Our present culture advocates rugged individualism. It teaches us to go it alone, to be self-reliant. Historically, however, people did not make important decisions independently of others. They believed in the communal aspect of God’s guidance. When they gathered together in God’s presence, they expected to discern his will.
GOD GUIDES THROUGH HIS PEOPLE
Your interactive friendship with God gives direction and purpose to your daily life. You would still do well to yield your direct leadings of the Spirit to corporate guidance. Here’s why. God will surely lead you through your unique life experiences, through the words he presents to you in the Bible, and through the working of his Spirit individually upon your mind, heart and will. God can also instruct you through community experience. He will lead you through his people, the body of Christ.
Abraham sent his servant to find a bride for his son, Isaac. The servant, a faithful man of prayer, believed the Lord had led him to the appointed young woman. Still, he humbly turned to guidance from others to know God’s will. He told Rebekah’s family about the task given him. He shared what happened at the well, asking if they could see God’s hand in these circumstances. Rebekah’s relatives recognized God’s doing. They answered, “The thing comes from the Lord. Take Rebekah and go…as the Lord has spoken (Genesis 24:50-51).” Rebekah heard God’s voice most clearly together with her family. Their blessing sealed the deal for her.
COMMUNITY GUIDANCE GIVES ASSURANCE
You can’t know the whole counsel of God in isolation. A faith community can help you to question and search the leading you’ve received. They can probe and pray. Perhaps your prompting resulted from some false enthusiasm on your part. Then, you can abandon it. If, however, the various filters of the believers in your community confirm your idea, their unity assures that you walk in rhythm with the heartbeat of the Spirit. He implants this unity to affirm that you have chosen the right path.
A few years back, I scheduled a day to fast and pray about my new appointment as Associate Teaching Director for Community Bible Study. At one point, I received an urgent prompting to flip over to Acts 16:6-10 in my Bible. The Spirit directed me to change course. I was to serve as the Executive Director for the local evangelical pro-life pregnancy center instead. In light of the circumstances, the pregnancy center interview team discerned my calling. The bible study servant’s team could see it, too. Community guidance gave me the assurance I needed to move on.
YIELDING TO GUIDANCE BRINGS BLESSING
A faithful servant does not linger when duty waits. Given the choice to leave immediately or remain behind awhile, Rebekah said, “I will go.” Marriage to Isaac fully appeared to be God’s will for her. Rebekah consented to move forward at once; she posed no objections to going. Group guidance infused her with strong inclination and determination to willingly leave her own people. Rebekah became Isaac’s bride and produced the boundless offspring who would gain victory of the Promised Land for Israel.
Yielding to the guidance of God’s people is an important concept for moving forward in spiritual growth. Chapter three of my book in progress looks at how a positive attitude toward God’s messenger(s) helps a person to grow in faith. When the guidance of God’s people confirms the invitation in his Word and the prompting of his Spirit, it produces peace.
And they called Rebekah, and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” She said, “I will.” Genesis 24:58
God gathers his people together in community. Has group guidance helped you to move on? Do you affirm others in moving on to God’s blessing?