Promises of Guidance from God are CONDITIONAL

Many of us have experienced failure at times, even after asking for God’s guidance. I am one of them. Since God promises to shepherd His people, it is hard to ask for guidance and then to fail. I suppose it is like asking for healing and remaining sick. These things do happen AT TIMES – so we should be asking why – since there are many promises from God about guidance.

What I believe as I reflect on this and examine the Scriptures is that many times we are simply not meeting God’s conditions for guidance. 

Humility is a Condition for Guidance

The humble He guides in justice, and the humble he teaches His way. (Psalm 25:9)

We can say to God that we want guidance, but God does not want to guide people who are not ready to do what they are guided to do. I think this is because of God’s love – He knows that we sin if we know the right thing to do and do not do it. James said, “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” (James 4:17) And for God, sin is a much bigger deal than we think it is. God would spare us. So we have to get to the place where we are really willing to follow God’s instructions – and that might take some waiting, some humbling and some brokenness on our side.

When pride comes, then comes shame;
But with the humble is wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2)

God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)

If wisdom is about knowing what to do and doing it, then our pride will stop us being guided by God. If we want to be guided by God, we need to be on a continual program of self-abasement.

Sometimes we think “God should show me NOW!” But who are we to tell God what to do? He might want us to wait! Are we willing? King Saul lost the Kingdom when he proceeded to take matters into his own hands (1 Samuel 13). The situation was urgent and Samuel the prophet did not show up. Saul’s pride and impatience cost him the kingdom. Who knows what pride and impatience might have cost us, or might cost us in the future? So let us learn to wait humbly. 

We Must Trust the Lord and Not Rely on Our Calculations and Understanding

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5,6)

When God does speak we will need to trust Him. We cannot rely on our reasoning, our knowledge, our past experiences. So to know it is really God, we need to do Proverbs 3:6. In all our ways we must acknowledge Him. It really means we must KNOW Him in all our ways. We must include God and seek to please the Holy Spirit in all we do. THEN He will direct our paths – in a way that pleases Him and works for the best.

Without trust, we won’t act in faith when God speaks. And then we will miss the plans He has for us. I suppose He comes up with other plans then. After all, His thoughts towards us are more than the grains of sand on the seashore. We don’t fully understand this, and our attempts at simplifying the ways of God to make it more manageable and understandable and one-dimensional might actually be misleading us. What I believe is that if we humble ourselves and wait, God will eventually lead us into His plan.

We Must Adopt a Posture of Following

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, AND THEY FOLLOW ME. (John 10:27)

In order to truly be following the Lord we must wait until we see the Lord moving or leading in some sense. We can’t just decide we are going to do something after a quick prayer, whether the Lord is leading or not, and expect divine guidance.

Wait upon the Lord, and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land. (Psalm 37:34)

If we are consistently meek – which means easy to lead – not rushing ahead in self-will – then God will lead us into blessing and exaltation. But this doesn’t always happen to all Christians because we don’t always meet the conditions. I believe in my own life, God has at times started to exalt me (giving me money, property, media channels etc), but then he had to humble me because I ceased to wait on the Lord and keep His way. I started to enjoy playing the game of life with the resources He gave me, without trusting Him, waiting for Him, and following Him at every step. God help us all to learn to wait again.

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

We have to FOLLOW, which means we must not take the lead away from God Himself. Then we will not walk in darkness and confusion. If we are in darkness now, we need to stop a few things and spend more time seeking light in God’s Word before proceeding. We are better off waiting than rushing off. “He sins who hastens with his feet”.

Fasting Might Be Required for Guidance

Daniel did a partial fast for 21 days before the message from God got through to him. There are times when fasting might be necessary. Don’t despise this as legalism. Jesus said, “When you fast” not “if you fast”.

Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.

“If you take away the yoke from your midst,
The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 If you extend your soul to the hungry
And satisfy the afflicted soul,
Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,
And your darkness shall be as the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
(Isaiah 58:9-11)

This is a passage about fasting. Fasting – going without food – is a way of consecrating yourself to God – presenting your body as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). But fasting must be accompanied by certain kinds of repentance.

Specifically, God says we must abstain from oppressing those under us or less fortunate than us, we must stop accusing and blaming people. We must make sure our speech is not wicked (research what that means). We must also share with the poor and needy (see also Matthew 25), so they are satisfied with food. 

If we do all these things, God promises a lot of blessings which we can read and think about. In particular, He promises UNDER THOSE CONDITIONS to guide us continually. I don’t believe the Lord promises to guide continually those who do not live this way. 

The Peace of God is a Sign of God’s Guidance

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15).

Learn to know what the peace of God is. Don’t go with things that leave you feeling uneasy in your spirit. There is a rest in God. Stay with that. 

The Prayers of Others Can Help

Doing the will of God is so important that Satan will oppose us knowing it, and also oppose us doing it. This is why the apostles and their co-workers had to labour in prayer to see people established in the will of God. It is a fight. This is why Paul said, 

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; (Colossians 1:9)

Would Paul waste his time in unceasing prayer for something that was going to happen anyway? I don’t think that makes sense. Isn’t it reasonable to suppose that Paul’s unceasing prayers made a difference in how well and to what extent these Colossian Christians were able to know the will of God and receive God’s guidance for their lives? I think you will say, “Yes” to this. If this was true in the age so close to the time of Jesus and the first apostles, how much MORE do we need prayer in this respect – in an age full of darkness and confusion on every side?

I think we can get better results if we have more people praying the way Paul prayed. We really can get hold of the promises of God.


If we are not meeting God’s conditions for guidance, we should not blame God when we ask for wisdom, or guidance, and then our thoughts lead us to the wrong decision. I have done that and I believe the Lord had to graciously correct me.

I think it is of utmost importance that we guard our hearts, humble our hearts and learn to wait on God and do what is clear from the Word of God BEFORE we expect supernatural guidance at all times. Once we are meeting the conditions, I believe the Lord will guide us by the inner witness of our spirits and possibly also through other means. For the best guidance into doing the will of God, we need to meet God’s conditions.

Michael Fackerell



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