Sent: April 2007
Subject: God’s daily leading
Does God guide people throughout the day? If so, how can we recognize him? I recognize your physical limitations and realize that living with chronic pain on a daily basis prohibits your capability to reply to questions. Therefore, any of the insights you are able to provide that would benefit my understanding of God’s daily guidance will be greatly appreciated. Please feel free to take as much time as you need without feeling pressured to respond.
With much gratitude for your help Craigo,
Your two-part question is really an excellent one and is answered with a few simple and basic precepts found in the scriptures. As I pondered the two interrelated questions, I began with some basic Bible verses that explain the nature of God’s spirit, including His attributes, such as being ‘invisible’ to the physical sight. Since no human has ever seen God’s spirit (John 1:18); whatever depictions of His nature that we find in the Bible are portrayed as physical manifestations or spiritual manifestations, which God made visible to reveal aspects of His divine nature (e.g. burning bush revealed Yahweh’s holiness & power to Moses).
It is importance for us distinguish the differences that exist between terminology that is used to furnish a generalized description of God’s existence and His divine attributes , which are applicable to all humankind, and the depiction with terms used to explain His daily guidance for the Christian believer. In other words, if an unbeliever, who is not seeking a relationship with God, asks you to explain how you are able to ‘recognize’ God’s guidance daily, your response will be different than it would to another believer with the same spiritual mindset and love for God and His son Jesus Christ.
You asked how ‘we’ (plural pronoun) are able to recognize the way(s) that God guides us daily. This means you are inquiring not only for yourself, but for the body of Christ, aka the church. This topic is so multifaceted a worthy of a comprehensive treatise, that for me to answer what seems to be on the surface two simple questions, I really detailed and done properly, my reply would be a lengthy treatise. To narrow the field and give readers something solid to grasp and apply In daily life, I will limit my response in answer to two primary precepts. If these two precepts are intricately intertwined into our daily lifestyle as an extension of our personal relationship with God, then He will provide us with the inner and spiritual recognition that He is indeed guiding us.
We recognize that God is guiding us daily when:
1. We love God and the evidence of our love for Him is expressed in our obedience to His will. God’s will is that we always love one another, and that we love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Mark 12:28-31). Loving our brothers and sisters in the Lord, and loving our neighbor as ourselves is tantamount to treating others the same way that we ourselves wish to be treated.
& John 13:34-35 Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples , if you have love for one another.” New American Standard Bible - Updated Version
& 1 John 4:11-21 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19 We love, because He first loved us. 20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. New American Standard Bible - Updated Version
2. We do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly before God. No one can serve two masters; you cannot love God and the world, riches, or be obsessed with the cares of life.
& James 1:20-27 For man's anger does not promote the righteousness God wishes and requires. 21 So get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness, and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the Word; obey the message and not be merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth. 23 For if anyone only listens to the Word without obeying it and being a doer of it, he is like a man who looks carefully at his own natural face in a mirror; 24 for he thoughtfully observes himself, and then goes off and promptly forgets what he was like. 25 But he who looks carefully into the faultless law, the law of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer who obeys, he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience). 26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious (piously observant of the external duties of his faith) and does not bridle his tongue but deludes his own heart, this person's religious service is worthless (futile, barren). 27 External religious worship religion as it is expressed in outward acts that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world. Amplified Bible
& Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you; but to do justly, to love mercy , and to walk humbly with your God? New King James Version
God’s guidance in our daily lives is much different than describing the many and oftentimes incomprehensible attributes that are characteristic of His nature and existence. For example, the Book of Romans teaches that God’s ‘invisible’ nature as spirit is made ‘evident’ by the things He created in the physical world. The intricate complexity and magnanimous scale of God’s organic and inanimate physical creation, all of which maintains a remarkably cohesive atmosphere and biosphere so that mankind is without excuse when he denies the Creator and/or worships idolatry. This passage in the first chapter of Romans is especially apropos to your inquiry because the apostle Paul’s letter is written to the converted Jews and converted Gentiles that lived in the vast metropolitan area of Rome.
Below I have provided the Amplified Bible version of the portion of text for you to read in its context; please take time to read it deliberately, paying special attention to words and/or phrases that are red-color highlighted by me. As you contemplate what each point means to you, have a pad of paper and a pen handy, and jot yourself some meaningful notes as it pertains to your two questions.
