Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The Secret of Guidance

What is God's will for my life? Generally speaking I know what that is, it is to "love the Lord (my) God with all my heart, with all (my) mind, with all (my) soul, and with all (my) strength; and (my) neighbour as myself." (Luke 10:27). But what about specifics? What about decisions about career moves, or marriage or any of the other stuff that needs God's wisdom and guidance?

A book I am reading and finding very helpful at the moment is an old classic called "The Secret of Guidance" by F.B.Meyer. I know, the title sounds like one of those 'best-selling' books which are long on promise (and hype) and low on content, but this one is different.

First, it comes with the recommmendation of one Dallas Willard who is one of the foremost Christian writers today on the Christian life. In his foreword to the Kindle edition of the book he outlines "five conditions in the inner life that can hinder or help the reception of the guidance that God wants to give in particular circumstances:

1. Our motives may be our personal advantage only,
2. We must be completely surrendered to God's will, whatever it proves to be,
3. We must seek out reliable information of all kinds, but above all from the Word of God,
4. We must ask God - "be much in prayer" - for guidance, and,
5. We must wait for the gradual unfolding of God's plan in our circumstances.

It is under this last point that Meyer gives his famous teaching about the occurrence of "the three witnesses" or "lights" - the Spirit, the Word, and Circumstances: "God's impressions within and his Word without are always corroborated by HIs providence around, and we should quietly wait until these three focus into one point."

Dallas Willard concludes this section:
"His (Meyer's) final point in this first chapter is that in searching for guidance we are only to look for the next step, not "the distant scene".

There are many other aspects to this superb classic especially for those "engaged in pastoral spiritual formation" but for me it is his advice above, so wonderfully summarised by Willard, that, at the present time at least, is proving so invaluable to me. Certainly as I follow his advice I see what he is advising chime so accurately with my own experience right now.

So if you are building a library of Christian classics make F.B.Meyer's books one of those to purchase. It's not big or expensive, but it's valuse far outweighs its cost.

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