Lesson 10: FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS
The personnel manager of a large company calls together a group of new employees to assign their duties. Part of them he sends to a technical training school. Others he assigns to older employees to train "on the job." There are many different departments in the company. There is an advertising department which informs people about the product; demonstrators who show the people how it can be used; door-to-door salesmen who take the product right to the people; other salesmen who sell in wholesale quantities; and troubleshooters who help new customers, those who are having difficulty, or do not understand how to use the product. Each department is important in the company.
GOD'S WILL FOR YOU
(Read I Cor. 12:1-27)
When you were saved, you became a member of the Body of Christ (verses 12,13). Gifts of the Spirit of God have been given to EVERYONE, and it is according as GOD WILLS (verse 11).
Everyone is not an eye or an ear. But God has a purpose and a plan for every member. It is a place for which God has equipped you to work. Some are places of obscurity, working behind the scenes, unknown to the world.
Jesus said; "Ye shall be witnesses unto me....unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). This is the job of the Body of Christ. Where is your place? All of God's callings are important in His program for the evangelization of the world. Your main concern should be to find God's will for your life. That will be the happiest way, if you accept it, to spend your life on this earth.
After awhile, the personnel manager might transfer one of the workers to another department. Extra help might have been needed in the first department to finish a certain task, or the employee needed to understand those duties to equip him for more efficient work in another department. The employees do not wander from job to job but are assigned to their positions. The manager is very careful never to assign any worker to a task he is unable to do.
After the worker becomes acquainted with the product and the company's method of operation, the manager calls him into his office and presents a new job to him. He probably will not be forced to take it, but if he does not, he might miss a big opportunity. Until he is willing to do what he is asked, he cannot be of much use to the company. Someone else must do the job he was asked to do. If he agrees to do the job the manager will provide all the help needed.
A PLACE TO WORK
Suppose the employee is to work as a demonstrator-salesman. The company wants him to do as good a job as possible. They give him a book which in a general way sets down the manner in which he is to conduct himself. They arrange for him to meet other employees along the way. They send the field representative with him to train him. Then They tell him, "If you run into a problem you cannot solve, call us on the telephone and we will help you."
THE BOOK SAYS
The book the company has given the employee is very definite about some things. It says, "Never lie about the product." "Always be courteous." Sometimes the worker might not remember whether or not the book has instructions regarding a certain thing and he will have to look it up. If the book speaks plainly, he will not need to look further.
IT IS NOT IN THE BOOK
Every decision to be made will not be listed in the book. Usually there will be certain principles which will fit every problem.
CALL THE HOME OFFICE
If he does not know what to do, the worker can call the home office and ask for instructions. He might be advised that the case in question is similar to the situation on a certain page in the book.
If the field representative is on hand to advise him, the worker should always listen closely and follow instructions very carefully. The representative will never tell him something contrary to the book.
His territory might not look good to him. He might doubt if he will ever sell anything. This is not his responsibility. As long as he knows he is where he is supposed to be, and doing his job the best he can, he should leave the results to the home office. If the employee is faithful to the first task, he will then be given added responsibility. The company will be pleased to have a man on whom they can depend.
PEOPLE GOD HAS BEEN ABLE TO USE
God records in His Word some characteristics and attitudes of the people He has been able to use in the past.
Samuel: When God called to Samuel he said; "Speak: for thy servant heareth"
(I Sam. 3:10)). He considered himself a servant and was eager to know what God wanted.
Isaiah: When the Lord said: "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Isaiah did not wait to ask what the task was but said: "Here am I; send me" (Isaiah 6:8,9).
Joshua: God told Joshua to be obedient in the things he already knew were His will and his way would be prosperous (Joshua 1:8,9).
Noah: Noah "walked with God (Genesis 6:9).": Later (verse 14), God tells him to build the ark. He must walk in fellowship with God to enable Him to guide and use us. In Lesson 5, you were asked to present yourself to God and to be filled by the Holy Spirit. This step cannot be skipped if God is to use you (Review Lesson 5).
STUDY THE FOLLOWING PROMISES
God has a plan (Psalm 37:23)
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way."
God promises to guide you
"I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go; I will guide thee with mine eye."
Three steps to guidance (Proverbs 3:5,6)
1. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and
2. Lean not unto thine own understanding;
3. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
If you ask, He will give you wisdom
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
Three steps to know His will
1. "Present your bodies . . . unto God.
2. Be not conformed to this world; but
3. Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God."
YOU CAN MISS GOD'S PLAN FOR YOU
As God gives the opportunity to serve Him, be faithful and accept His leadings. God will not FORCE you to fit into His plan. Through sin or neglect you can miss His first choice for you. His plan is the life of blessing, the ABUNDANT LIFE. God may have to turn to someone else to do the work He planned for you. This happened to Moses (Exodus 3:10-12; 4:1-16); it could have happened to queen Esther
. There are some things about which God wants you to exercise your own free will and obey Him. There are other things He commands you to do. If you know it is God's will , do it or He may have to chasten you (Read the book of Jonah).
