“Guide me, Lord, help me know what you want me to do next” I prayed for the umpteenth time that day. When I listened to myself, it sounded like I thought I was a slave and my master would tell me step by step what he wanted me to do, with no regard for my desires. Since I had pledged myself to Christ, I did want to do his will step by step.
But the Lord is also my Father. He loves me and wants me to have choices. The Bible gives us general guidelines, such as the ten commandments, and Micah 6:8, (NIV): “He has showed you, O man what is good, and what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Within those guidelines, I believe he gives us choices.
When we have repented of our sins and believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, God has sent the Holy Spirit into our hearts to teach us and guide us. The scripture also says “the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire with good things,” (Isa. 58:11a, RSV).
“When the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth, (Jn.16:13).
Do we need to talk God into guiding us, over and over, if he’s already promised to do so? Perhaps the problem is in our listening.
Sometimes I’m afraid I’m spiritually deaf and don’t hear his guidance, or don’t understand it. But surely God will help us know how to obey him if we really want to do so. His word says “God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure,” (Phil. 2:13)
God gives us a beautiful way of getting to know him, of learning how to relate to him. Think of the best father you can imagine, and note what he is like. Even the less than wonderful fathers probably have some qualities that are like our Father God.
Does God wait for us to beg him for every good thing he gives us? Do earthly fathers do this? God loves his children and loves to give them enjoyment. I remember when my daddy took my sister and me on a picnic in the woods. We were too young to even know that would be something fun to do. The memory sticks with me because it felt so good to spend time with him. Our heavenly Father loves to make us happy, too.
When I kept praying, “What do you want me to do next,” I got the feeling God was not pleased with that prayer. Did I think he wanted me to be his servant with him telling me at every step what to do, (or maybe his robot)?
Children who feel secure in a loving relationship with their earthly fathers don’t ask that continually. They might occasionally, but usually they just play or talk or get into their personal projects. Their fathers enjoy watching them do their activities. Perhaps correction or teaching is occasionally required, but they’ve already taught them when they were younger what the boundaries or do’s and don’ts were. So they can relax in the relationship and enjoy each other.
Of course, since I am Father God’s child, he welcomes me to ask for advice when I’m stuck or confused about how to do something. But when I keep asking “What do you want me to do,” I think he tells me:
I want you to enjoy my presence and the gifts I’ve given you. I want you to feel secure in my love. I want you to meditate on my Word as my love letter to you. I want you to be happy doing things you enjoy doing, especially as you show love to others. This isn’t a job where I demand you do certain things as in slave labor, but a relationship of love between you and me and the rest of our family. Come on; let’s go watch the sunset.
That sounds good to me! Maybe I can relax a bit.