)
We also see in 1 John 2:27, “The anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.”
So we know the Holy Spirit is leading and guiding and teaching us. We don’t have to have an expert on our back telling us everything that God’s Word says. He will help us in those situations. What a gift and a promise! In 2 Peter 1:3 it says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” (BSB) So we see that the Holy Spirit is also a guide for us.
The principle of Godly Mentors providing guidance also is found deeply in scripture. Moses had his father-in-law Jethro. We see that in Exodus 18. We see Paul had Ananias after he had this great experience on the Damascus road and accepted Christ. He was sent to Ananias, and Ananias helped him walk through the journey. Paul also turned around and was a mentor for so many. Someone he wasn’t a mentor for was Mark. He got in a huge fight with Barnabas because Mark had skipped out and Barnabas was like, “Let’s bring him back in,” and Paul was like, “I don’t want to do that.” But Barnabas walked with Mark and guided him so much that at the end of Paul’s life Paul said, “Bring Mark. He’s of much value to me.” So we see godly influence is helping us out.
What I have found is that when these three things – God’s Word, the Holy Spirit and Godly Mentors – are all in unison and all sharing the same thing, it’s like a trifecta, and I really see that the Lord is moving deeply and helping me know the next step that I need to take. When I just try to focus in on one of them and think that’s enough, that’s really where I get into trouble. When I can’t escape the message of what God is saying in the preaching that’s happening, in the books that I’m reading, in the discussions I’m having with godly people, in things that are coming up in circumstances and things that are coming up on the news, then I start seeing, “Wow, all of this is pointing in the same direction.” Then I need to pause and listen. God is speaking and he’s guiding. I’m pretty thick-headed and I need all of that to come at me.
That’s how I know God is really moving in a place, but we also need to give it time. You know, how do I apply that to my life? I need to wait on the Lord. I need to make sure that I give enough time for Him to tell me all of those things. I jump the gun too much. Proverbs 16:9 says this, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” (NIV)
God doesn’t give us the big picture, just the next step. Take the next step in the guidance God is giving you and keep doing it until He gives you the next place to go.