"Wow! How had I not seen the overwhelming emphasis on God's guidance in that chapter before?"
I asked this question to myself and to God. I felt more than a little sheepish — more like a biblical clod than an insightful consultant or an informed pastor. My preoccupation with my own spiritual lack led me to a more profound conviction: "Most modern church folks don't spend enough time waiting for God's guidance. We also seem to have unnecessarily limited the Almighty's channels to share that guidance with us!"
Acts 1 is a crucial transitional moment in the history of salvation. These transition moments are often rich in life-changing insights if we will pause, reflect, and ask for the Spirit to give us the wisdom to discover them. This trip through Acts 1 struck me with the early disciples' absolute dependence upon God for guidance to help them know what they must do next!
Jesus gave his last discipleship briefing before ascending back to the Father. His apostles were supposed to turn the world upside down with the good news of God's Kingdom. Fortunately, they were largely clueless about what they were to do next. So, God guided them through this crucial moment of transition with messages from angels, the final commands of Jesus before he ascended, group discernment during times of prayer, their knowledge of the Scriptures, reliance upon the Holy Spirit moving in powerful ways, and casting lots to determine a replacement for Judas. Their choice turned out to be world-changing!
In cornbread English, these loose lug nuts didn't have a clue about what to do next, so they looked to God for guidance. Acts 1 reminded me of the old sarcastic axiom, "When all else fails, read the instructions!"
Maybe it's time for us to follow their example? Wait, that was a bit passive-aggressive. Putting it more aggressively and directly: Why don't we rely on the guidance of God more before we make our spiritual plans, choose our life paths, or make our church decisions?
Is it because we are too sophisticated to need this guidance?
Is it because we grew up in churchy cultures that were not anchored in the leading of the Spirit?
Is it because we don't think God works the same way today even though he operated that way for thousands of years before our time?
I will let you make your own personal decision about those questions. I have decided to go back to the basics — not the ABCs, but the FEPDOs of seeking God's guidance:
- F — Fasting as I wait upon the LORD.
- E — Expecting God to make his guidance available and recognizable if I am open to it.
- P — Praying for God's will, Jesus' mission, and the Spirit's power to lead.
- D — Discerning what God's guidance is with other Spirit-led people.
- O — Obeying what the LORD reveals as I am seeking the Spirit's guidance.
I don't know how many days I have left to be productive for the Kingdom of God. I know that I don't have time to waste doing things, advocating ideas, and suggesting directions rooted in human inspiration and not God's guidance.
Too much is at stake. We don't have the option of taking too many wrong turns. Time is too precious to waste.
I want my life and my ministry to be JesuShaped, not something of my own creation. I've lived long enough to know, "I ain't that good!" I need God's direction.
I need God's guidance. I bet you do, too!