TYPES OF GUIDANCE
You need guidance of two types. First, you need to know in what general direction to start. It must be connected with the evangelization of the world because that is what Christ commanded. Then you need light on your path to take the next step. Too often Christians spend all their time and effort seeking a telescope to tell in minute detail what the future holds for them. In reality, their big need is a light to keep them from stumbling day by day. In the last lesson you started a quiet TIME to help guide you in both ways.
SOURCES OF GUIDANCES
The Word of God
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path"
The will of God is revealed very definitely about many things in the Bible. For example, it is always wrong to lie. The more familiar you become with the Bible the more you will understand what God would have you do. You do not need to ask for guidance when His will is clearly revealed in His Word. It is the final authority. If you do not know what the Bible says about a certain thing, look it up in a concordance.
Principles in the Word
You can pray that God will use His Word to direct your thinking. God has set down many principles in it. God has promised wisdom (James 1:5). This does not mean you can open the Bible at random, put your finger on a verse and God will use it as a guide. First, you must be walking in fellowship with Him, keeping your quiet time. You must not rush into His presence only in time of need. Then as you read, expect the Holy Spirit to impress a verse or portion on your heart.
The leading of the Holy Spirit
You have someone much wiser than the field representative in our story: the Holy Spirit dwelling in your heart. It is His business to lead you (Romans 8:14). One of the easiest ways for Him to guide you is through the verses you have memorized. They are always with you so He can use them. "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16).
There are times when the Holy Spirit speaks to the spiritual Christian by deep-seated impressions. In your heart, you will know whether or not God wants you to do something. It might be the choice between two different jobs. From all outward appearances they might seem equal. But each time you consider one, an uneasy feeling comes over you.
How can you tell the difference between your feelings and the leading of the Holy Spirit? Feelings are as changeable as the weather. Today you are happy; tomorrow you are sad. The impressions of the Holy Spirit will remain.
Remember: There will never be any guidance contrary to the Word of God. Usually it will be through the use of the Word. It will always be in perfect harmony with the Word, or it will not be divine guidance.
Sometimes you have several ways open to you and not know which way to go, but a decision must be made. Pray that God will close the door if it is not His will and then start in that direction. If it is not His will, expect Him to close the door. He guided Paul this way (Read Acts 16:6-10). A problem may arise. How can you tell if it is God closing a door or if it is the opposition of Satan? If God is closing the door there will be peace in your heart about it. He also will probably give you further guidance as He did Paul. Here, too, you must be in close fellowship with Him. You must be sensitive to His leading. This can be obtained only by spending time with Him and His Word. Do not neglect your daily quiet time.
Circumstances, conditions and surroundings
Something may happen that will not seem reasonable to you. It happened to Joseph. God showed him in a dream that He had an important position for him (Genesis 37:5-10). While a boy, he was sold as a slave and later found himself in prison unjustly. It would seem that he was out of the will of God, but the Bible says, "The Lord was with him" (Genesis 39:1,2). Joseph knew later it was God who sent him to Egypt (Genesis 45:5-7; 50:20). Regardless of the circumstances, if you are in fellowship with God, and He is "with you," take courage. Commit yourself to Him; it is His responsibility.
UP THE LADDER OF USEFULNESS
If you are faithful in the little things God asks you to do, you will become usable for bigger responsibilities. The Bible gives the example of Philip:
1. He was chosen as a deacon (Acts 6:5).
2. Next, we find him in Samaria preaching (Acts 8:5).
3. God had found a man who would obey Him. He sent him to lead the Ethiopian eunuch to Christ (Acts 8:26-40).
4. Twenty-five years later he is mentioned as Philip the evangelist, living at Caesarea (Acts 21:8).
He lived a life of fruitful service for Christ.
WHAT SHALL YOU DO WITH YOUR LIFE?
Remember the job of the church is evangelization of the world. Find out what the needs are in your neighborhood, your city, your state, your nation, other nations, and the uttermost part of the world. Start praying about these needs. Ask God what part He would have you play. You cannot go everywhere, but every place is important in God's sight.
As God impresses a type of service upon your heart, find out what training you will
need to be most effective. Christ's gifts to the church include pastors, and teachers (Ephesians 4:11). Everyone should study (II Timothy 2:15). Pray about your training. What kind it should be and where you should get it.
GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT AND TALENTS (I Cor. 12:5-7,11)
Do not confuse natural talents and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. God's work is done in God's power. This is what God tried to tell Moses (Exodus 4:10-12). God has often chosen weak and common things to do His work (I Cor. 1:27), so the glory will go to God and not to man (II Cor. 4:7; 12:9). Your natural talents and abilities must be empowered by the Holy Spirit to be used by God (John 15:5).