& 15-18 So, for my part, I am willing and eagerly ready to preach the Gospel to you also who are in Rome. 16 For I am not ashamed of the Gospel (good news) of Christ, for it is God's power working unto salvation [for deliverance from eternal death] to everyone who believes with a personal trust and a confident surrender and firm reliance, to the Jew first and also to the Greek, 17 for in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed through the way of faith that arouses to more faith]. As it is written, The man who through faith is just and upright shall live and shall live by faith. [Habakkuk 2:4.] 18 For God's [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative.
& 19-22 For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself] has shown it to them. 20 For, ever since the creation of the world, His invisible nature and attributes; that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So, men are without excuse and altogether without any defense or justification, [Psalms 19:1-4.] 21 Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves. 23 And by them the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God were exchanged for and represented by images, resembling mortal man and birds and beasts and reptiles.
& 24-30 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their own hearts to sexual impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin], 25 because they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, Who is blessed forever! Amen (so be it). [Jeremiah 2:11.] 26 For this reason God gave them over and abandoned them to vile affections and degrading passions. For their women exchanged their natural function for an unnatural and abnormal one, 27 And the men also turned from natural relations with women and were set ablaze (burning out, consumed) with lust for one another--men committing shameful acts with men and suffering in their own bodies and personalities the inevitable consequences and penalty of their wrong-doing and going astray, which was [their] fitting retribution. 28 And so, since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or approve of Him or consider Him worth the knowing, God gave them over to a base and condemned mind to do things not proper or decent but loathsome, 29 Until they were filled (permeated and saturated) with every kind of unrighteousness, iniquity, grasping and covetous greed, and malice. They were full of envy and jealousy, murder, strife, deceit and treachery, ill will and cruel ways. They were secret backbiters and gossipers, 30 slanderers, hateful to and hating God, full of insolence, arrogance, and boasting; inventors of new forms of evil, disobedient and undutiful to parents.
& 31-32 They were without understanding, conscienceless and faithless, heartless and loveless and merciless. 32 Though they are fully aware of God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them themselves but approve and applaud others who practice them. Amplified Bible
Even the most studied biblical scholar will admit that trying to fully understand the totality of God’s infinite greatness is an exercise in futility. The Scriptures are replete with descriptions of God’s unsearchable ways, which are beyond our finite comprehension.
& Isaiah 55:6-9 Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, and to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. 8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD, 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” New American Standard Bible - Updated Version
In spite of the limitations of our ability to grasp the enormity, magnitude and supreme majesty of the Creator, there is also a side of Him that is very tangible. The Bible is the inspired (i.e. God-breathed) Scripture in its original languages (e.g. Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Syriac (Peshitta), etc), and it provides the believer a written record of man’s relationship with God from the beginning of creation.
Not everyone in the world has easy access to the Bible as we do here in the United States of America. In fact, the vast majority of true Christian believers in the world are without a Bible in their native tongue. After the end of the second World War, Communism’s dictators in Red China, the Soviet Union, and North Korea alone were responsible for the murderous extermination of over 60-80 million of their own countrymen. Many, if not most of these people were Christians and Jews.
Being that it is considered a crime against the state in atheistic governed nations to own or be seen with a Bible, believers here meet covertly in well-hidden house churches and share the use of a few smuggled Bibles. My reason for sharing this type of contemporary persecution against Christians is to provide a more comprehensive answer to your two questions.
Since access to the scriptures is not uniformly obtainable across the globe, we cannot include one’s knowledge of biblical doctrine in our impartial recognition of ways that God is guiding us daily. As important as reading and studying the Bible is, it is not the criteria by which we as Christians recognize the guidance of our Father in heaven. Consider this Chris: There was no Bible containing Old and New Testament in the days of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, so how did THEY recognize God’s daily guidance?
I wish I had the physical stamina to continue to give you the wide array of variables that throw the proverbial ‘monkey wrench’ into the thought process as we contemplate answers to your inquiry. However, sometimes the short and simple ‘to the point’ method gets the job done much more effectively. Therefore, below I have rewritten your two questions and answered them directly and succinctly:
QUESTION: Does God guide people throughout the day?
QUESTION: If so, how can we recognize him?
ANSWER: We recognize God and His guidance in our lives by how we treat others and whether we love the things of the world or the things above. It’s that simple.
I hope this has proven helpful.
Love ya bro~
1 Peter 3:15 Always be ready to give reasonable justification to anyone who asks you for an explanation of the hope that is within you, but do it considerately and courteously.