Keller on God’s Guidance

How do we get God’s guidance on major decisions in life? How about the little decisions we make every day? Or how about all those decisions that come up in an adoption?

Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Church in New York, outlines in a sermon from his Proverbs series how God guides His people under three headings:

The Guidance God Does
God guides us paradoxically. “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps” (Prov 16:9). Our decisions and choices are freely ours and we are fully accountable for them, yet, God is sovereign over every step we make. We cannot figure that out but there is great freedom in it. The other options are to live as though our future depended on our decisions or that the future is already determined and we can do nothing about it. One will paralyze us and the other puts an incredible amount of pressure on.

God also guides us non-obviously. We don’t always see where God is at work. Especially when you look at the fact that he is sovereign over even the wicked (Prov 16:4). Though we cannot know why He is doing something in particular we can know He is at work, and in the end it will bring Him the greatest glory and be for our greatest good.

The Guidance God Gives
God’s guidance is more about what He does (guiding our steps even when we can’t see it) than what He gives. We often think of it the other way around. How many times have you cried out wanting God to give you a yes or no answer on a major decision. You see God guiding that way in the Old Testament but it is hard to find that kind of audible guidance in the New Testament. In the Old Testament they had the urim and thumin (no one really knows what it was exactly) but today we create our own emotional urim and thumins, basing decisions on how we feel. If Jesus based His decision on whether to go to cross on whether he had peace about it or not we would be left in our sin!

Most Christians have understood Proverbs 16:3 wrongly – “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” What it says is if we commit ourselves to the Lord God will make us the kind of people that make wise decisions. We read “if I commit my plans to the Lord He will bless them.”

The Guidance God Purchases
None of us can perfectly surrender ourselves to the Lord but Christ did on our behalf. He makes it possible for us to live wisely and make decisions that honor him. He surrendered Himself fully to the Father to the point of being completely abandoned on the Cross so that we would never have to go through that.

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