SUGGESTIONS IN FINDING GOD'S WILL
1. Surrender your own will.
2. Seek the Spirit's will through the Word.
3. Note providential circumstances.
4. Pray for guidance.
5. Wait on God until you can make a decision and have peace in your heart about it.
Some Christians use what they call a balance sheet. They take a blank sheet of paper and divide it in half. On one side of the paper, they write all the factors in favor of the proposition, and on the other side all the factors against it. They prayerfully go over the list for several days, adding new thoughts to either side and crossing out the ones that do not seem important after praying about them. Sooner or later, there is an impression upon the heart as to what course to take. If the impression remains and intensifies after continued prayer, they proceed in that direction. A word of caution: only those walking in close fellowship with God can expect to know God's will. A carnal Christian is not using the light he has.
When the salesman in our story went on the road to represent his company, they put him on an expense account plus his salary. They wanted him to have the clothes he needed, so he would make a good impression as he represented his company. They paid for his meals and the hotel bill. If he needed a car, samples, or anything else to perform his job, they would provide it to further the interests of the company. They would not pay for luxuries he might want for his own pleasure. The book of rules they gave him list ed the expenses the company would honor.
AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST (II Cor. 5:20)
You are representing Christ here on earth. You are to evangelize the world in His stead.
A HEAVENLY EXPENSE ACCOUNT (Matthew 6:25-33)
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." God in His Word has given us many promises. Real prayer puts its finger upon some promises of God and then asks Him to be faithful to His Word.
Included with this lesson is a page to list your prayer requests and a sample page. Their use is encouraged for the following reasons:
1. To make you more definite in prayer.
2. To make you more effective in your prayer life.
3. To show the faithfulness of God as He answers your prayers.
4. To help your memory.
5. To help keep your thoughts from wandering during prayer time.
REQUESTS FOR YOUR PRAYER LIST
1. The list of unsaved people God has placed on your heart (You were asked to make a list in Lesson 4). Other people such as your family, Sunday School Class, pastor, missionaries, and your neighbors.
2. Christian organizations, such as churches, schools, missions, or Gospel radio programs.
3. Definite requests for your personal life.
4. The other suggestions in this lesson.
1. Make your list so long it becomes a burden.
2. Pray to the prayer list.
3. Get into a rut; change your routine in your quiet TIME occasionally. If your list gets too long, divide it up into different days or set aside more time for prayer. Periodically go through your list and cross out the requests for which you no longer have a burden.
Remember: PRAYER IS GOD'S WAY OF DOING THINGS FOR YOU.
(Keeping accounts with God - a record of His faithfulness)
II Peter 3:9
Not to worry about KNTD
I Peter 5:7
wisdom in my studies
boldness to witness to Joe
message for Bible class and courage to give it
I might not resent B. but love him
A way to GASMD
Some requests may be of a personal nature and you may want to abbreviate them. Remember these pages are for your own use, but you may want to share them with your prayer partner, or show some new Christian how to use them.
Besides the sample requests above, you might have some of a general nature that you need not write down.
Not thine own understanding:
Proverbs 3:5,6 and Jeremiah 10:23
By the Word and the Wisdom of God:
By the Eye of God:
By the Spirit of God: Gal. 5:16 and John 16:13
Assignment Extra Blessings
1. Man must have the Lord's guidance to live in a manner pleasing to Him
(Jer. 10:23). True False
2. Who is to lead and guide the Christian (Romans 8:14;
3.In II Samuel 22:31
, David says the way of God is:
4. The Christian's first duty is to obey the king or ruler over him (Acts 5:29).
5. Luke 6:46 teaches that if you call Jesus Lord and claim Him as you Saviour you should:
give to the poor
go to church regularly
do the things He asks.
6. John 13:17 says if you live according to God's will, you can expect your life to be
7. A Christian is supposed to conform his life to the pattern of the world around him (Romans 12:1-2).True False
8. In trying to decide what is the proper thing for you, as a Christian, to do concerning things not particularly mentioned in the Bible, it is sometimes helpful to ask yourself:
I Cor. 10:31(a) can I do this in the name of Christ
Col. 3:17(b) does it have the appearance of evil
I Thess. 5:22(c) will this bring glory to God
Rom. 14:13(d) should an ambassador do this
Col. 1:10 (e) is this walking worthy of the Lord
II Cor. 5:20
(f) will this cause my brother to stumble
says one source of guidance is the
10. If you ask Him, will God guide you (Ps. 32:8)?
11. If it is really God guiding you, it will not be contrary to the
12. Sometimes ____________________ may close a door or make it impossible to go contrary to His wishes (Acts 16:6-10).
13. Circumstances may seem unreasonable, but if you are in God's will, you will be like Joseph and know by the witness in your heart that ___________ is with you (Gen. 39:1,2).
14. Have you read:
I Cor. 12:1-27Yes No
The book of Jonah Yes No
15. Have you started a prayer list? Yes No
16. How many days of the past week have you had a quiet TIME?
17. How many chapters of your Bible have you read?
18. Have you memorized:
Prov. 3:5,6Yes No
James 1:5Yes No
Gal. 5:16Yes No
Ps. 32:8Yes No
19. Extra blessings:
Ps. 119:105Yes No
Jer. 10:23Yes No
John 16:13Yes No
(Keeping accounts with God - a record of His faithfulness)