Guided By God – Dr. Charles Stanley

Start your day off right with the free In Touch devotional. Subscribe today. ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ CC by Aberdeen Captioning 1-800-688-6621 male announcer: "In Touch" with Dr. Charles Stanley, reaching the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ through sound biblical teaching. Next on "In Touch," "Guided by God." Dr. Charles Stanley: When you are trying to make a decision in life and you feel like you need some guidance, you've done all that you know to do as far as finding out the information, you need a little help. And when that's true, where do you turn? Well, let me ask you this. When your children are looking for guidance, or your grandchildren, where do they turn? Do they turn to you? If they can't turn to you, to whom do they turn? Because you see, if you can't turn to the right person, usually you'll turn to the wrong person. And so, finding true guidance is very, very important. We live in a world that creates all kind of problems and situations and circumstances; and no one is an island within himself or herself. We all need someone we can talk to, listen to, share our heart with or be willing to share what God has done in our lives. And so, when I think about that and I think of all the scriptures that come to my mind, the one I want to deal with this morning is so crystal clear. It's talking about being guided by God. How am I guided by God? And that's the title of the message. "Guided by God." If I'm not guided by Him, who's going to guide me? Everybody needs guidance at some point in their life. So turn to Psalm thirty-two. And I want to begin reading in the seventh verse, which is not about this subject, but it's a word of encouragement, and read through the eleventh verse of this thirty-second Psalm. And so David starts out in the seventh verse, says, speaking of God, "You are my hiding place." You--I have somewhere to run to when I need You. "You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, otherwise they will not come near to you. Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but he who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness shall surround him. Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous ones; and shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart." So first of all what I want you to see here, here's a promise. Here's a promise from Almighty God. Listen to what He says, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go." So, the first thing I want you to notice here is the source of this promise. Who is the I? The I is God. God is saying in all of His omniscience, in all of His power, in all that He is, He says, "I, Jehovah God, the creator of the ends of the earth, I will instruct you." Not maybe, not I could, not I'd like to, but I will. This is a commitment by Almighty God to give us instruction in our life. Now, listen carefully. Are you listening? Say amen. The value of the promise depends upon the promiser. A lot of people can make you a promise. God can make you a promise and you never have to worry about whether He's going to keep it or not. So when He says, "I will instruct you," then who is making that statement? That is Almighty God. The value of any promise depends upon the character of the promiser. So when you and I promise someone something, whether we keep it or not says something about who we are. If we're true to our word and we're true to who we are, we make a promise, we'll keep it. Here is a divine promise. Here is an eternal promise from Almighty God to His children, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go." So watch this. If God is instructing us with truth, we'll be able to discern truth from error. If we're only listening to the voices of the world, we're going to hear a lot of error and certainly things that will not lead us in the right direction. So think about how inclusive this is. He says, first of all, He says, "I will instruct you." "I'm going to give you knowledge. He says, "I'll tell you what to do next and what to avoid. I will instruct you. I'll make it very specific. I won't be just general about it. 'Well, you ought to do thus and so.'" So here is God who knows you perfectly; knows exactly what you're capable of doing and what the temptations are; what your possibilities are; what His will and plan for your life. He says, "I will instruct you." Then He says, "Not only will I instruct you," but He says, "I will also teach you. I'm going to show you how to apply this to your life." It's one thing to have information. It's something else to know how to apply it to my life in a given situation. And when it comes to having someone give you guidance in your life, lot of questions you need to ask before you choose that person. And so He says, "I will teach you." In other words, "I'm going to impart knowledge to you. I'm going to help you understand what is the right thing to do." He says, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go." Not many ways, but of all the ways you can go, of all the decisions you can make, of all the directions you can choose; I'm going to teach you in the way, what? Look, He says, "In the way which you should go." Not could do, go, maybe go, "I'm going to teach you in the way which you should go." And most decisions are critical in this day and time. And sometimes it's a little difficult. You say, "Well, it's not right or wrong, but what is the wisest thing to do?" He says, "I'm going to teach you to discern wisdom. I'm going to teach you how to make wise decisions. I'm going to instruct you. I'm going to teach you," He says. And then of course, you and I have the reminder of the Holy Spirit. When you got saved, the Spirit of God, the Third Person of the Trinity, came to indwell you for a very specific reason; this is one of