God regenerates us by His Spirit by granting us repentance and faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ, that we might be His children (John 1:12; Romans 8:14; Galatians 3:26; 4:6). From the time we are led by the Spirit to be His children, He leads us forward – “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14).
Being stirred in the heart by the Holy Spirit, every child of God desires and pray for divine leading in his daily life. They pray like David, “Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day” (Psalm 25:4-5; cf. Psalms 5:8; 27:11; 86:11; 119:27; 143:8).
The assurance and counsel of God to every one of His children is: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). It is certain that divine direction will be given to all those who humbly trust in the LORD for His direction. “The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way” (Psalm 25:9; cf. Psalm 23:3).
But those who follow their own ideas without acknowledging God’s promise to direct them by His truth will face the outcomes of their folly. “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26a). Refusal to cease from self-driven, self-pleasing ways to trust and obey God’s truth and guidance for direction in life, is depicted as being spiritually dead – “For to be carnally minded is death” – while the wonderful promise to those who are “spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6; cf. Ephesians 4:17-21).
God seeks His children’s willing obedience, which is the obvious expression of their profound faith in Him. When He teaches and instructs us by His Word and His Spirit, He expects that we fully trust and apply His instructions in our lives so that we may be led forward in His blessed ways. In Psalm 32:8-9, the Lord says, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.” He tells us not to be like certain stubborn beasts which have to be always put under restraint, but as obedient children who joyfully follow His ways.
The prophet Isaiah describes the Lord as standing by our side, as it were, ready to tell us which direction we should go – “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:21). He speaks to us through His Spirit’s leading of our heart. Again, the Lord assures us through Isaiah, “Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me. Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go” (Isaiah 48:16-17).
Our finite minds do not possess the necessary abilities to know, discern and perform all of God’s will concerning our lives. Jeremiah acknowledges, “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). We need to pray, trust and submit to Him humbly. Then the Lord will lead us each step of the way by His Spirit and by His gracious providence.
Most of the time, the Spirit will guide us through the Word by rebuking, correcting, encouraging, comforting, illumining, instructing and convicting us. But when we are faced with situations which are beyond our powers, He will guide us forward by His sovereign, supernatural works. To everyone who is genuinely submissive to God, He will provide His sure help and guidance. He will supernaturally direct us through His path.
God’s leading of His people, whether it be individually or collectively, is not only promised and taught in the Bible but also demonstrated through the experience of His people. Please rejoice and be strengthened as you read the following biblical records of God’s leading of His people:
- Nehemiah 9:20 succinctly testifies of the Lord’s guidance through the Spirit and His miraculous provisions for His ancient people of Israel – “Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.”
- Psalm 77:20 tells of God’s leading of Israel by the hands of her leaders – “Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”
- Psalm 78:52-53 likewise reiterate the same truth: “But made his own people to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock. And he led them on safely, so that they feared not: but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.”
- Psalm 80:1; 136:16; Exodus 3:10; 13:21; 14:19; 15:13; Deuteronomy 11:5; Isaiah 63:11-12; Hosea 12:13; Acts 7:35-36 give further instances of God’s unswerving leading of His people.