Have you ever felt so bombarded with choices that you didn’t have the clarity to even think? A few years ago, I had the opportunity to travel with my husband to New Jersey. Some dear friends picked us up from the airport, and we had an enjoyable dinner together followed by dessert at their home.
When it was time to leave, instead of taking us back to the hotel, they kindly offered to let us use their car. Not knowing our way around New Jersey, we were a little hesitant. We are used to driving in California, where the directional landmarks are easy to spot. This is not so in New Jersey! It seems that the trees hide any directional signage. Our friends assured us they had a GPS, and even though there was one built into the car, they gave us a portable Garmin GPS to use as well. We were equipped with two navigational systems. How could we possibly get lost?
Appreciative of the kindness extended to us, we waved goodbye and headed to our hotel. When we reached the first intersection, a woman’s voice told us to turn left. At the same time, another woman’s voice told us to turn right! My husband and I looked at each other as if to say, “Did I hear that right?” My poor husband—he now had three women telling him how to drive!
We parked for just a moment to refer to a good old-fashioned paper map, when a car approached us from behind. The driver happened to be the daughter of the couple who had loaned us their car. She gave us clear directions, and before long we were at our hotel.
Thankfully, the most important choices in life are far simpler than navigating through unknown cities with two GPS devices! God has given us two infallible guides to direct us—and they perfectly synchronize with one other.
The Holy Spirit
Just hours before Jesus was crucified, He promised to give His disciples an amazing gift—the Holy Spirit (John 16:7). When you trusted Jesus as your Saviour, God himself—the third Person of the Trinity—took up residence within your spirit (Ephesians 1:13). One of the Holy Spirit’s many ministries is that of guiding us through His Word into paths of truth. Jesus told His disciples, “But the Comforter, which is the holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).
The indwelling Spirit of God takes the very words which He inspired (2 Peter 1:21) and, as our personal Teacher, explains their truths to us. Not only that, but as we learn to recognize His voice, we will sense His promptings within us to obey and follow the choices He has directed us to make. For instance, I can learn through the pages of Scripture the importance of using kind, encouraging, and edifying words. But in the pressure of daily living, I sometimes forget. Many times, however, as I have opened my mouth to say something I would later regret, the Holy Spirit has gently reminded and warned me to not say it. On other occasions, He has prompted me to give encouraging or uplifting words to another lady—sometimes when no one but God knew that she desperately needed encouragement in that moment.
The best part of it all is that the Holy Spirit becomes our Divine Companion and Friend. Through the very process of listening to and following Him in right choices, our relationship with Him grows and strengthens.
Popular psychology and human reasoning tell us to map our lives by what feels good. They encourage us to “just follow your heart.” The problem is, our hearts are not reliable. Jeremiah 17:9 warns, “The heart is deceitful above all things….” When we follow our hearts, we may feel good about our choices at the moment, but we usually find ourselves on a road that leads to an unwanted destination. Our hearts are fickle, unstable, and untrustworthy.
God has given us a much better guide in His Word. His Word never changes, and its dependability has been proven through the centuries. When we map our lives by choosing to obey the direction of God’s Word, we will not only be spared the harm of our own ways, but we will be happy. We will enjoy the journey! As we learn to apply God’s wisdom and the truths from His Word, we will see the reality of Proverbs 3:17–18: “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.” The choices God asks us to make are to our benefit—for both today and for our future.
As we get to know God’s Word and grow in our understanding of His principles, we develop a spiritual discernment for our choices. In Philippians 1:9–10, Paul wrote, “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.”
God was good to give us these two guides—His Word and His Spirit. Unlike the GPS units we tried to follow in New Jersey, these guides will never contradict one another. In perfect union, they teach us and lead us to make choices that shape our lives for good.
This article is an excerpt from Terrie Chappell’s latest book The Choice Is Yours.