them. He says in the thirteenth verse of the sixteenth chapter of John, "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose it to you what is to come." That is, He says, He will guide us. So you have the--you have this assurance, you have the assurance that within you is the person of the Holy Spirit, whom God sent for a number of reasons, one of which is to give you guidance and direction in your life. And so David, writing back in the Psalms before the Holy Spirit ever came to be in the believer as He does today, He says, "I'm going to instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go." You and I have the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, living within us, dwelling within us. One of His primary responsibilities is to guide you and me in the truth, which means we have within us the Person of the Godhead, who one of His responsibilities is that when you and I come to making a decision, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us. He knows all the facts. He knows truth from error. He knows the difference between what is good, bad, and indifferent. He knows what the will of God for your life is. He knows that if you take this turn, it will be a disaster; you take this turn, it'll be absolutely joy in your life. Because He knows your future, He knows this is the right way. It looks like this is the right way today. He knows what tomorrow holds. And many people make decisions in life that how many times they say before they come to the end of life, "If-I'd-a, If-I'd-a, If-I'd-a, If-I'd-a. If-I'd-a made that decision, if-I'd-a made this decision. Why did I--why--what would cause me to make that decision?" He says, "I will instruct you and I will teach you in the way you should go." You and I never have to come to the place of saying, "I'm hopelessly and helplessly lost. I don't know what to do." Yes, you do! You turn to God first, who says, "I will guide you into all truth," and who says, "I will teach--I will instruct you, I will teach you in the way which you should go." And then if you'll notice what He says, and I love this; He says, "I will counsel you with My eye upon you." I'm--He says, "I'm going to counsel you. I'm going to counsel you with My eye upon you." Two things here. First of all, He says, "I will counsel you." That says something to me about the closeness of God. "I'm not just going to give you instruction out there. I'm not just going to answer prayer, but I'm going to counsel you." Counsel means we're going to have a relationship. Counsel means He knows past, present and future. Counsel means on the basis of His wisdom and His knowledge, on the basis of His love; on the basis of God's pre-planned will for my life and your life, He's going to counsel us. That is, I don't have to worry about what's gonna happen or not going to happen if the Spirit of God is counseling me. And so, listen to what He says. Not only will He counsel us, but He says, "I'm going to counsel you with My eye upon you." Which says that you and I walk under the umbrella of the all-seeing eye of a loving Father who desires and is committed to giving us direction and counsel for our life. And so it's foolish, it is foolish to make decisions and forget Him. It's foolish to make decisions based on your own knowledge and wisdom and understanding because we can't know the future. And think about the awesome assurance, the One who is giving us guidance knows your future through the last time you breathe the last breath. And His guidance is based on love and wisdom. He always wants what's best for us. He loves us enough to have died for us. And He says, "I'm going to counsel you with My eye upon you." He knows all the circumstances. He knows what you and I cannot know. This is an awesome passage of scripture. He says, "I will teach you and instruct you." And He says, "I will guide you with My eye upon you." Then He gives us a warning. Look at this: "Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding." That is, animals don't have any moral sense. The only sense they have is who's in charge. "Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, otherwise they will not come to you." He says, "Don't be as the horse or as the mule," stubborn; in other words, you've got to control him or he's going to control you, "whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, otherwise they won't come to you." That's right. "Many are the sorrows of the wicked." And that's His way of saying, "You don't listen to God. You're stubborn. You're going to have it your way no matter what." He says, "Many are the sorrows of the wicked." And what he's simply saying is this. This is--these are the consequences of those who absolutely will not listen to God. And the words he uses here, "Many are the sorrows of the wicked." And he's referring to people who won't listen to God. He says, "Many are the sorrows of the wicked." And he says, "Many are the sorrows," because there all--all kinds of trouble comes when you ignore God's counsel, you ignore His teaching, His instruction and His guidance, then you get into all kind of situations. Because you see, if you ignore God once, more than likely you'll do it again. And there are many people who live their lives, watch this, in rebellion to God. They wouldn't ever admit it. They just say, "Well, I just make my own decisions and I don't have to depend upon God or somebody else." And you know what they're doing? They're making wrong decisions. They may make a lot of money and a lot of friends, but he says, "Many are the sorrows of the wicked." Those who live in rebellion toward the guidance and instruction and counsel of Almighty God. And oftentimes, the consequences are brutal because you think that you're smarter than God. And God tries to make things as simple as possible, I believe, for us. And yet there are some