The First Step in Guidance
8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
By forsaking the broad worldly way, believers have chosen a narrow path (Matt. 7:13). However, we’re not wandering blindly on it. The Holy Spirit is our guide. He directs our steps toward new opportunities and offers discernment so we can make wise decisions that keep us on course for God’s will.
It is the nature of this journey that we have to stop often and seek guidance. God is pleased to respond to earnest requests for direction, as He wants to keep His followers in the center of His will. But I’ve discovered that many Christians wonder how to pursue divine guidance.
Seeking God’s direction involves a pattern that begins with cleansing--in other words, the first place to look is at ourselves. Ask, “Father, do You see anything in my life that might interfere with my understanding what You are saying?” Sin shuts down the guidance process: it strangles the power flowing from the Holy Spirit and thereby clouds our judgment (1 Thessalonians 5:19). The verse in 1 John 1:9 tells us that God cleanses unrighteousness when we confess our sins. The Bible also contains a clear warning for those who refuse to relinquish a rebellious habit or attitude--the Lord does not hear their cries (Ps. 66:18). As He brings to mind problem areas, lay them before the cross.
Cleansing is actually woven into the entire process of gaining divine guidance. God brings sin to our attention as we’re equipped to deal with it. So on the way to receiving His clear direction, we may revisit this “first” step often and in that way can experience a time of rich spiritual growth and renewal.