decisions that are difficult. Watch this. He says, "I." That is, omniscient God who knows you perfectly, "I will teach you. I will instruct you. I will guide you. I'll cover you. I will counsel you wisely." A person is a fool to reject that. To think that you're smart enough to go through life and make wise decisions in a world that is so unwise, so ungodly and so full of fear and anger and all the rest. He says, "Many are the sorrows of the wicked." That's the fruit of rebellion. And then notice what he says, what a contrast, "Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but he who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness," listen to this, "shall surround him. Be glad in the Lord, rejoice you righteous ones; and shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart." He said, "Here's the difference. You follow My guidance," and He says, "lovingkindness." And He didn't say--I love this. He didn't say, "Will come to you." He said, "Lovingkindness will," what? "Will surround you." Everywhere you turn, you will see the evidence of God's goodness and kindness. You say, "Well, but you don't know what I've been through." Would you have been through without God? So God, He doesn't say that there won't be any problems and heartaches and burdens, because problems and heartaches and burdens are what grow us up, teach us to trust Him. Make changes in our life that we don't like at the moment, but something happens to us that later we're grateful for. He says, He says, "Lovingkindness shall surround you," that means it's going to protect me on every side. His lovingkindness will protect us on every side. We may falter at times; we may disobey Him. But we ask Him to forgive us, repent of our sin, what happens? He says His instruction and His teaching and His counsel doesn't stop simply because we falter at some point and make a wrong decision. Any time we are willing to confess our fault, our failure, that we didn't seek godly guidance, we listened to the wrong ones, He's willing to forgive us and to keep us moving. That's His lovingkindness. He says His lovingkindness surrounds us. And so how does He--what is His lovingkindness? He says, here's what happens. Then you'll, "Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous ones; shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart." That is, there is a gladness, there's a joy, there's a sense of confidence, there's a sense of contentment, there's a peace. In other words, when we're going through even difficult situations, if we are following His instruction, His guidance, and His counsel, we're going to walk through it, we're going to come through it, and God's going to bless us in the process. Now, that's an awesome passage of scripture. And I would say if you were going to give your college student or your grandson, whoever it might be, a passage to take with them, this would be one of them. "I will instruct you. I will teach you. And I will guide you. I will counsel you with My eye upon you." Let me ask you a question. Who does not need that? We all need it. And we'll need it through the last day of our life. What an awesome promise of Almighty God. The tragedy is, many people have never read that. Many people don't know it, and many people don't believe it. They say, "Well, you know, I don't need that old Bible." Oh, yes, you do! Because you see, the reason you need this Bible is because you need God. You think you don't. When you're flat down, hurting; things look like they're hopeless; maybe you'll never walk again, see again, hear again; whatever it might be, you need Him. But if you're in good health, you need Him just as well. This is this awesome, loving God who's made a commitment to you. "If you'll just listen to Me and obey Me, I'll give you instruction. I will teach you what you need to know. And I will guide you. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, through the last moment of your life." If you have never trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, many sorrows is in your path. If you've trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior and are attempting to live a godly life and listening to Him, joy and happiness and peace, even amidst difficulties and hardships, there's an awesome sense of the awareness of His presence. And that's my prayer for you. If you've never trusted Jesus as your Savior, it's the most important decision you'll ever make. And all of us who are His followers know it's the most important decision we've ever made. One of these days you're going to die, and then. You know death's coming, you can ask anybody anything you want to; there is only one person that you need to ask. There's only one person who is in control of those final moments. There's only one person who can take you from this earth to heaven, and that is Jesus Christ. You may not believe what you're hearing, but I'll ask you this question. If not Jesus, who? Who else has not only promised that, but who backed it up with His death on the cross? Whoever you are, at least consider surrendering your life to Jesus Christ. Watch what He does in your life. Remember, you have two choices; the right way, and the way of many sorrows. If you're wise, you take the right way. And Father, how grateful we are that You love us enough to forgive us of our sins. When we falter and fall, You keep on forgiving us. When we ask for direction, divine guidance, You give it. When we stand at the crossroads and say, "Lord, which way?" You always show us the right way. I pray that Your Spirit will take this message and drive it so deep in the heart of every person who listens, they will wrestle with the truth until they fall into the category of those who are being instructed, taught, and counseled by the Lord Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray, amen. ♪♪♪